Sustainability report 2019/20

Value-based supplier management

Code of conduct for the supply chain

We are convinced that sustainable business practices yield high quality and product reliability. Our customers are also increasingly requesting proof of this. We can only satisfy this demand if our business partners and suppliers share our conviction. For us, one important prerequisite for a trusting partnership is thus a common understanding of sustainability. To this end, we have drawn up a code of conduct for suppliers that is binding for all of the national and international suppliers we work with. It has been devised based on the measures and regulations of the Salzgitter Group and applies to all levels of the company that maintain business contacts with our suppliers and service providers. 

The demands and expectations defined in our supplier code of conduct cover the following areas:

Legality and integrity
This includes compliance with applicable laws, combating corruption and money laundering, antitrust law, export controls and maintaining secrecy and data privacy.

Human rights and working conditions
This encompasses freedom of association, working hours, wages, no child labor, no forced labor and no discrimination.

Occupational health and safety protection
This covers health and safety at work and the prevention of accidents.

Environmental protection
Our sustainability claim is also substantiated in our environmental regulations, sustainable use of energy and resources and climate protection.

The upstream processes and stages in value creation at our company are many and diverse: they range from raw materials such as steel plate and profiles through complex assemblies, electromechanical equipment, drive technology and installation services to entire machines. Accordingly, we have an extensive pool of suppliers who in turn also have their own subcontractors. This is a huge responsibility for us – and also means that we have a considerable sphere of influence that we wish to make positive use of. 

Sustainability criteria for supplier assessment

We do not simply inform our partners that compliance with our supplier code of conduct is mandatory not just for them but also for their own subsuppliers and subcontractors; we also audit our suppliers with the help of questionnaires and documents of proof, such as on certain management systems governing quality, occupational health and safety, environmental protection and energy – and then place them in three categories on the basis of this. These system audits determine whether the supplier is fundamentally suitable or not. There are also process audits and product audits designed to ensure product quality.

The information submitted for a system audit is verified by supporting documents and on tours of the supplier’s site.  

In order to fully meet our duties of care to respect human and environmental rights throughout the supply chain, we continue to develop suitable risk analyses and test procedures. Our benchmark here are the UN’s guiding principles for business and human rights and their translation into the German Federal Government’s national action plan. We welcome the legal standardization of requirements at national and European level and shall subject our approach to scrutiny and appropriate further development.