Covestro Group at a Glance

Sustainability in the Supply Chain

Covestro regards adherence to sustainability standards within the supply chain as a fundamental factor in value creation and an important lever for minimizing risks. Working conditions and health effects on workers in the supply chain are particularly important to us, which is why they are a focus of our cross-divisional Human Rights Task Force. In addition, both current and new Covestro suppliers must meet not only economic standards but also social, ethical, and environmental standards as well as those related to corporate responsibility. All required standards are defined in Covestro’s Supplier Code of Conduct, the basis for our collaboration with suppliers; the Code is available online in 13 languages. The Code is derived from the principles of the and our Corporate Commitment on human rights. It is integrated into the electronic ordering systems and contracts across the Covestro Group. New and renewed supply agreements in particular generally contain special clauses requesting that suppliers adhere to the sustainability requirements outlined in the Code of Conduct and entitling Covestro to verify compliance.

Covestro has set ambitious measurable targets through 2025 aimed at systematically promoting sustainability in supplier management. All suppliers must comply with our code of conduct, which they commit to by accepting the conditions of our purchase orders or contracts. In addition, relevant suppliers* with a regular purchasing value exceeding €100,000 per year are assessed. In the year under review, around 93% (previous year: 95%) of our total purchasing value was attributable to these target-relevant suppliers. They comply with Covestro’s sustainability requirements by meeting the minimum result as defined by us in the supplier evaluations described below. In addition, we work closely with our strategically most important suppliers to improve their sustainability performance. We have also incorporated this approach into our sustainability goals.

* Because integration of the systems of the acquired Resins & Functional Materials (RFM) business is ongoing, RFM’s procurement volume was included only in part in determining the target-relevant suppliers for fiscal 2021. Only the year 2021 was considered for RFM’s procurement volume.

Evaluation Methods and Processes of the Together for Sustainability (TfS) Initiative

Covestro is a member of AISBL, Brussels (Belgium), a joint initiative undertaken by the chemical industry that now includes 34 companies. This nonprofit organization pursues the goal of establishing a program of global standards for responsibly sourcing goods and services and standardizing supplier evaluation methods worldwide. Covestro supports all criteria by the TfS initiative concerning the areas of ethics, labor & human rights, health and safety, and the environment.

As a member of TfS, Covestro is responsible for monitoring and auditing the sustainability performance of its suppliers. TfS supports this effort by providing the infrastructure for online assessments and on-site audits of suppliers by third parties. The results of these supplier evaluations can be shared via an online platform. During the reporting year, Covestro once again played an active role in all TfS work streams in designing and improving the program and the associated evaluation process.

In order to avoid duplication of audits, increase acceptance by suppliers and save resources, TfS and the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) have entered into a partnership aiming to work jointly on audits of logistics service providers in particular. Cefic uses the SQAS (Safety & Quality Assessment for Sustainability) system for this purpose, a standardized assessment process for European logistics service providers and chemicals distributors that covers quality, safety, environmental, Responsible Care, and corporate social responsibility criteria. The SQAS reports prepared by Cefic are recognized by TfS as equivalent to a TfS audit report.

Using a standardized TfS assessment process, Covestro evaluates whether the suppliers maintain the required sustainability standards. A structured prioritization process is then carried out to select the suppliers to be evaluated and either an online assessment or an on-site audit initiated for these suppliers – provided that there are no current results. In prioritizing the suppliers for these evaluations, Covestro considers a combination of country and commodity risks. The risk assessment for country and material groups that we use for our risk analysis is based on recognized external sources.

 SAS (EcoVadis), Paris (France), an established external provider accredited by TfS, conducts the online assessments. It evaluates the degree to which suppliers’ business practices are aligned with sustainability principles. The questionnaire suppliers complete for the online assessment is based on internationally recognized sustainability standards and includes 21 sustainability criteria grouped into the categories of environmental protection, labor and human rights, ethics, and sustainable procurement. The section on sustainable procurement also inquires about the extent to which the sustainability standards of upstream suppliers are considered. Certain suppliers that do not engage in wholesale trade and do not employ more than 25 people receive an abbreviated questionnaire that does not address the topic of sustainable procurement.

