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We also expect our suppliers to act responsibly.
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In parallel with the increase in the number of production sites in China, we have substantially increased local sourcing of goods and services. However, they are not only used in China. The procurement organization aims to step up this "local for global" strategy significantly in the coming years.
Our selection criteria for Chinese suppliers are no different from those we apply in other countries. Alongside quality and price, meeting our corporate responsibility requirements is a key prerequisite. Sustainability plays a critical role in the selection of suppliers.
With a view to sustainable procurement the considerations are typically divided into environmental, economic and social aspects. Evonik's present supplier assessment questionnaire checks the status of quality, occupational health and safety, and environmental protection, as well as anti-corruption measures and social factors such as employees' working conditions.
I think communication plays a very important role in ensuring the accuracy of information. When the assessment questionnaires are sent out, our buyers explain to suppliers what information we need, why we need it and how we handle it. When we receive the completed questionnaires, we review the information and contact suppliers if anything is unclear. Next year we will be performing a check with an external auditor to verify the accuracy of the information. We will also have a member of staff dedicated to CR standards.
I do not see that there is a completely different attitude to the environment and society. What we have to face is a different level of implementation. The suppliers we work with are generally familiar with the CR concept and many have certified management systems. Could potential cost benefits lead to a conflict with high ethical and social standards? If one takes a long-term view, cost benefits and ethical and social standards do not conflict with one another. On a macro level, there are economic benefits in the form of efficiency gains from incorporating life cycle costing into decision-making. On a micro level, responsible companies are reliable partners and stable suppliers. That is very important to Evonik as a chemical company.