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Stakeholder engagement

Our operations in Hoboken and Pforzheim successfully passed an independent audit and were certified as “conflict-free smelters” in 2013.

Sustainable supply chain

Umicore’s commitment to its suppliers in terms of conduct and practices is outlined in the Sustainable Procurement Charter. In return Umicore requests that suppliers adhere to specific standards in terms of environmental stewardship, labour practices and human rights, business integrity and supply chain engagement.

Umicore’s Purchasing & Transportation function was selected as the most appropriate entity in Umicore to carry out the first phase of intensive and systematic application of the charter. This process provided experience and learning to help the business units in their application of the charter.

In the course of 2013, our regional procurement centres continued to select key suppliers based on criteria such as size, geographical location and type of product or service provided (including whether critical to the functioning of a Umicore entity). Several business units also defined their key suppliers and asked the selected suppliers to acknowledge the principles of the Sustainable Procurement Charter (‘the charter’).

The companies selected by the regional procurement centres included many suppliers of goods and services and some suppliers of raw materials (eg.metals). In total, 671 suppliers have now been selected, compared to 642 at the end of 2012. By the end of 2013, 84% of these 671 suppliers had formally acknowledged their adherence to the terms of the charter. In addition the business units selected 396 suppliers, of which 86% had formally acknowledged their adherence to the terms of the charter by the end of 2013. The supplier acknowledgement rate in the business units that sent the request for adherence to the charter is now about the same as that of the regional procurement centres suppliers. The total spend with suppliers who adhered to the charter in 2013 is some € 800 million.

Umicore asked Ecovadis to assess the sustainability performance of 272 of the 1,067 suppliers highlighted above. The selection of those suppliers was made based on a risk assessment carried out by Ecovadis in relation to critical dependency, duration of relationship and spend with these suppliers. The result of the assessment is a score card with an overall score and a score for each of the four sustainability categories: environment, labour, fair business practices and supply chain. The scores ranged from 1 to 10 with 1 representing a high risk regarding sustainability issues.

Of the 272 selected suppliers, 57 suppliers did not respond to the questionnaire. Of the 215 received score cards, 152 companies had a score of 3 or 4, meaning that they have taken basic steps on sustainability issues. Only 4 companies had a score equal to or below 2, representing a high risk regarding sustainability issues. 55 companies scored, overall, higher than 4, meaning that they have “an appropriate sustainability management system” and 4 companies scored higher, showing advance practices on sustainability. As to the average score in each category, the suppliers attained the highest average score in environment, while scoring the lowest in promoting sustainability in their own supply chain.

The Umicore Group has been assessed by Ecovadis and was scored 6.7, which classifies the company in the advanced category with a “structured and proactive CSR approach, engagements / policies and tangible actions on major issues with detailed implementation information and significant CSR reporting on actions & performance indicators”.

In the course of 2013 several business units launched a program with low-scoring suppliers to develop an action plan for improvement. With regard to the regional procurement centres, a number of improvement plans were put into action with suppliers to the Belgian, Brazilian and French regional procurement centres.

In order to increase awareness of sustainable procurement within the company a web-based learning tool was made available on the newly-deployed My Campus platform in 2013. In 2013, 337 people participated in this e-learning module. In Brazil, a specific training programme was deployed over 11 on-site learning sessions. This resulted in 122 employees being trained on sustainable procurement.

In 2012 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a final rule on conflict minerals based on section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act. This rule obliges US stock listed companies to declare whether the tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold in their products have originated from the Democratic Republic of Congo or an adjoining country. While Umicore is not itself subject to the reporting requirements of Dodd-Frank, we use the above rulings as a guideline for our business. In this regard, our Precious Metals Refining operations in Hoboken and Guarulhos successfully passed an independent audit and were certified as "conflict-free smelters" in 2013 for their operations of the previous year by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) - see news items here. The Jewellery & Industrial Metals operations in Pforzheim and Bangkok were certified as part of the Responsible Jewellery Council’s (RJC) Chain of Custody programme for three years. Similar independent audits are either underway or scheduled at two other Umicore operations.

In addition to existing policies and charters such as the Umicore Code of Conduct, Human Rights Policy and Sustainable Procurement Charter, in 2013 Umicore published a specific policy regarding "Responsible global supply chain of minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas”.