Vodafone embeds purpose commitments in its supply chain

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Vodafone Group has announced that they will evaluate suppliers on their commitments to diversity, inclusion and the environment when they tender for new work.

From October 2020, a supplier’s ‘purpose’ will account for 20% of the evaluation criteria for a ‘Request For Quotation’ (RFQ) to provide Vodafone with products or services.

Suppliers will be assessed on their commitment and performance to diversity & inclusion, the environment and health & safety in categories where it is a risk.

Vodafone Group CFO, Margherita Della Valle, commented on the announcement: “We want Vodafone’s supply chain partners to be aligned with and support our desire to build a resilient, sustainable and inclusive digital society.

“From October 2020, we are evolving our vendor assessment criteria to give significant weighting to our suppliers’ commitments on diversity, inclusion and the environment.

“We will be providing practical support for our smaller suppliers, providing help and tools to ensure that vendors of all sizes have the opportunity to align with our purpose when we consider them for contracts.”

For new tenders, suppliers will be asked to demonstrate policies and procedures that support diversity in the workplace, including gender, ethnicity, LGBT+, age and disability criteria.

This will include policies on equal pay, and whether suppliers have publicly reported targets in relation to the percentage of female employees company-wide and at senior management levels.

The RFQ process will examine whether suppliers have environmental policies to address carbon reduction, renewable energy, plastic reduction, circular economy and product lifecycle.

Vodafone will ask suppliers whether they publicly report their carbon emissions to CDP, a global organisation that supports companies to identify and disclose their environmental impact.

Vodafone will also examine supplier commitments to a Science Based Target for carbon emission reductions, whether they plan to use renewable energy, or can demonstrate a Life Cycle Assessment for their products and services.

On tenders where health and safety issues are in scope, such as high-risk work, this will account for 10%, and diversity & inclusion and environmental criteria will account for 5% each.

In July 2020, Vodafone concluded two pilots for major tenders with global, local and SME suppliers, confirming that the revised vendor selection criteria successfully favour those with the highest commitment and action on diversity and the environment.

To allow SMEs and smaller, local companies to compete against larger corporations, Vodafone will introduce positive scoring for that group of suppliers if they commit to introducing policies that align with Vodafone’s purpose.

The Group will also support SMEs through their hub, containing guidance, tools, templates and training.