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Evonik is making the supply chain more transparent.
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The globalization process has dramatically accelerated in recent years, causing the global export volume to grow more than 300-fold within two generations. The growing prosperity of hundreds of millions of people is inextricably linked with the increasing international division of labor. Evonik is part of this development as well as one of its driving forces.
The Essen- based specialty chemicals company operates in more than 100 countries worldwide and now generates three fourths of its sales outside Germany. This growth is also causing Evonik to bear more responsibility worldwide. Evonik is working together with seven leading chemical companies to promote the ambitious Together for Sustainability initiative, which aims at ensuring sutainability and establishing universally valid standards along the supply chain in order to protect people and the environment.
Ingrid de Wilde is in demand whenever chemicals have to be transported from one place to another. She knows the regulations, safety requirements, and specifications for tanks and containers like the back of her hand. Furthermore, her decades of experience have made her an expert regarding more than just transport safety. She also represents the sector association at the International Maritime Organisation in London, where she gives presentations to 600 delegates. She is also a much sought-after advisor for difficult cases in particular.
At Evonik, her office is located in the Marl Chemistry Park. Her job title is Senior Manager Procurement Chemicals, and her mission is to promote safety and sustainability along the entire supply chain. "Today the work involves more than just ensuring safe transportation," she says. "We want to commit our suppliers to uphold the same high standards as we do, and we want to check whether these standards are actually met."
To ensure that this task is organized more efficiently and effectively on a daily basis, eight of Europe’s largest chemical companies recently banded together to form the Together for Sustainability (TfS) initiative. In the future the initiative will help AkzoNobel, BASF, Bayer, Clariant, Evonik Industries, Henkel, Lanxess, and Solvay to standardize, and thus simplify, the inspection of their suppliers. As a result, a supplier that has already demonstrated its sustainability within the supply chain to one of the participating companies won’t have to be closely examined again by the other TfS members.
The benefits will be considerable, since Evonik’s supplier list alone encompasses tens of thousands of companies, ranging from major energy corporations to raw materials suppliers and providers of technical services. "Each sector has its own special questionnaire with up to 50 questions," explains de Wilde. "The suppliers are asked to provide detailed information about working conditions, safety precautions, anti-corruption measures, accident figures, and much more beyond."
Read the full story in our Sustainability Report 2013.
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