The questionnaire is dynamically adapted by EcoVadis depending on factors such as the industrial sector, company size, and country risk. Suppliers must document their responses to the questionnaire with corresponding supporting documents. The EcoVadis analysts assess supplier responses and supporting documents under consideration of international standards, such as the UN Global Compact, and consolidate the data into a scorecard available online that shows results by category. This scorecard information includes a detailed overview of identified strengths and areas for improvement as well as a weighted overall result for the suppliers analyzed.

External, independent auditors trained and accredited by TfS or Cefic conduct on-site audits of selected companies – and follow-up audits, if necessary, based on defined sustainability criteria. For the purpose of monitoring the quality of the audits, the initiating TfS member takes part in audits selected on a random basis and evaluates them using a standardized checklist.

Covestro analyzes and documents the online assessments and on-site audits. The number of supplier evaluations conducted and the overall results are reviewed regularly and reported to the Chief Technology Officer. In the event of noncompliance with our sustainability requirements, we work with suppliers to define specific improvement measures and corresponding targets, and Covestro constantly verifies the implementation of the required improvements.

Due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic and its effects on our suppliers, the number of supplier evaluations conducted was down slightly from the previous year, totaling 807 in the reporting year (previous year: 846).

Key data from the sustainability evaluations of Covestro’s suppliers1











Supplier evaluations conducted in the reporting year





of which through online assessments





of which through on-site audits





Total supplier evaluations conducted





of which through online assessments





of which through on-site audits






Online assessments (conducted by external, independent, TfS-accredited provider EcoVadis) and on-site audits (conducted by external, independent, TfS- or Cefic-accredited auditors) of Covestro’s suppliers, both initiated by Covestro and shared within the TfS initiative, are taken into account. Only assessments of our active suppliers that are no more than three years old are included.

Supplier Evaluation Results*

At the end of fiscal 2021, the number of supplier evaluations whose results met our sustainability requirements amounted to 1,211 (previous year: 1,204). Of these supplier assessments, 861 involved our target-relevant suppliers, who account for 80% (previous year: 79) of our target-relevant purchasing value. Furthermore, 61 of our target-relevant suppliers who underwent a repeat assessment in fiscal 2021 have improved compared with their previous results.


Our supplier management goal (graphic)

Status 2021


of suppliers

All of our suppliers with regular purchasing volumes of more than €100,000 per year are expected to comply with our sustainability requirements by 2025.

In the year 2021, assessment results considered critical by Covestro were identified for seven target-relevant suppliers (previous year: nine); that is, these suppliers failed to meet the required minimum result by a significant margin. Covestro responds to such infractions with specific action plans and demands that the suppliers in question implement appropriate corrective measures; supplier assessments will be conducted in future to verify compliance.

The share of online assessments in which suppliers met the minimum result we defined –45 out of 100 possible points – was 77% for the online assessments conducted in the year under review (previous year: 71%). Thanks to our joint efforts toward continually improving our sustainability performance, the results of the online assessments improved year over year.

* The results provided by the external providers EcoVadis SAS and Together for Sustainability AISBL as well as the European Chemical Industry Council, AISBL (Cefic) were not subject to the audit by KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft.

Overall results of the online assessments completed in the reporting year

Overall results of the online assessments completed in the reporting year (bar chart)

The share of on-site audits in which suppliers met the minimum result we defined –45 out of 100 possible points – was 100% for the on-site audits conducted in the year under review (previous year: 100%).

None of the supplier assessments conducted revealed any indication of child or forced labor. In addition, Covestro had no cause to terminate a supplier relationship in the reporting year or in the previous year solely on account of an externally determined result or a serious sustainability deficit, e.g., human rights violations like child labor or forced labor.

Worldwide Supplier Evaluations through the TfS Initiative*

Since the start of the TfS industry initiative in the year 2011, the now 34 members of TfS have evaluated the sustainability performance of a total of 16,083 suppliers through online assessments and have performed 2,518 on-site supplier audits.

All of the results from the online assessments and on-site audits are available to members of the initiative on an online platform, thereby enabling continual monitoring of suppliers with a view to improvements. The TfS initiative also benefits suppliers because their standardized evaluations can be viewed by all TfS members. This means they do not have to complete multiple evaluation surveys by various (potential) customers.

In fiscal 2021, TfS members conducted a total of 5,817 online assessments and 284 on-site audits across the globe.

