Read time: 3 mins
Date posted: Feb 2024
Achieving EcoVadis Platinum: A Guide to Sustainable Excellence in Manufacturing
At a time when environmental awareness is more important than ever, manufacturing companies face the challenge of balancing growth and sustainability. One way of demonstrating a credible commitment to continuous ESG improvement is through regular third-party assessments of a company's overall sustainability performance. We have come to know EcoVadis as a trustworthy partner who both guides and challenges us along the way.
We are delighted to report that GKN Powder Metallugy was recently awarded the EcoVadis Platinum Medal. This is the highest level of assessment, achieved by only 1% of more than 125,000 companies evaluated worldwide each year. This award recognizes our company across all business units with a total of 27 production sites worldwide and acknowledges our progress made in areas such as environment, labour and human rights, ethics and sustainable procurement along the entire supply chain.
By sharing our story, we hope to inspire others to follow suit and encourage a collective effort toward a more sustainable and responsible future.
What it takes to get there
Mastering the assessment process:
Earning the Platinum Medal requires a comprehensive assessment that covers four key pillars: Environment, Labor & Human Rights, Ethics, and Sustainable Procurement. Manufacturing businesses must adopt a holistic approach, addressing these aspects across their entire value chain. The EcoVadis rating is evidence-based and requires companies to provide formalized, recent and pre-existing documentation that is a reliable element of the company's sustainability management system.
Setting and achieving ambitious targets:
To excel in the EcoVadis assessment, manufacturing businesses must set ambitious sustainability targets aligned with global initiatives such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This involves reducing carbon emissions, minimizing waste, ensuring fair labor practices, and promoting ethical business conduct.
- Building a sustainable supply chain:
A significant aspect of the EcoVadis assessment is evaluating a company's supply chain practices. In order to foster a chain of responsible production, it’s important for businesses to collaborate with suppliers, who share their commitment to sustainability. We are committed to the science-based target initiative (SBTi) and have defined a roadmap for short- and long-term targets. This helps us set ambitious emissions reduction targets and to comply with the Paris Agreement to become carbon neutral by 2050.
Transparency & Communication:
Effective communication is key throughout the EcoVadis journey. Transparent reporting on sustainability initiatives, progress, and challenges builds trust with customers and stakeholders. As such, we encourage our local ESG teams to adopt best-practice solutions, share them within the organization, and thus drive standardized improvements at all our locations. One example for this is that each location actively contributes to energy-saving programs that meet the needs of the local communities.
- Compliance & Continuous Improvement:
A commitment to sustainable practices goes beyond compliance. Sustainability is not a one-time achievement; it's an ongoing journey. Manufacturing businesses should view the EcoVadis Platinum Medal as a milestone and continue to seek ways to improve their environmental and social impact. This commitment to continuous improvement demonstrates a genuine dedication to sustainable practices.
Benefits for our customers
Markus Preuss, Global Sustainability Projects Manager, said: "Customers are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on a company's commitment to sustainability. Achieving the EcoVadis Platinum Medal signals to customers that we’re not only producing high-quality products, but also doing so with a keen awareness of our environmental and social footprint. To stay proactive, all our EU sites have been certified by ISO 50001 for several years, showcasing our commitment to energy management and allowing an easy integration with our customers to achieve their goals."
Examples of our energy efficiency initiatives
- Many of our plants around the globe have been running on clean electricity, and we’re proud that our teams have long been investing in energy-saving and energy-efficient tools and processes.
- Our powders plant in Buzau, Romania, is our most recent plant that has been converted to run 100% on clean electricity powered by water since 2022. They also use highly efficient recuperation burners for annealing furnaces.
- Our sinter metals plant in Hortolandia, Brazil has been running on 100% green electricity for over a decade. It also uses waste heat from compressor units to heat up process water for production.
- Our sinter metals plant in Bruneck, Italy, continues to provide heating to their local community with waste heat from sinter furnaces.
- Several of our plants in China, Germany, and India have installed or are in progress to install PV units to collect solar power for electricity.
- In order to improve process efficiency, all our plants have replaced the valves on their high-tech presses with more efficient ones to save energy.
Our journey towards sustainability is ongoing, and the EcoVadis Platinum Award serves as both recognition of our achievements and motivation for continuous improvement. We are excited for the decarbonization of our processes, and we are extremely proud of our teams for pushing the boundaries of what is possible, driving innovation, and making a lasting positive impact on our planet and communities.