Partnering to reach sustainability goals
Compliance to Sandvik’s code of conduct, requiring more recycling and meeting international safety standards are some of the new targets Sandvik will require of its suppliers as the company implements a full life-cycle sustainability program by 2030.
For Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, sustainability doesn’t just mean improving the internal energy efficiency of the company’s internal operations, or reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, or rolling out automated and electric equipment and digitalization in mines, all the while reducing occupational illnesses by half.
The company has also implemented an ambitious 10-year plan that will relentlessly meld together one lifecycle approach requiring suppliers and sub-contractors to step up to the company’s ambitious sustainability targets so that everyone is in step with each other.
Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology requires key suppliers and sub-contractors to follow in the company’s footsteps by cutting their own CO2 footprint in half, improve their circularity by 90 percent, meet Sandvik’s health and safety standards, and comply with the Sandvik Supplier Code of Conduct.
Under Henrik Ager, president of Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology since April 2019, the company has divided its sustainability efforts into four essential areas that are tagged to concrete business goals across the company’s supply chain. Reducing GHG emissions is paramount, as it is for everybody these days. Circularity is best described by Ager himself: “the more material we can reuse, the less we need to create” and the idea is to get key suppliers to do the same or recycle 90 percent of the products they use in their production. Health and safety, or zero harm to people, is obviously a priority, and this is manifested internally in the huge and ongoing development of battery-electric and automated mining equipment currently being tested and rolled out across the world. And lastly is compliance with both the Sandvik Code of Conduct and more generally with the UN’s own sustainability targets.
Uncompromisingly managing the supply chain along these four key sustainability lines isn’t just good for the environment, it is also good for business as customers are requiring the same of Sandvik itself.
“If we start with the basics, our own operations will ensure that we have improvement plans to drive down GHG emissions,” says Ager, who unequivocally equates sustainability with added productivity. “We’ll put this in as an essential criterion when developing new products and solutions to have GHG efficiency and recyclability as essential R&D aspects. [And] we’ll definitely put this in as one of the defining criteria for selecting key suppliers.”
The mission statement puts this into context: “We will lead the shift in our industry and build a successful long-term business that advances the world through engineering. Our aim is to be the innovative business partner for our customers by making sustainability part of every aspect of the business, delivering value for everyone. Our full life-cycle approach means we work relentlessly in our operations, across our supply chain, and through our customer offerings to drive more sustainable, resilient business.”
Sustainability is no doubt a highly complex subject with pitfalls right and left but it is critical to the company’s long-term performance, especially with suppliers, customers and as an employer. It’s more than just wearing a green badge, and it is, as many other companies have discovered, a clear path towards profitability for everyone in the supply chain also.
“Driving productivity and GHG efficiency together is going to be key for us because if we can’t make our customers more productive, we won’t survive. As an employer, we have to show that we approach this very seriously and that we have a plan to become a more sustainable company, helping our customers become more sustainable too so that the whole ecosystem is improved [including suppliers],” Ager says.
Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology’s 10-year plan for suppliers:
- We will require 90 percent circularity for key suppliers.
- We will require our key suppliers’ health and safety improvements plan to meet Sandvik standards.
- All suppliers must be compliant with the Sandvik Supplier Code of Conduct.
And by all accounts, these solutions are popping up more and more, some in the form of smart innovations and some in the form of acquisitions.
The great thing about all these sustainability efforts is that they are not going unnoticed by some of the biggest players in the industry. Customers like Boliden and Anglo American, for instance, not only have in place ambitious sustainability goals like investing in energy efficiency and employee safety but they, in turn, require this of their suppliers too.