The TfS initiative celebrated its 10th anniversary in September 2021. In addition to a review of the milestones and success stories of previous years, the future of TfS and trends and issues relating to sustainable supply chains and companies in the next 10 years were also discussed.

Detailed Results of the Supplier Evaluations*

We regularly analyze the results of the online assessments in the areas of environment, labor and human rights, ethics, and sustainable procurement. The results of the assessments carried out in the previous year and the reporting year are summarized in the following chart:

Detailed results of the online assessments completed in the reporting year

Detailed results of the online assessments completed in the reporting year (bar chart)

The detailed results in all areas indicate a positive trend (increased share of online assessments reaching a score of 45 or higher).

In analyzing the supplier evaluations for the year 2021, we identified deviations from our sustainability requirements in all listed areas. This was due to factors including missing documentation of policies and measures relating to waste management, water management, and energy, as well as a lack of occupational safety measures such as a failure to install signage at emergency exits or exceeding the weekly working hours according to the TfS standard. 

Procurement of Key Products

In fiscal 2021, the procurement spending of Covestro’s main sites in Germany, the United States, and China accounted for 76% of Covestro’s global spending. Most of this amount –82% – went to local suppliers in the individual countries.

* The results provided by the external providers  SAS and Together for Sustainability AISBL as well as the European Chemical Industry Council, AISBL (Cefic) were not subject to the audit by KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft.

Conflict Minerals

The Dodd-Frank Act in the United States obligates companies to disclose the origin of certain raw materials to prevent that so-called “conflict minerals” such as tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold (3TG) from the Democratic Republic of Congo or neighboring states enter their products through the supply chain. European Union Regulation (EU) 2017/821, which entered into force on January 1, 2021, stipulates an expanded duty for companies to perform human rights for the 3TG that includes all global conflict and high-risk regions.

Using a structured survey process, we verify that our suppliers and their upstream suppliers are only obtaining materials which do not originate from conflict regions. Confirmations are documented centrally in the respective material/supplier combinations in our database.

Our requirements regarding conflict minerals are clearly communicated in our Supplier Code of Conduct. Covestro has obtained confirmations of compliance as regards conflict minerals from 100% of the suppliers from whom it actively purchases and who were identified as potentially affected by this issue. We update a list of potentially affected suppliers on an ongoing basis, and monitor the validity of all existing supplier confirmations. To date, there have been no critical results and no need for action regarding this issue.

Sustainability Training and Dialogue

For Covestro, it is important for our own procurement staff, in particular, to have a comprehensive understanding of the significance of sustainability in the supply chain. Awareness of this issue was raised among employees again in fiscal 2021 in company-wide sustainability training plus region- and country-specific training on evaluation methods and processes.

During the reporting year, we continued to promote the implementation of four strategic principles in procurement (reliability, sustainability, cost transformation, and innovation). Moreover, our regional program management in the , , and regions is working on permanently improving our sustainability program.

Dialogue and close collaboration are essential in enabling suppliers to successfully comply with Covestro’s sustainability requirements. We therefore offer our suppliers a range of opportunities for training and dialogue. This provides the foundation for building reliable relationships and enables us to identify and eliminate issues at an early stage. Continually improving our suppliers’ sustainability performance is a priority for Covestro and is supported by the TfS initiative, which regularly organizes supplier days and promotes further training, among other activities. TfS provides a wide range of information materials and various online training courses on its website. In fiscal 2021, nine online courses were offered in various languages.

UN Global Compact
The world’s largest responsible corporate governance initiative. The member companies undertake to implement ten universal principles and regularly document their progress.
TfS/Together for Sustainability
An initiative undertaken by various companies in the chemical industry to standardize supplier assessments globally in order to improve sustainability practices in the supply chain.
TfS/Together for Sustainability
An initiative undertaken by various companies in the chemical industry to standardize supplier assessments globally in order to improve sustainability practices in the supply chain.
Rating agency that evaluates the degree to which supplier business practices are aligned with sustainability principles.
Rating agency that evaluates the degree to which supplier business practices are aligned with sustainability principles.
Due diligence
Information on the processes for identifying, preventing, and mitigating the actual or possible negative impact on nonfinancial factors.
Comprises all countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America (excluding Mexico).
Region comprising Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
Comprises all countries in the Asia and Pacific region.