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We purchase materials, goods and services from over 20,000 suppliers worldwide. Our Supplier Code of Conduct and related audits help ensure that our suppliers understand and comply with our standards.


Key message - suppliers

 Supplier Code of Conduct Audit




Our Supplier Code of Conduct

The issues addressed in the Code reflect the many and diverse activities in which our suppliers are involved. Wherever possible, the Code defines a fair and common-sense approach to doing business, while incorporating all relevant legal requirements.

The Code also takes into account our Values and Principles, particularly the emphasis on safety, taking personal ownership for actions and communicating with openness and involvement. We expect all our suppliers to follow the principles of this Code.

We have directly communicated our Code to around 12,000 suppliers and are now asking suppliers to sign a declaration of compliance. Our aim is that all suppliers will sign such a declaration in order that they can continue supplying the NSG Group.

The standards we expect

We expect our suppliers to achieve and maintain high standards throughout the supply chain, but with particular regard to the following:

Ethical behavior

Our suppliers must accept personal responsibility for behaving professionally, ethically and with integrity and fairness.

Social behavior — human considerations in the workplace

All our suppliers must conform to the relevant International Labor Organization labor standards as a minimum requirement.

Environmental behavior

Our suppliers must recognize the crucial importance of their role in reducing environmental impact. They must play their part in creating a prosperous and sustainable future, by continually seeking to achieve best practice in environmental protection.


Key elements of the code now form part of our supplier audits. We have doubled the size of our supplier development team to 20 engineers, covering all regions. This team is responsible for validating compliance.

Our goal is to audit 50 percent of key suppliers by 2015. This represents around 800 new supplier audits over and above the 120 carried out in 2010.

Important aspects of the new audit are the ethical and social behavior of our suppliers as well as their environmental management system and approaches to health and safety.

Communication and cooperation

In line with our Sustainability Policy, we communicate with and work constructively with our suppliers and governments, regulatory agencies, the scientific community and other relevant stakeholders, to develop and encourage business and community practices that make progress towards the common aim of sustainable development.

We expect our suppliers to uphold our standards in dealing with their own suppliers, contractors and sub-contractors and to be able to provide evidence of this if requested.

Impact on the environment

In 2010, we began to identify suppliers that have a particularly high impact on the environment. Our aim is to ensure that our suppliers minimize their negative impacts and work positively on environmental initiatives. The scope includes wooden packaging, batch materials, waste management contractors and chemicals. We insist that suppliers in these categories have a recognized environmental certification such as ISO 14001 or equivalent. In the case of wooden packaging we look for a recognized chain of custody in regard to the wood supply. Currently, around two-thirds of our 700 suppliers in this category meet our requirements for environmental certification or chain of custody for wood supply.

Supplier-related activities

Our procurement activities and projects demonstrate our commitment to Sustainability. Good practice is shared through Global Procurement Category teams and spread throughout the Group. We leverage our Global Procurement function to achieve this spread of good practice effectively and efficiently.


In Automotive, all supplied materials are registered in the global IMDS (International Material Data System) to ensure we have complete visibility of material content to identify hazardous materials and opportunities for recycling. This data is shared openly with our automotive customers, to support their own recycling efforts.


We have secured supply of natural gas as an alternative to heavy fuel oil for firing our float plants in China. As a result, emissions of CO2, NOX and SOX from these sites have been significantly reduced. We are introducing electricity demand management programs in certain sites to enable our consumption to be reduced at time of peak network demand, therefore avoiding the need for additional reserve generation and distribution capacity on the network. In other sites, we have installed photovoltaic generation to fulfill a proportion of our power needs.


Glass is a bulky material, with transport between locations a significant contributor to CO2 emissions. We work with transportation providers to ensure that they operate cleaner and more efficient trucks to reduce the environmental impact. We are increasing our weighting of environmental factors when selecting our transportation partners.

Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB)

PVB is used to manufacture laminated glass, mainly for automotive windshields. PVB trims from the edges of the laminated glass are returned to PVB suppliers to be recycled in their manufacturing processes. In 2011 around 2,000 tonnes of PVB trim was returned to our suppliers or other recyclers to be reused.

Silver pastes

We use silver pastes in our Automotive business line as an electrical conductor on automobile backlights. Recycling schemes have been extended in our manufacturing plants for the silk screens as well as the cloths and containers used with the silver paste. We and our suppliers are able to reclaim a significant amount of the waste silver for reuse in our production operations.

Water management

We seek to minimize our water consumption by working with suppliers to recycle water and to install advanced water treatment facilities. This not only reduces the consumption of water itself but also the chemicals used in the treatment of the water.