EcoVadis Assessment Tips: 6 Helpful Things We Learned

Sustainability

Recently we had a productive meeting with an EcoVadis analyst, alongside one of our clients. The meeting provided valuable EcoVadis assessment tips. Here’s a detailed breakdown from our Founder, Lindsay Hampson, with help from our Associate, Aashita Shah, to help you with your submission and improve your company’s score.

EcoVadis Assessment Tips

Understanding the four main areas covered by these EcoVadis assessment tips

EcoVadis supplier assessments are divided into four primary sections:

  1. Environmental
  2. Labour and Human Rights
  3. Ethics
  4. Sustainable Procurement

Each area requires a focus on policies, endorsements, measures, certifications, coverage, and reporting. This blog explains how to tackle each component effectively. If you are ever looking for EcoVadis Certification Consultants, ThisRock would love to assist.

1. EcoVadis Assessment Tip: Policies

Policies are crucial for scoring well. Jump into our EcoVadis assessment tips. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Structure and Format: Follow a policy document format that includes overview, scope, policy ownership, reviews, and main issues. It is important to include all sections and have a flow that feels like your business. Never lie.
  • Key Issues: Identify and focus on the issues deemed “key” by EcoVadis for your business. Have both qualitative and quantitative targets for each key issue (e.g., reduce paper waste by 5% from baseline year to 2026).
  • Coverage: Address more than 67% of the key issues to achieve a good score.

Creating a comprehensive and well-structured policy is the foundation of a successful EcoVadis assessment. Policies need to be clear, detailed, and aligned with your company’s specific context. Here’s a deeper dive into the best practices for policy development:

  1. Clarity and Specificity: Your policies should be specific and clear. Vague policies can lead to lower scores as they don’t provide concrete actions or commitments. For instance, instead of stating a general commitment to environmental sustainability, specify actions like “reduce GHG emissions by 10% by 2025 through energy efficiency initiatives.”
  2. Relevance to Key Issues: EcoVadis identifies certain key issues for each business based on its industry and operations. Focus your policies on these key issues. For example, if water usage is identified as a key issue, your policy should include specific targets and actions to manage and reduce water consumption.
  3. Measurable Targets: Include both qualitative and quantitative targets in your policies. Quantitative targets, such as reducing waste by a certain percentage, provide clear metrics for success. Qualitative targets, like improving employee awareness about sustainability, complement these metrics.
  4. Regular Review and Update: Policies should not be static documents. Schedule regular reviews to ensure they remain relevant and effective. Update them based on new insights, regulatory changes, and feedback from stakeholders.

2. EcoVadis Assessment Tip: Endorsements

Let’s keep uncovering EcoVadis assessment tips. Endorsements can be a bit inconsistent but are worth considering:

  • Low Points: Often “Endorsements” is a low-scoring area, but it’s still valuable to include if you can.
  • Suggestions: Include endorsements like Canada’s Net Zero Challenge, which are low effort but beneficial. Avoid time-consuming endorsements unless necessary.

While endorsements may not carry as many points as other sections, they are still a valuable component of your EcoVadis assessment. Endorsements demonstrate your company’s commitment to broader sustainability goals and initiatives. Here’s how to effectively incorporate endorsements into your strategy:

  1. Strategic Selection: Choose endorsements that align with your company’s values and sustainability goals. For instance, endorsing the UN Global Compact can show your commitment to achieving sustainability across the business, which is increasingly important in the global sustainability landscape.
  2. Cost and Effort Consideration: Prioritize endorsements that are low cost and require minimal effort but still provide value. Some endorsements can be time-consuming and may not be necessary if other more relevant endorsements are available.
  3. Demonstrate Commitment: Use endorsements to demonstrate your company’s commitment to sustainability. Highlight these endorsements in your communications and reports to show stakeholders that your company is aligned with global sustainability initiatives.
  4. Leverage Endorsements for Improvement: Use the resources and guidelines provided by endorsement organizations to improve your sustainability practices. For example, many endorsements come with best practice guidelines that can help you enhance your sustainability efforts.

3. EcoVadis Assessment Tip: Measures

Measures are pivotal for medium to high points:

  • Develop and Describe: Create at least four well-described measures for each key issue. A measure is not a data point! A measure is an initiative or action.
  • Examples: Include specific actions like energy consumption reduction (e.g., installing new machines) and training awareness programs with detailed documentation.

Measures are the concrete actions your company takes to address key sustainability issues. Developing robust measures is crucial for a strong EcoVadis assessment. Here’s how to ensure your measures are effective:

  1. Actionable and Specific: Each measure should be actionable and specific. For instance, instead of a general measure to “reduce energy consumption,” specify that you will “install energy-efficient lighting across all facilities by Q4 2024.”
  2. Documentation: Provide detailed documentation for each measure. This includes descriptions of the actions taken, timelines, and the impact. For example, document the installation of new machines, the expected energy savings, and the baseline energy consumption levels.
  3. Training and Awareness: Measures should include training and awareness programs. For example, conduct regular training sessions on sustainability practices for employees. Document these sessions with details such as the number of participants, topics covered, and feedback received.
  4. Risk Assessments: Include risk assessments as part of your measures. For example, conduct a risk assessment for potential ethical issues like corruption. Document the assessment process, identified risks, and mitigation strategies. Regularly review and update these assessments to ensure they remain relevant.

