Business partner engagement

All our business partners are required to sign and comply with our Business Partner Code of Conduct before engaging in business with us, which includes a commitment to avoid impacting people’s human rights, and to apply principles of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

The code explains, for example, that people should not be employed against their will, transported for exploitation, engaged in slavery or servitude, nor deprived of their rights. In addition, legal minimum age requirements – as outlined in the relevant ILO conventions and the laws of the countries of operation – should be adhered to and children under the age of 16 should not be employed. The code is available in 21 languages.

A signing requirement of our Business Partner Code of Conduct was introduced and currently 97% of the product related (PR) spend and 86% of the non-product related (NPR) spend are covered.

Business partner compliance framework

In 2017, we introduced a business partner screening process and tool as part of our business partner compliance framework. This requires high risk business partners – including key suppliers, parties in sanctioned countries, agents and toll manufacturers – to be screened for past violations and misconduct, including negative human rights impacts.

Supplier sustainability framework

We work together with our suppliers to create a sustainable supply database. Our supplier sustainability framework continuously monitors the sustainability level of our suppliers, including human rights. The framework has three formal processes in place to ensure compliance, manage risks and promote supplier development. Two of them include integral human rights monitoring processes and are described below.

Supplier support visits
This program is designed to develop suppliers in emerging markets with particular risks by raising their capability and performance. The supportive visits and formal follow-up visits are carried out by our own teams from Procurement and Health, Safety, Environment & Security (HSE&S). Awareness of, and compliance with, corporate social responsibility is measured with continued support from local, cross-functional AkzoNobel teams. This well-established program is now an integral part of our ALPS supplier selection, strategy and collaboration process.

Together for Sustainability (TfS)
TfS is an industry initiative made up of 20 leading global chemical companies. It aims to improve sustainability practices within the global supply chains of the chemical industry, building on established global principles such as the United Nations Global Compact, UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Responsible Care Global Charter. With TfS, we aim to implement effective, leading edge practices across the industry. We are implementing standardized global sustainability assessments and on-site audits to monitor and improve sustainability practices in our supply chains.

The results of our TfS assessments and audits allow us to identify common areas for improvement and focus improvement activities relating to the suppliers that are assessed through the platform. Improvement areas include the introduction of a formal reporting system on our suppliers’ sustainable procurement performance and business ethics issues, including human rights. TfS assessment of our suppliers covered more than 63% of spend in 2017, while the average score improved by 3%, including a positive impact on the human rights score.

Read more about our supplier sustainability framework in our annual report