Maersk : survey to ensure responsable procurement

Recently Maersk Line sent a questionnaire to all of its product and service providers, including the Port of Montreal.

Renata Frolova, Head of Responsable Procurement,
Maersk Group Procurement

The survey is part of having all of Maersk Group’s businesses adhere to the same code of conduct when it comes to procurement. The goal is not only to achieve the lowest possible costs, but to build sustainable, value-creating relationships with suppliers of benefit to both sides.

“Throughout all aspects of our vessel and shore operations, Maersk is committed to conducting our business in a responsible, lawful manner with respect for the wider economic, social and environmental impacts of our activities,” says Signe Bruun Jensen, Head of Sustainability at Maersk Line.

PortInfo had other questions for Renata Frolova, Head of Responsible Procurement, Maersk Group Procurement.

Why was this questionnaire devised?

The questionnaire enables Maersk to understand to what extend our suppliers integrate sustainability principles into their business practices. The requirements are listed in the Maersk Third Party Code of Conduct, and the questionnaire is a reflection of these requirements. It is devised into sections to address anti-corruption, labour, human rights, health, safety and environment, and subcontractor management. The overall governance model of this practice is referred to as Responsible Procurement, and all the business units work with their suppliers to gain transparency over sustainability in terms of procurement.

To whom do you send the questionnaire?

The questionnaire is sent to the suppliers that Maersk Line selects to be part of its Responsible Procurement program. These are significant suppliers, and suppliers of high-risk products and services.

What do the questions cover?

The questions cover the anti-corruption, labour, human rights, health, safety and environment, and subcontractor policies, practices and procedures of the supplier. The Maersk Responsible Procurement team reviews the answers and supporting documents, and provides the supplier with an overview of where existing practices are not up to scuff and what improvements should be made.

How else is the information being used?

Maersk uses the information to understand which suppliers have good practices, which suppliers need to improve some of their practices, as well as to get a better overview of the issues in different categories of purchase. The suppliers that need to improve then prepare an improvement plan. We share the stories of successful progress in our internal and external publications – one being the Maersk Group’s Sustainability Report in which Responsible Procurement has a chapter.

Could you describe the impact you believe this questionnaire and its results will have?

The impact is measured in the value of mainstreaming the good practices and improvement plans. In general, we expect our suppliers will take the work further within their own supply chain.

Is there anything of particular benefit or surprise that you’ve already learnt from this exercise?

Gaining an overview of the suppliers’ practices is of great value to our company, and we have been positively surprised by the interest and positive attitude with which most suppliers approach Responsible Procurement. Many have introduced new improvements to existing policies and practices, and some have even composed their own code of conduct.

What is Maersk’s overall goal for responsible procurement?

It is to minimize as much as possible the environmental impact of our direct suppliers by working closely with them with that goal always in mind.

How does this questionnaire fit into the bigger picture of Maersk’s sustainability vision, goals and policies?

The Responsible Procurement Program is a reflection of Maersk standards applied towards our suppliers. It supports our overall sustainability efforts to unlock growth by creating shared value for suppliers and Maersk.