Safety and quality are key factors for success in the chemical industry. They can only be ensured through the close cooperation of all parties along the supply and value chain. Issues such as occupational safety, environmental protection, labour practices, supplier management and compliance are therefore key topics for the industry. When choosing business partners and therefore making purchasing decisions, they are important criteria alongside aspects such as product quality, reliability of supply and price.
As the global market leader in chemical and ingredients distribution, Brenntag serves as an important link between the manufacturers of chemical products and the companies that process these products. We maintain a close and ongoing dialogue with our suppliers and customers through our regional and global procurement and distribution organizations as well as our HSE structures. The majority of these business relationships and partnerships go back many years.
Brenntag has been involved in the chemical industry’s “Together for Sustainability” initiative (TfS) since October 2014 and became a full member in October 2016 when we achieved EcoVadis gold status – the first and, to date, only chemical distributor to do so.
TfS's goal is to establish a uniform global programme for the responsible procurement of goods and services in the chemical industry, to achieve transparency in relation to sustainability performance throughout the supply chain and to make further improvements to its suppliers’ ecological and social standards. For this purpose, all TfS members regularly evaluate and review their suppliers by means of a standardized process. This information is shared confidentially and used jointly within the network, which provides efficiency benefits for every participant.
More information about TfS visit the website www.tfs-initiative.com.
Within the scope of its membership of the “Together for Sustainability” industry initiative, Brenntag requires a defined number of its suppliers to undergo sustainability assessments every year. We thereby achieve greater transparency in relation to our suppliers’ sustainability performance and are able to better consider sustainability issues in our purchasing decisions.
Here, we work together with EcoVadis, a leading provider of sustainability assessments and well established in the chemical industry. EcoVadis evaluates companies in terms of four categories: environmental protection, labour practices, fair business practices and sustainable procurement. On the basis of the responses provided in a comprehensive online questionnaire and on the accompanying documentation, EcoVadis awards scoring points and produces a detailed profile of strengths and weaknesses. Brenntag reviews the findings and, based on its suppliers’ performance, requires them to make improvements or to undergo a supplementary audit.
Brenntag has specified two targets in the field of Sustainable Procurement by 2020:
- Check 80% of our total chemical spend (in EUR) through sustainability assessments and audits as part of the membership of “Togetherfor Sustainability”.
The supplier assessments carried out by the end of 2018 cover around 70% total chemical spend (in EUR). (2017: around 64%)
- Brenntag wants to focus more on improvements in its suppliers' sustainability performance. 70% of our suppliers undergoing reassessment should be able to improve their score by at least one point. The target applies from Jan. 1, 2019 and for all reassessments taking place from then on.
Brenntag evaluates its suppliers’ assessment results. It found that suppliers which represent some 62% of our total chemical spend scored 45 points or higher. According to the EcoVadis assessment system, these companies have, as a minimum, a structured and proactive sustainability approach, policies and tangible actions in relation to the areas evaluated and a basic reporting system or set of performance indicators.
Brenntag drew up a code of conduct specifying what we expect of our suppliers in the areas of environmental protection and safety, labour and social standards as well as compliance and governance.
The code is based on the principles of the United Nations Global Compact, the chemical industry’s global Responsible Care programme and Brenntag’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics.
In order to verify compliance with the code of conduct, we invite selected suppliers to undergo a sustainability assessment or audit.
As the global market leader in chemical distribution, Brenntag must adhere to all applicable foreign trade and customs laws and regulations in the countries where we operate. As such, our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics stipulates that our employees must observe all applicable restrictions on local and international foreign trade, e.g. restrictions on the importation and exportation of certain goods, services and technologies into or out of countries that are subject to sanctions or embargoes. The same applies to supplies to or from companies or persons that appear on sanction lists. Furthermore, Brenntag employees must adhere to applicable trade restrictions resulting from international embargoes that typically restrict or prohibit funds transfers or capital transfers to or from certain countries.
Brenntag also fulfils this obligation by using an automated, IT-based screening solution. This involves the use of special software to regularly check our customers and suppliers against the sanction lists of the United Nations, the European Union, the USA and various other countries where Brenntag operates. If there are grounds for suspicion, an examination is conducted and, if necessary, delivery does not occur and further measures are taken in coordination with the authorities.