ArcelorMittal is one of the leading suppliers to the railway industry worldwide. We also play a leading role in customer sustainability assurance schemes. So when rail industry stakeholders decided to start a new sustainable procurement initiative called Railsponsible to improve sustainability, we were keen to be a part of it.

In 2017, ArcelorMittal received a Gold award from the EcoVadis sustainability ratings platform used by Railsponsible, confirming that we’re an exemplary supplier to the railway sector.

A coalition for change
Railsponsible is a sustainable supply chain programme founded in 2014 by Europe’s largest railway companies and BSR, a global non-profit organisation. It aims to use its influence over the sector’s global supply chain to make sure suppliers are meeting important environmental and social standards. It also wants to become a reference initiative for the entire industry; and in 2017 it joined the UNEP’s ten-year framework programme on sustainable public procurement.

Railsponsible is supported by EcoVadis, the first independent collaborative sustainability ratings platform enabling all suppliers to be assessed using the same process. By May 2017, the programme had assessed 550 suppliers of everything from locomotives and rolling stock to computer programming and, of course, steel. And by the end of the year, nine railway companies were taking part.

Using the EcoVadis platform, Railsponsible looks at company performance across 21 criteria under four themes: environment, labour practices, fair business practices and sustainable procurement. It doesn’t just consider suppliers’ own submitted answers and materials, but also looks at publicly available information and news about suppliers’ operations. This methodology is built on internationally recognised sustainability standards, including the United Nations Global Compact, ISO 26000 and the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative).

Railsponsible also develops joint programmes with industry suppliers to address some of the main issues the supply chain is facing, such as climate change and safety.

ArcelorMittal awarded first class
Reassuring our customers about our sustainability standards is central to how we work. So we’ve been participating in EcoVadis rankings for many years – and were involved in Railsponsible from the start. In 2017, we were ranked in the top 5% of suppliers with a gold rating. In three out of the four areas, we’re either at or above the benchmark – and we’re taking steps to improve our performance in all areas. For example, we’re innovating to reduce dust emissions and are making major investments in environmental technology in Spain and Poland.

What’s perhaps been most valuable about Railsponsible is the dialogue it’s opened with our customers and the trust it’s helping us to establish around our working practices – key to achieving our Sustainable Development Outcome 7, supply chains that our customers trust. The programme includes an interactive corrective action plan tool shared between suppliers and buyers. This encourages complete transparency around the steps we’re taking to improve our practices across the board – and particularly in the areas where we’re not yet top of the class.

“We’re proud to support Railsponsible’s vision for a responsible rail industry, and welcome the efforts to harmonise its approach to responsible procurement. As a major supplier to the rail industry, we’re keen to collaborate with our customers to improve their confidence in sustainability standards in their supply chain.”

Victor Pineiro Ruiz, Chief Marketing Officer – Rails, ArcelorMittal Europe - Long Products