According to the Sustainable Procurement Guidelines published by the BME  (Germany’s Association for Supply Chain Management, Procurement and Logistics), up to 80 % of a company’s carbon footprint comes from their procurement processes and supply chains. 

That’s why procurement needs to play a pivotal role in any corporate sustainability strategy. To show companies where to make meaningful and necessary changes – and also to ensure the steps they take are verifiable and quantifiable – the BME teamed up with the JARO Institute for Sustainability & Digitalisation to develop its “BME Responsible Procurement Organization” certification system. This consists of a series of audits which test, assess and certify the level of the company’s achievements in the field of sustainability.

DEBATIN successfully completes the “BME Responsible Procurement Organization” Level 3 certification process

Back in January 2020, DEBATIN decided to submit its sustainability strategy for audit. It has now successfully completed the process and achieved Level 3 certification. The audit focussed on “HR”, “Procurement”, “Shipping” and “Quality management”, with a particular focus on the social and ecological aspects of procurement. It also explored the overall impact on DEBATIN. The certification process involved on-site inspections, interviews with employees and auditing documentation to verify that DEBATIN meets the minimum requirements as agreed in its “Sustainability Commitment”. This is based on DEBATIN’s sustainable procurement strategy and goals, its corporate strategy and values, Supplier Code of Conduct and the DEBATIN sustainability report.

Purchasing / procurement at DEBATIN

Sustainable procurement is firmly and holistically anchored in our purchasing department. Our approach is based on the UN’s 17 SDGs and on the principles of efficiency, sufficiency and consistency.

We conduct structured talks with our suppliers at regular intervals, meeting to discuss sustainability with them on an equal footing. One aim is to safeguard quality; another is to encourage core suppliers to develop more sustainable processes (e.g., using green electricity). We also conduct surveys with our suppliers on a regular basis and invite them to stakeholder meetings to involve them in our “IDEA POT” and in DEBATIN’s development. The overall objective of these measures is to develop enduring partnerships in which the values “quality” (first) and “sustainability” (second) play consistent, key roles in the procurement process (e.g., when choosing new suppliers). 

DEBATIN applies the same benchmarks to its shipping department. Here, we’ve developed our own catalogue of social criteria (including ILO standards and DEBATIN’s corporate values) which we review and audit once every five years. This process is a fixed part of our management system and includes on-site inspections, individual interviews, suggestions for improvement and follow-up reports.

Results and examples from the audit:

The audit found no deviations from the requirements for “BME Responsible Procurement Organization” Level 3 certification. Minimum standards are fully met and integrated into the existing quality management system in an exemplary manner. Information is communicated smoothly between and within all departments, and colleagues in the DEBATEAM have numerous opportunities for getting involved.

DEBATIN’s responsible procurement strategy is based on the UN’s 17 “Sustainable Development Goals”. DEBATIN’s current focus is on Goal 9 (quality management, digitalisation in procurement processes), Goal 12 (human rights and working conditions, and packaging materials), Goal 13 (sustainable resource management, renewable energy, promoting carbon neutrality) and Goal 17 (Supplier Code of Conduct and promoting joint projects).

Selected examples from the audit:

  • All departments currently share the central Q Wiki system for digital documentation (this has been DEBATIN’s electronic information channel since 2015)
  • DEBATIN implements social sustainability in an exemplary manner (e.g., via corporate health management and various social audits)
  • DEBATIN is certified as a “family-friendly company”
  • The company offers an extensive range of internal and external advanced training opportunities 
  • Excellent vocational training programmes (including university degrees with industry placement), high level of employee satisfaction, excellent level of staff retention.

Tested, certified – and rather proud! A summary 

Summing up the audit, Professor Sandra Rochnowski (JARO Institute) affirmed that sustainability is firmly anchored in DEBATIN’s corporate approach, that the management “walks the talk”, and that the entire workforce continues unwaveringly to pursue and develop their strategy. DEBATIN focuses on social sustainability within the company and has taken steps to meet all legal requirements in this area. But it’s also gone several steps further, proactively promoting the CSR / CC approach with its partners. Ecological aspects such as carbon neutrality are equally firmly anchored in the company’s holistic corporate philosophy. 

“The overall impression is extremely positive: we can see an established system with an exemplary character.”

Wow! Many thanks to the entire DEBATEAM and everyone involved for your hard work and your commitment to more sustainability!