A successful company wins additional business advantages by taking an active responsibility for the environment and society. This responsibility covers the entire value chain, of which the supplier stage represents a key link. Volvo Cars' values, such as human rights and good terms of employment, are therefore emphasized as clear requirements on the suppliers and are included in the company’s purchasing terms.
Code of Conduct
Volvo Cars expects that all business contacts and commercial partners should be governed by the same principals stipulated in the company's Code of Conduct.
"We want to conduct a serious and ethical business. A positive added value is that good working conditions lead to a more reliable and efficient supply chain," says Kristina Ek Blohm, CSR Manager in Purchasing.
Volvo Cars supports the UN Global Compact, which is an initiative for companies that want to take responsibility for the environment and social matters, aiming for sustainable development.
Quality assurance in all phases
The requirements on quality, product development, cost efficiency, delivery capacity and environmental care are high. Volvo Cars Quality through Excellence Award (VQE Award) is the status that Volvo Cars wants all suppliers to achieve in order to meet the company’s high standards. Fundamental requirements include environmental certification according to ISO 14001 and quality certification pursuant to ISO TS 16949. VQE also comprises quality assurance of suppliers’ manufacturing processes, working environment and monitoring suppliers’ quality and delivery performance.
The best suppliers are invited to participate in Volvo Cars Award of Excellence. The objective is to reward above-average efforts and encourage further improvements. Winners are named in each of the categories CSR, technology, quality and cost-efficiency. In 2011, the CSR category was won by Bridge of Weir, which supplies Volvo Cars with leather for upholstery and interior parts.
In 2011, a new supplier portal was launched that improves the efficiency of the communication between Volvo Cars and the suppliers. Here, the suppliers find information on methods of working, purchasing conditions and operating requirements, as well as requirements and guidelines in the areas of the environment and social responsibility. The portal also has a news tool that rapidly conveys news and important information.
Training with a local connection
Volvo Cars supports the suppliers in exercising deliberate and responsible management and, in cooperation with other automotive companies, offers global supplier training in business ethics, working conditions and environmental responsibility. The purpose is to highlight the value of good working conditions and also to clarify Volvo Cars' expectations of suppliers. In 2011, training was held in Turkey and India and in 2012, training will be held in Mexico and China.
"We link the training programmes to local conditions and local legislation, which makes them concrete and directly applicable to the daily work. This also reflects the positive feedback we have had from the participants," says Kristina Ek Blohm.
Volvo Cars also participates in an international network that develops a common view of the working conditions in the supply chain.
Long-term cooperation with suppliers worldwide is of major importance for Volvo Cars' success. Currently, some 400 business partners supply car components and approximately an additional 3,300 suppliers provide Volvo Cars with other products and services.