Transparency Check

 “Do you disclose your EcoVadis Premium Report to the public – or at least to your own employees?” If not, also the 3 pages chapter “LABOR PRACTICES & HUMAN RIGHTS (LAB)” remains a secret to the employees. Why would employers want to hide their report from their own employees?

 

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Employees are CSR Stakeholders

“If It’s Not Public, You’re Not Doing It”

 This blog is about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in general and especially about the disclosure of EcoVadis Premium Reports to employees as key stakeholders in the CSR management of their employer.

 EcoVadis got a hook in its name. It probably is intended to stand for “CSR checked”. Employees are key stakeholders in the CSR management of their organization. How seriously can one take the green EcoVadis check mark if the employees of audited organizations cannot scrutinize the stories which their employers tell to EcoVadis and which EcoVadis turnes into a well structured “Premium Report”? That 15 pages profiles also contains a 3 pages chapter “LABOR PRACTICES & HUMAN RIGHTS (LAB)”.


 Today, customers are not just buying products and services from their suppliers. Considering their reputation and their liabilities as purchasers and employers, especially large corporations are under immense pressure from stakeholders to be transparent about their sustainability and CSR practices, and this includes their supply chains.

 EcoVadis’ business is reputation management. EcoVadis Members can subscribe to a “Premium Plan” where EcoVadis offers “customized 360° monitoring of CSR news and events” related their company.

 Plans and prices: For being evaluated by EcoVadis in 2016, to my understanding suppliers (members) have to pay 480€ for a “Basic” one year plan. For a subscription to the “Premium” one year plan (with the 15 pages EcoVadis Premium Report) they pay 1200€. (The “Corporate” one year plan would cost them 4900€.) Subscribers to the Premium Plan get “Premium badges”, “certificates” and a “15 page profile” to proactively tell their “CSR success story” in their websites, PR, etc. Thus, EcoVadis does support the disclosure of the EcoVadis Premium Report (the profile) to the public. But only few companies to that.

 250 young and mostly low payed employees helped EcoVadis in “expanding activity by more than 50% in 2015”. EcoVadis’ business is to evaluate the CSR management of suppliers in a higly standadized way. Around 25000 suppliers from more that 100 countries are registered with the EcoVadis platform, around 6000 “members” per year are evaluated. Buying from a supplier ranked high by EcoVadis gives purchasers a good conscience. They think, that they don’t need to put effort in audits of sites of suppliers awarded with “Gold” or “Silver”.

 An EcoVadis Premium Report shows well structured and in detail what a supplier reported to EcoVadis. But there is a weak point: If the CSR of a supplier has been awarded with “Gold” by EcoVadis and if that supplier does not disclose the related EcoVadis Premium Report at least to the own employees, then there must be something wrong with the report. Employees are major stakeholders in their employer’s CSR management. The chapter “LABOR PRACTICES & HUMAN RIGHTS (LAB)” in the EcoVadis Premium Report is their’s.

 It’s the GIGO Principle: EcoVadis offers an excellent framework for standardized CSI reporting. That shows that a well structured presentation of “soft” issues is possible. But if the input is flawed (garbage in), the output of a document audit (remote audit) will be flawed as well (garbage out). The good news: Suppliers assessed by EcoVadis can turn the weak point of the EcoVadis method into a strength. There already are suppliers who disclose their EcoVadis Premium Report to their employees as stakeholders of their CSR management system. They enable their own employees to scrutinize the EcoVadis Premium Report with their insider knowledge. Some suppliers even publish the report in the Internet.

Platinum
 If you call suppliers “courageous” because they disclose their EcoVadis Premium Report to their employees or even to the public, you still don’t really understand what CSR is about. Rather than being courageous, these companies simply walk the CSR talk and display best practice leadership – which regrettably is not fostered by EcoVadis yet. Suppliers with transparent CSR reporting deserve “Platinum”. As long as EcoVadis doesn’t provide such an award, I’ll try my best to take care of that.

EcoVadis Raises €30m To Radically Expand Its Leadership In Global Supply Chain Sustainability Ratings

Press release:

https://www.ecovadis.com/ecovadis-raises-e30m-radically-expand-leadership-global-supply-chain-sustainability-ratings/

14.12.2016
Announcements

Funding from Partech Ventures Will Enable EcoVadis to Meet Immense Market Demands for Sustainability and Supplier Risk Mitigation

Dec. 14, 2016 (NEW YORK/PARIS)

EcoVadis, the leading platform for environmental, social and ethical performance ratings for global supply chains, servicing over 30,000 customers in 110 countries, today announced its first institutional funding led by Partech Ventures, the global VC firm operating from San Francisco, Paris and Berlin.

