With the aim to promote a mutual understanding on sustainability challenges and requirements of the chemical supply chain, the Together for Sustainability (TfS) initiative held its first conference in Shanghai, China on 22 October, 2014.
About 350 participants joined the event in China – including suppliers, TfS member company representatives as well as local and international associations and non-Governmental organizations. Main topics included sustainable supply chains and specific sustainability requirements in the chemical industry. The conference also provided an overview on key audit results achieved so far as well as the improvement process at supplier level.
Mr. Li Shousheng, Executive Vice Chairman of the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF) delivered a keynote speech. “In line with the global trend of sustainable development, the TfS initiative is an innovation that aims to enhance the competitiveness of the industry. China has stepped into a new stage of sustainable development. It is important for the Chinese enterprises to learn from advanced concepts and successful experience of international companies, and to strive to create a brand new era of sustainable development in the Chinese petrochemical industry,” he said.
Founded in 2011, the TfS initiative develops and implements a global audit program to assess and improve sustainability practices within the supply chains of the chemical industry. It involves independent experts to carry out assessments and audits of suppliers. Its members include AkzoNobel, BASF, Bayer, Clariant, Evonik, Henkel, LANXESS and Solvay. So far, the TfS member companies have successfully initiated about 2,000 assessments and 180 supplier audits. Besides, about 30 main audit criteria have been defined in the joint audit program and a respective auditor pool was established.
“The TfS initiative helps the members to standardize, and thus simplify the inspection of their suppliers by sharing supplier sustainability assessment and audit data. The increased transparency on sustainability standards provides a sound basis for business decisions. Moreover, resources can be spent more effectively to initiate continuous improvements of sustainability standards in global supply chains,” said Mr. Michael Britt, Head of Global Direct Procurement of BASF.
Mr. Ruediger Eberhard, Chief Procurement Officer of Evonik commented, “Thanks to all members’ joint efforts, the TfS initiative is expanding its activities in high growth sourcing markets, including China, Brazil and India. Additional companies like Brenntag, DSM and MERCK have expressed their interest in joining TfS, and they are warmly welcomed. The more companies take part in the initiative, the larger the economies of scale will be and the chemical industry will benefit from standardization.”
In a panel discussion with TfS members and supplier representatives the panelists openly discussed the achievements and challenges they see for implementing the TfS initiative in China from both sides. With a common goal to move towards a sustainable chemical value chain, all participants found the 1st TfS China conference a well-served platform to create awareness and mutual understanding on sustainability requirements and to bring the initiative forward.
The initiative was originally founded by six multinational chemical companies: BASF, Bayer, Evonik Industries, Henkel, LANXESS and Solvay. Further members are Akzo Nobel and Clariant. Designated members are Merck, DSM and Brenntag.
As multinational leading chemicals companies, we strive for a sustainable development and support the principles of the United Nations Global Compact and Responsible Care.
We take responsibility for our own operations and in the sphere of our influence for our supply chains to support adherence to existing regulations and to respond to the needs and expectations of consumers and society.
TfS aims at developing and implementing a global supplier engagement program that assesses and improves sustainability sourcing practices within the supply chains of the chemical industry, including ecological and social aspects. Technically, suppliers now only have to complete one form instead of multiple questionnaires. Additionally, buyers can access the information through a shared platform.
TfS has the following objectives:
• Join forces to create standards for sustainable supply chains
• Share sustainability assessments and audit results
• Raise awareness and initiate continuous improvements
• Exchange and promote best practices
• Use resources more efficiently and follow the principle of: “An audit for one i