Making demands of your suppliers is the rule rather than the exception nowadays, especially from a safety and a work environment perspective. But LKAB has chosen to go one step further. Since March, Mats Stålnacke and his colleagues have been visiting various suppliers to make sure on site that we are all working together towards sustainable enterprise.
To be a supplier to LKAB, a company must approve the basic requirements set out by LKAB. These basic requirements are a simplified code of conduct for suppliers, with requirements relating to, among others, the UN’s Global Compact, the OECD’s guidelines for multinational companies and the UN’s guideline principles for companies and human rights.
But simply having acknowledgement on paper of issues such as human rights, policies and action plans to counteract child labour, requirements and compliance in the supply chain, working conditions, employee protection and safety is not enough for LKAB. Follow-up and on-site visits provide an opportunity to raise awareness and levels of knowledge among suppliers in the long term, and to check that the basic requirements are really being satisfied in practice. LKAB’s Purchasing Department has mapped out its supplier base according to defined criteria in order to identify risks from a sustainability perspective. On the basis of this process, a small selection of suppliers is then contacted for follow-up. The first step is a self-declaration, which is completed by the company in question.
“The self-declaration can be compared with an extended supplier code of conduct, which we use as a basis for the actual visit. We also carry out extensive preparatory work involving studies of the company, their subcontractors, the countries where they operate, and so on. This results in positive, productive discussions when we actually meet,” says Mats Stålnacke, Supplier Developer at LKAB.
After the visit, LKAB compiles the results and shares them with the supplier, who is then given time to produce suggested measures as required. The whole process is characterised by a professional approach with a focus on dialogue and development.
“It is LKAB’s vision to be a role model in the field of sustainability. As we depend on our suppliers, this vision also includes them. It’s therefore of paramount interest to us that we assume responsibility so that we can work together with our suppliers to take on the challenge of achieving sustainability throughout the whole value chain,” says Mats Stålnacke.