Linde works with suppliers in more than one hundred countries. The main items procured include energy, gas cylinders and valves, tanks, tank equipment, IT products, a range of services, machinery and other components.
We purchase the major share of these products and services locally in the country in which they are required. This saves the need for additional transportation with its ensuing environmental emissions. Our collaboration with local companies also allows us to strengthen local economies.
Standards for the selection of suppliers
When selecting suppliers, apart from aspects such as quality, price and availability, we also take other sustainability aspects into account, such as environmental protection, social responsibility and business integrity. Our Code of Ethics requires Linde employees to maintain fair and honest working relationships with suppliers. At the same time, we expect our suppliers to adhere to environmental and social standards, as well as to compliance requirements. These expectations are set out in our Code of Conduct for Suppliers. Suppliers are also required to promote the minimum standards set out in our Code of Conduct for Suppliers at their own subsuppliers. The Code of Conduct for Suppliers is part of our contractual agreement with suppliers worldwide.
For activities in specified areas, Linde has also set out additional requirements for suppliers. One of these areas concerns construction sites. Contractors working on Linde's behalf have to appoint safety officers and conduct daily checks to ensure that standards are adhered to.
In some regions, Linde also increasingly considers aspects of diversity in supplier selection, for example regarding a supplier’s origin and personnel structure.
We use various tools and measures to select and evaluate our suppliers, such as supplier self-assessments on quality management as well as safety, environmental protection, compliance and labour standards. If necessary we also use audits to check whether suppliers are meeting our requirements. To this end, we have among others developed a corporate responsibility module for quality audits.
In 2014, we also conducted a risk analysis for our supply chain. The analysis included country risks and product-specific risks and allows us to focus our monitoring activities more strongly on suppliers with high sustainability risks.
Breaches of laws and Linde guidelines can among others be reported using the Linde Integrity Line. This system ensures the systematic investigation of any suspected violations relating to the supply chain. If misconduct is identified, Linde works with the suppliers in question to define specific improvement measures, which are then followed up on after a set period of time. Serious breaches and the refusal to remedy violations can also result in the termination of a supplier contract.
Linde includes contractors in its environmental and safety management system. One example is the driver safety training we provide to the contractors who transport Linde gases. Another focus area for our cooperation with suppliers is the reduction of fuel and CO2 emissions associated with transportation.
Responsibility along the value chain
Highlighted: Areas of the value chain relating to the issues covered on this page