The company, which employs 320 professionals worldwide, has been growing organically by 50% annually since inception 10 years ago. Its ratings and scorecards are being used by 150+ of the world’s largest supply chains representing more than $1 trillion in annual procurement spend.

This minority investment is the first outside capital for EcoVadis since its founding in 2007. It will be used to accelerate worldwide adoption of EcoVadis’ supplier Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) ratings, to advance the reliability and value delivered in its ratings, and to further invest in core technologies of its platform, through in-house R&D and partnerships with best-of-breed tech start-ups.

“As a transatlantic investment fund, Partech is the ideal partner as we scale,” said Frederic Trinel, Co-CEO of EcoVadis. “Their team brings global expertise with a strong presence in the US, a deep understanding of tech and a passion for driving performance. This pivotal investment will empower our team to accelerate R&D and enhance our proprietary technology with the latest innovations in machine learning and natural language processing while broadening our expertise in CSR analysis to foster environmental, social and ethical performance improvement at a global scale.”

“Consumers, citizens and investors are all demanding that companies adopt and demonstrate sustainable practices to improve their environmental and social impact. EcoVadis makes that happen across global supply chains,” said Omri Benayoun, General Partner of Partech Ventures. “We are extremely proud to partner with Pierre-François and Frédéric. These outstanding entrepreneurs are defining the global standard for supplier sustainability ratings” adds Bruno Cremel, General Partner of Partech Ventures.

“Companies rely on EcoVadis to ensure resilience of supply chains but also drive change in sustainability, social and human rights practices”, said Pierre-Francois Thaler, co-CEO of EcoVadis. “We now want to step up the impact of our collaborative platform to drive more improvements in the future.”

“Within this decade, business leaders know they must make radical shifts to remain competitive in increasingly socially-sensitive markets — and to address the formidable challenges facing our planet,” said John Elkington, Chairman of Volans, the U.K.-based global sustainability consulting firm, and EcoVadis advisory board member. “It’s exciting to see the EcoVadis ratings and platform going mainstream – with growing potential to become the preferred enabler of business and market transformation for the two million businesses operating in global supply chains.”

 

About EcoVadis
EcoVadis is the first collaborative platform providing sustainability ratings and performance improvement tools for global supply chains. EcoVadis’ easy-to-use CSR scorecards help companies to monitor suppliers’ environmental, ethical, and social practices across 150 purchasing categories and 110 countries. Over 150 industry leaders such as Nestlé, GSK, Heineken, Michelin, Johnson & Johnson, Schneider Electric, l’Oréal, BASF, and Subway, and over 30,000 of their trading partners use EcoVadis to reduce risk and drive sustainability and innovation.

www.ecovadis.com  
On Twitter: @Ecovadis  
On LinkedIn: Linkedin/EcoVadis

GP Bulhound acted as financial advisor to EcoVadis and its shareholders.

About Partech VenturesFounded in 1982 in Silicon Valley, Partech Ventures is a global investment firm with a team spread across offices in San Francisco, Paris and Berlin. Most Partners have been entrepreneurs themselves or have held management positions within tech companies. The partnership acts and invests as a single team, helping entrepreneurs build fast-growing tech and digital companies addressing large markets across multiple continents. Partech Ventures partners with entrepreneurs at the seed (Partech Entrepreneur), venture (Partech International) and/or growth (Partech Growth) stages. Companies backed by Partech Ventures have completed 21 initial public offerings and more than 50 major M&A transactions with leading international companies. Since 2012, the team has built a pioneering business development platform fostering synergies and business relationships between entrepreneurs and strategic partners.

Preqin, an independent global research firm, has ranked Partech Ventures as one of the ten most consistent venture capital firms in the world, and the only European VC in the top 25.

http://www.partechventures.com

“Employees are a vital audience
for reporting on sustainability”

 http://www.ecovadis.com/sustainability-reporting/

Meeting the expectations of employees

Employees are a vital audience for reporting on sustainability, They are primary audience for presentation of the reporting as contributes to an increase in employee retention and loyalty which in turn impacts postively the workforce as a whole which ultimately leads to better performances.

