China, India and Brazil are attracting the interest of a chemical industry sustainable supply chain initiative. Together for Sustainability (TfS), which aims to implement a global supplier engagement programme covering ecological and social aspects, says such countries might face higher risks as they expand quickly.
The programme involves assessments and audits of suppliers by independent experts, with the results shared among TfS members. During its development, 2,000 assessments and audits were carried out, says Karl-Heinz Ott, global sustainability manager for participating company Henkel. Now the initiative plans to expand into more countries through a programme of "witnessed audits". Under the system, TfS members will send experienced sustainability auditors to assess the performance of the third party auditors in high-growth countries in order to establish their reliability.
Companies participating in the scheme are AkzoNobel, BASF, Bayer, Clariant, Evonik Industries, Henkel, Lanxess and Solvay.
Mr Ott says, “The vision is to implement this as an industry standard in the next couple of years. We need to contact other chemical industry organisations globally to establish a dialogue to become a global standard,” he adds.
Henkel, which revised its global responsible sourcing programme two years ago, aims to cover 90% of its supply by 2015. “We have made substantial progress, especially with the help of this initiative, and are confident of achieving our ambitious target,” says Mr Ott.