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Responsible purchasing

Groupe SEB has committed to a responsible purchasing policy and has implemented reporting and control systems to ensure that its suppliers comply with its labour and environmental requirements.

Clear rules for a lasting relationship

Groupe SEB expects its relationships with its suppliers to be based on transparency. Beyond the valuable requirements, quality and punctuality, the Group involves its suppliers in its commitment to sustainable development, particularly in the areas of business ethics, the environment and working conditions. Sustainable development criteria form an integral part of the purchasing guidelines and general conditions of purchase.

All members or aspiring members of the supplier panel are individually assessed for compliance with sustainable development criteria and regulations. Social and environmental issues are also examined during the annual suppliers panel evaluation.


A Responsible Purchasing Charter

Since purchasing represents around  two thirds of its turnover, the Group bears great responsibility in terms of the production of its products under ethical conditions. Groupe SEB is then  very vigilant when it comes to its suppliers respecting its ethical, social and environmental requirements. At the end of 2011, it began to draw up a Responsible Purchasing Charter, bringing together various documents, which until now have been handled separately: buyer’s ethical Code, Global Compact and CECED principles, environmental statement, labour rights statement…

This Charter has been done in parallel with the creation of a Code of Ethics Group. It follows from the Code of Ethics and aims to be a common framework for purchasing teams and suppliers of Groupe SEB. Indeed, it commits suppliers to meet the local labour law, Human Rights, or to comply with the regulations in terms of environmental protection. It also describes the social and environmental requirements of the Group's subcontractors. But the Responsible Purchasing Charter also summarizes all the commitments made by Groupe SEB to them: transparency, fairness, impartiality... It was sent to the Group panel suppliers in the world and distributed internally to the buyers.


Increased traceability of substances used

In order to make it easier for its suppliers to guarantee the respect of regulations relating to not using hazardous substances, Groupe SEB has decided to call upon the services of EcoMundo, which specialises in conformance to regulations concerning chemical substances. Almost 1,000 of Groupe SEB's suppliers have access to a dedicated Internet portal, which will make it easier for them to produce their eco-statements.


Outsourcing of Social and Environmental Audits

In 2008, the Group set out a procedure for nonconformity cases. Every year, Groupe SEB carries out social audits to monitor its suppliers' practices. For any serious breach of regulation, the Group suspends new orders with the supplier and imposes him to implement a corrective action plan that is being monitored.

The procedure is very formal. During an initial indepth audit (involving one to three days on site, depending on the size of the company), the auditors review nearly 300 checkpoints taken from the WCA (Workplace Condition Assessment) audit criteria. Each checkpoint is assessed according to a four-level scale of compliance ranging from “zero tolerance” (forced labour) to minor non-compliance, with moderate and major non-compliance in between. The final score, calculated out of 100, is ranked according to four performance levels: high performance, average, poor and very poor. The audit report is sent to the Group’s Purchasing department. One single “zero tolerance” non-compliance (e.g. failure to comply with the legal working age) triggers the following actions: a letter from the Group’s Purchasing Director requiring the implementation of a corrective action plan within two weeks, immediate suspension of any new consultation and follow-up audit three months later to check that the issue has been resolved. If not, the Group ends the collaboration. With scores of less than 50, the regional Head of Purchasing sends a formal letter warning the company to correct the breach and follows this up with an audit three months later.

Every year the Group audits about a quarter of its listed suppliers of raw materials/components and finished products in terms of their compliance with its ethical, social and environmental requirements. In 2015, the Group carried out 134 first-time audits, all of which were handled by Intertek. These involved suppliers in Asia, South America, Europe and Turkey. Intertek also hands out an Achievement Award (AA) label to suppliers who have an overall score of at least 85 and do not present any major or zero tolerance-type non-compliances. In 2015, 7 suppliers of Groupe SEB received this label.