Successful businesses are inspired, guided and shaped by sustainability. Increased societal awareness of and sensitivity for issues such as human rights, child labor, and the effects of climate change imply companies must demonstrate transparency, responsibility and accountability for their actions. For the chemical industry, supply chain practices represent a major opportunity to improve a company’s sustainability performance.
Therefore in 2011, six chemical companies – BASF, Bayer, Evonik Industries, Henkel, Lanxess and Solvay – created Together for Sustainability (TfS), a framework for environmental, social and governance performance of the chemical supply chains. TfS put tools in place – TfS Assessments and TfS Audits – to track a company’s sustainability performance in areas relating to the environment, labour and human rights, ethics and sustainable procurement. In the meantime, TfS has grown into a robust organisation of twenty-three-member companies and the TfS methodology into a de facto global standard for assessing and improving chemical supply chains globally.
The TfS member companies use the TfS Assessments and TfS Audits to assess the sustainability performance and progress of suppliers and partners, based on the member’s own analyses and supplier selection criteria. The supplier’s sustainability performance is verified against pre-defined criteria that are tailored to the requirements of the chemical industry.
With the approval of the supplier, the results of TfS Assessments and TfS Audits are shared with all other TfS member companies according to the principle “An audit/assessment for one is an audit/assessment for all”. This transparent process forms the basis for TfS member companies to engage and work with suppliers to implement tangible, measurable sustainability improvements and for TfS member companies to optimise their own sustainability performance. Within the year 2018, over 2,000 suppliers, who had previously conducted a TfS assessment through the agency EcoVadis or a TfS audit, documented their progress on improvements.
Every chemical producer manages a vast network of suppliers with very diverse profiles not only in geographical sense or sector of activity, but also in complexity and level of maturity. This complex supply chain set-up represents potential risks, not only of non-compliance with regulations and laws, but also of loss of reputation, and of missing out on operational, commercial and organisational benefits. TfS chemical member companies share the belief that sustainable supply chains add real value to their business operations. They ensure a company’s resilience, safeguard a corporation’s position as competitive market player, provide real opportunities for growth and anticipate and deliver regulatory compliance.