4. EcoVadis Assessment Tip: Certifications

Certifications are more critical for larger companies:

  • ISO Standards: Aim for certifications like ISO 14001 for all locations. We stressed “all” locations, as the reach matters if you have 100 locations, for example. ISO 14001 overs one location only.
  • Documentation: Maintain a table showing certifications by location, training details, etc.

Certifications validate your company’s sustainability efforts and demonstrate compliance with recognized standards. Here’s how to effectively manage certifications:

  1. Relevant Standards: Obtain certifications that are relevant to your industry and sustainability goals. For example, ISO 14001 is widely recognized for environmental management, while ISO 45001 focuses on occupational health and safety.
  2. Comprehensive Coverage: Aim to certify all your locations. This demonstrates a company-wide commitment to sustainability. Maintain detailed records of certifications, including the scope, validity period, and any renewal dates.
  3. Integration with Policies and Measures: Ensure that your certifications are integrated with your policies and measures. For example, if you have an ISO 14001 certification, align your environmental policies and measures with the requirements of this standard.
  4. Regular Audits: Conduct regular internal and external audits to maintain your certifications. Use audit findings to improve your sustainability practices and ensure continuous compliance with certification standards.

5. EcoVadis Assessment Tip: Coverage

Coverage is vital for larger businesses:

  • Actions by Location: Document actions by locations and people, such as training attendance and content.
  • Detailed Records: Keep detailed records in spreadsheets, showing proof of training and certifications.

Coverage refers to the extent to which your sustainability actions and certifications apply across your organization. From our EcoVadis assessment tips, here’s how to effectively manage coverage:

  1. Location-Specific Actions: Document sustainability actions taken at each location. For example, record the number of employees who attended environmental training at each site, the training content, and the outcomes.
  2. Comprehensive Records: Maintain comprehensive records in spreadsheets, detailing actions, certifications, and training across all locations. Include information such as the number of employees trained, the dates of training sessions, and the specific content covered.
  3. Proof and Documentation: Ensure you have proof to support your coverage claims. This includes certificates, attendance records, and training materials. Provide detailed documentation to demonstrate the implementation and impact of your actions.
  4. Regular Updates: Regularly update your coverage records to reflect new actions, certifications, and training. This ensures that your data is current and accurately represents your sustainability efforts.

6. EcoVadis Assessment Tip: Reporting

Reporting carries medium to high points:

  • Indicators and Results: Clearly explain your business’s physical locations and report on all key issues.
  • Evidence and Documentation: Ensure data is recent (within two years) and covers a minimum of 12 months. Use spreadsheets to consolidate data, backed by proof.
  • Stakeholder Availability: Make sure your data is readily available for stakeholders, adhering to the 80-20 rule for site evidence.

Effective reporting is crucial for demonstrating your sustainability efforts and achieving a high EcoVadis score. Here’s how to optimize your reporting process:

  1. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Define clear KPIs for each key issue. For example, set targets for energy consumption reduction, waste management, and employee training. Track these KPIs over time to measure progress and identify areas for improvement.
  2. Detailed Documentation: Maintain detailed documentation for all reported data. This includes baseline data, current performance, and any supporting evidence. For example, document energy consumption data with monthly records, invoices, and meter readings.
  3. Consolidated Reports: Use spreadsheets to consolidate data from all locations. Create tables and charts to visualize performance trends and highlight key achievements. Ensure that reports are easy to understand and provide a comprehensive overview of your sustainability efforts.
  4. Stakeholder Communication: Make your reports readily available to stakeholders. This includes employees, customers, investors, and regulatory bodies. Use multiple channels, such as company websites, newsletters, and sustainability reports, to share your performance and progress.
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Overall EcoVadis Assessment Tips from ThisRock

The key takeaway from our experience is that activated issue criteria matter the most. Here are some additional EcoVadis assessment tips and additional insights:

  • Scoring Realities: No organization scores 100% on their first or second try; expect scores around 20-50% initially.
  • Process and Practice: Achieving sustainability across all areas takes time and effort. Policies need refining, new measures need implementing, actions must be taken, certifications earned, reporting set up, and people trained.
  • Experience Matters: Following EcoVadis guidelines is challenging, requiring practice and experience to master.

Tips for Post-Assessment

Once you receive your scorecard, here are some EcoVadis assessment tips and steps to improve:

  • Review and Plan: Spend an hour reviewing your scorecard, noting rejected documents and key issues.
  • Action Items: Build a sheet with high and medium corrective action items, assign owners and deadlines.
  • Monthly Meetings: Meet monthly to update your Plan Due Action sheet. Have 1 main owner per action.
  • Collaborative Reviews: Ensure at least 3-4 people contribute to the questionnaire review and uploads, preventing siloed work and improving submission quality.

Navigating our EcoVadis assessment tips will help you work in an informed and structured way. We want you to make significant strides in improving your sustainability score and practices. By focusing on key issues, developing clear policies, implementing actionable measures, obtaining relevant certifications, ensuring comprehensive coverage, and maintaining detailed reporting, your company can achieve a high EcoVadis score and demonstrate its commitment to sustainability.

By following these EcoVadis assessment tips, you can enhance your sustainability practices, improve your assessment scores, and contribute to a more sustainable future for your business and the environment.

Contact us today.