As a follow-up to a 1999 baseline study, Nokia Mobile Phones conducted a new study on the environmental performance of its suppliers in 2001. Nokia's supplier requirements, including environmental requirements, had been revised in 2000. The 2001 study had three targets:
Follow-up on the 1999 study.
Inform suppliers of the revised supplier requirements.
Ascertain how well suppliers were meeting these requirements.
The study was conducted in the form of self-assessment. The suppliers were sent a questionnaire based on the revised environmental requirements. As a result, the questions were not 100% consistent with the 1999 questions, but as every question had an equivalent in the 1999 questionnaire, the replies were comparable.
Many Suppliers Met 1999 Commitments
The response to those questions, which remained the same were very encouraging. In 1999, 30% of all Nokia Mobile Phones suppliers had a certified environmental management system and 74% of the rest indicated that they would achieve the certification in two years' time. That would total up to 82% in 2001. In 2001, 66% of suppliers already had a certified EMS and 87% of those that had not achieved it yet said that they had plans to certify within two years.
Overall, there was evidence of great improvement, although not all promises had been fulfilled within the estimated time-frames.
Other parts of the questionnaire dealt with environmental policy, environmental criteria set by the supplier for their suppliers, and the existence of a documented design system accommodating environmental aspects. Replies in all these areas showed a major improvement compared with the 1999 study; in some supplier categories the amount of companies implementing environmental practices had doubled during these past two years.
Material Declarations a Challenge
The question that proved the most interesting was: "Is your company prepared to declare the material content of products delivered to Nokia?" In 1999, 87% of suppliers had answered yes, but in the new study the number had dropped to 76%.
In the final analysis this was considered the most promising result. It showed that the suppliers had really understood what was required and still such a large amount were prepared to comply with the request. And even if 24% of the suppliers had answered that they were not prepared to declare the material content, in practice no one has so far declined if so asked.
Encouraging Results Mean Continuing Cooperation
All in all the response to the questionnaire showed that the level of environmental activity at our suppliers has increased markedly during the two years between these two studies. The companies have understood that environmental requirements are a part of everyday business and are willing to do their best.
Some suppliers have approached Nokia to make sure that they have understood the requirements properly and Nokia specialists have given them environmental training when requested. This ensures continuous improvement and reliability of results.