The technology company Continental is continuously increasing the importance of sustainability within the Purchasing function. To select and evaluate its suppliers, the Hanover-based company undertook a multi-stage selection process before commissioning the service provider Eco Vadis to conduct a continuous sustainability evaluation of existing and potential suppliers on the basis of standardized questionnaires. “Sustainability is becoming increasingly important for us, and not just for the design of many of our products. In Purchasing, we have also started to increase the priority for sustainable action with our most important raw material suppliers and service providers for freight and capital expenditure,” said Nikolai Setzer, who is in charge of Corporate Purchasing and the Tire division in the Executive Board of Continental AG. “The efforts are enormous as we have to cover a couple of hundreds companies currently supplying to our locations. In Corporate Purchasing however, we want to send a strong signal for sustainable practices within the entire supply chain, particularly for the Rubber Group, as the majority of the raw materials are sourced within the Rubber Group,” he continued.
Natural Rubber is a very specific material when talking about sustainable practices. That is why a special project for analyzing sustainability in the delivery chain of natural rubber is in preparation. “This lighthouse project involves both the Tire and ContiTech divisions. Its purpose is to enable the tracking of the delivery chain, from the rubber cultivators up to our production, together with selected existing suppliers. The goal here is both, to treat nature in a more resource-friendly manner and thus avoid further destruction of the rainforests, as well as to improve the overall income situation of the rubber cultivators,” continued Setzer.
In Corporate Purchasing at Continental, one of the roles of the Sustainability Management is to coordinate all these sustainability activities in the supply chain. All in all, Continental is thus placing an even greater focus on acting sustainably. This is turning sustainability into a major selection and further development criterion in the company’s dealings with suppliers. If the existing suppliers do not act in a sustainable manner, Continental will require the necessary changes to be implemented. The technology company simply expects its suppliers to join in to the path of more sustainable behavior and to show the same commitment and dedication.