BES 6001 – A Giant Leap for Responsible Sourcing
Last week marked the 47th anniversary of the first moon landing, and the scale and audacity of those missions continues to boggle the mind.
Take the Saturn V rocket, for example. Standing at 111 metres, it comprised more than 3 million parts, supplied by over 20,000 contracting companies and making up some 700,000 separate components.
Managing a supply chain on that scale would be unnerving enough, without factoring in the consequences of any faults. It meant that rigorous auditing and testing was required to give NASA supreme confidence in the capabilities of the suppliers. It’s safe to say we aren’t looking to get into space exploration any time soon; however, these principals of supply chain management are just as fundamental to our work, particularly when it comes to ensuring responsible sourcing of materials.
We first began working towards responsible sourcing certification with Arup back in 2009. At that time, our goal was to create a sector specific scheme but the task of tracing chemical materials, across a multi-national supply chain, all the way back to their raw extraction proved a serious stumbling block. It was at that point that we contacted BRE Global to discuss their new responsible sourcing standard: BES 6001.
The standard provided a clear, rigorous framework for both assessing and improving our responsible sourcing processes; requiring annual audits to ensure standards are upheld. It also offered concessions in certain areas to allow us to move past the issues with the prototype sector specific scheme. For example, it was accepted that traceability back to manufacture was a pragmatic solution for commodity traded chemicals.
The assessment is divided into three discrete sections:
- Organisational Management Requirements – covering responsible sourcing policy, legal compliance and quality & supplier management systems
- Supply Chain Management Requirements – covering health & safety and environmental management systems in the supply chain and material traceability through the supply chain
- Environmental and Social Requirements – covering a range of areas such as business ethics, energy & resource usage and the life cycle analysis of our products
As such, the certification provides comprehensive, independent assurance that our products have been produced with constituent materials which meet the highest levels of responsible sourcing practices.
We worked with BRE Global for over three years before beginning the certification proper in 2012. The process included several visits from BRE auditors to our sites in Pembridge and Selby. This allowed them to fully assess, and offer advice on, our responsible sourcing policies and their implementation during the manufacturing process for our Kooltherm, Therma and KoolDuct products.
In 2013, all three product ranges received ‘Very Good’ BES 6001 certification. Two years later, the products became the first insulation materials to achieve the highest level of ‘Excellent’ after our first annual audit under the revised issue 3.0 of BES 6001.
This year we decided to go one step further, recertifying the three original product ranges and expanding the certification process to include our TEK and OPTIM-R ranges. The certificates came through last week and we are extremely pleased; in addition to the Therma, Kooltherm and KoolDuct products all retaining ‘Excellent’ certification, OPTIM-R and TEK achieved ‘Very Good’.
For more detail on our responsible sourcing certification, take a look at the BES 6001 technical bulletin.
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