 Then why doesn’t EcoVadis support employees who want to read their employer’s EcoVadis Premium Report? Please walk the talk.

Trina Solar

http://www.ecovadis.com/library/trina-solar-sustainability/

[…] As a leading maker of solar panels, Trina Solar focuses its entire business purpose in sustainability. Thus, evaluating them on their CSR and sustainability performance almost seems a bit intimidating. But Trina Solar have taken a very engaging attitude toward the EcoVadis evaluation and embraced all theme aspects to maintain and improve their solid score performance. Read the full interview, conducted by EcoVadis, of Jodie Roussell, Head of Public Affairs (Europe & Africa) at Trina Solar.

“We have found, though, that EcoVadis Scorecard sharing gives our clients a greater feeling of comfort because the information has been reviewed by a third party. They feel comfortable with the information and give priority to higher risk sites and suppliers.” Jodie Roussell.

 Message to EcoVadis via Facebook:
I lived and worked in Shanghai. Auditing in China is a big challenge. It would contribute to transparency if Trinasolar would disclose not only the EcoVadis Scorecard to its own employees, but also the c. 15 pages EcoVadis Premium Report with its c. 3 pages chapter on 'Labor Practices & Human Rights'.

Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI)

Dear Luis Neves,

Employees are stakeholders in CSR of their Employers.

http://www.ecovadis.com/sustainability-reporting/ says: “… Meeting the expectations of employees – Employees are a vital audience for reporting on sustainability, They are primary audience for presentation of the reporting as contributes to an increase in employee retention and loyalty which in turn impacts postively the workforce as a whole which ultimately leads to better performances. …”

In June 2013, the GeSI started to collaborate with EcoVadis:
http://gesi.org/news?news_id=47

Presently you are the chairman of the GeSI. In collaboration with members from major Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies and organisations around the globe, the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) is a leading source of impartial information, resources and best practices for achieving integrated social and environmental sustainability through ICT. Presently the GeSI represents around 40 of the world’s leading service providers and vendors.

My question to you: I think, EcoVadis members should disclose their EcoVadis Premium Reports at least to their Employees. Does the GeSI support that Idea?

It’s not theory. Some EcoVadis members already publish their EcoVadis Premium Reports even in the Internet: http://platinumcsr.org/the-platinum-award

Best regards,
Goetz Kluge


Links:

“Railsponsible” Sustainable Procurement with EcoVadis

“Railsponsible” is about responsible railways. Members today: Abellio, Alstom, Bombardier, DB (DB Arriva, DB Schenker), Knorr-Bremse, SNCF and SKF. (Where is Dutch Railways? I don’t see the founding member Nederlandse Spoorwegen aka “NedTrain” in the list.)

 In https://www.ecovadis.com/de/stories/railsponsible-sustainable-procurement/, EcoVadis advertises “Railsponsible” Sustainable Procurement with EcoVadis. http://railsponsible.org/supplier-assessments/ shows how EcoVadis engages its members in getting more members. Excellent marketing.

 Railsponsible members ask their suppliers to join the EcoVadis bandwagon. I asked a Railsponsible member (https://twitter.com/Alstom/status/737291259472191488): @Alstom
Do #Railsponsible members disclose their #EcoVadis Premium Report in the Internet – or at least to their employees?
I also asked Railsponsible directly using their contact form. I am curious how the “railsponsibly” members treat their own employees as stakeholders in the CSR of their employer.

CSR Lingo

There are a lot of things which surely should not be sustained. Do we use the word “Sustainability” without thinking? Sustainability of what? What does the frequent usage of “Sustainability” as if it for itself already would mark any value tell to us? Sustainability alone is neither good nor bad.

 
http://anticsr.com/csr-fad/

CSR Fad changing to Sustainability

[…] Usually from Corporate Social Responsibility to Corporate Responsibility to Sustainability. Businesses and leaders that formerly invoked CSR at every turn now rarely mention it. The reports formerly known as ‘CSR Reports’ now try to avoid the label. The newer ersatz terms allow them to claim the same righteousness without the baggage and expectations of CSR.

Sustainability is now especially fashionable for corporations. It’s environmental focus is relatively singular and easy to pay lip-service to. Sustainability is now going through the same fashion cycle. CSR is now effete, sustainability will soon be. After it’s worn out, society will move on. Try to guess what the new cliché word of the future will be.