EcoVadis: helping companies to rate sustainability in the supply chain
Companies that want to reach their sustainability goals need to address their supply chains as well. With EcoVadis, they have a unique platform to manage sustainability risk in the supply chain, meet their sustainability goals, and improve their sustainability performance year after year.
Just like in many other industries, the carpet industry is upping its game when it comes to making manufacturing operations more sustainable. Unfortunately, that’s only part of the story. According to a McKinsey report, there’s a far bigger challenge with the supply chain. The report says that a typical consumer company’s supply chain accounts for more than 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, compared to its own operations.
When it comes to sustainability, the supply chain often remains a blind spot. Especially in multi-national companies, or companies with many different product lines, it can be hard to track the sustainability performance of so many suppliers.
The question is: how can carpet manufacturers make sense of it all and start to reduce the climate impact significantly by focusing on their supply chains? One way to do that is to rely on third-party sustainability rating platforms, like EcoVadis.
Reliable sustainability ratings for the supply chain
EcoVadis is a global provider of reliable sustainability assessments to requesting companies. Buyers can request their suppliers to undergo the EcoVadis assessment by sending them an invitation, after which they receive notifications on the process and results. EcoVadis also helps rated businesses to assess, benchmark and improve their sustainability performance. As one of the world’s largest providers of business sustainability ratings, EcoVadis has been able to create a global network of more than 100,000 rated companies and organizations.
Companies are rated based on thorough source analysis and customized questionnaires. The ratings cover seven indicators across 21 sustainability criteria, which are grouped into four themes: Environment, Labor and Human Rights, Ethics, and Sustainable Procurement.
The expert analysis will result in a score. If that score is high enough, companies may also receive an EcoVadis medal. No medals are assigned for overall scores below 45 or if there is a theme score that is lower than 20. A company can receive a bronze medal (> 45), silver medal (> 54), gold medal (> 66), or platinum medal (> 73).
Why is EcoVadis rating important?
Why do companies go for an EcoVadis assessment? And what does it mean for buyers?
- First of all, EcoVadis helps rated companies to understand their own sustainability performance in a broad sense. The rating includes environmental impact, labor practices, human rights, ethics and sustainable purchasing.
- The rating helps businesses to benchmark their performance with their industry peers, on a global scale.
- Being rated gives companies a starting point to improve their sustainability performance. Since an EcoVadis rating is only valid for 12 months, companies are forced to be reassessed annually. This gives them an opportunity for continuous improvement.
- By submitting themselves to an EcoVadis assessment, companies offer transparency to their different business partners within the service platform. This is a way to gain credibility, increase trust, and enhance the likelihood of being selected by a buyer.
- Buyers or requesting companies now have a reliable way to assess the sustainability performance of their supply chain partners, which helps them to reach their own net-zero goals.
EcoVadis versus Cradle to Cradle: who does what?
Professional buyers are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of the products or materials they buy. Over the past decade, many eco-labels and standards have tried to offer more clarity and certainty on the choices buyers are making.
When it comes to assessing the supply chain, there’s another standard that approaches and sometimes overlaps the scope of EcoVadis: the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard. As discussed in another post, Cradle to Cradle (C2C) is a science-based, globally recognized product standard for designing products for the circular economy.
Although there may be confusion about which standard does what, EcoVadis and Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard are two distinct sustainability and certification programs.
Here are the key differences between them:
Scope and focus:
- EcoVadis is a sustainability rating and assessment platform that evaluates the overall sustainability performance of companies. EcoVadis is a good way to look at a company’s ‘sustainability maturity’ in a broad sense.
- C2C focuses on assessing and certifying individual products based on their material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. C2C certification is product-specific, rather than company-wide.
- EcoVadis assesses companies based on a wide range of criteria, including environmental impact, labor and human rights, ethics, and sustainable procurement. It provides a holistic view of a company's sustainability performance.
- C2C certification specifically evaluates products based on their materials, design, and manufacturing processes. It looks at how a product is made and its potential for safe and sustainable recycling or upcycling.
The certification process:
- An EcoVadis assessment includes self-assessment, document submission, and verification by EcoVadis experts. There is no audit or on-site verification, only desk review of the submitted documents and questionnaire.
- With C2C, manufacturers submit their products for assessment and certification to an accredited Cradle to Cradle Certification body. Products are rigorously evaluated against specific criteria.
In summary, EcoVadis assesses the sustainability performance of companies as a whole, while the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard certifies individual products based on their design, materials, and manufacturing processes.
EcoVadis for the carpet industry
Both EcoVadis and C2C promote sustainability, but they have different scopes and criteria. This may be confusing. However, a consolidation of standards or labels may materialize in the future, but probably not in the near future.
Today, EcoVadis can definitely serve as a competitive advantage for carpet manufacturers and their supply chain vendors. As the awareness for net-zero goals is increasing, companies will prioritize doing business with companies that have high EcoVadis ratings. EcoVadis assessments can also help companies to identify and address sustainability risks in their supply chains.
Questions about the use of EcoVadis in the carpet industry? Maybe we can help.