1. Strategic Analysis and Action

The company declares whether or not it pursues a sustainability strategy. It explains what concrete measures it is undertaking to operate in compliance with key recognised sector-specific, national and international standards.

In 2018, Sustainability was defined by INPACS shareholders and members as one of five strategic pillars. The starting point for the further specification has been the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), whereby the following six were defined as focus topics:

SDG 5: Promotion of Equal Opportunities for all Genders in Leadership
Gender Balance is a fundamental condition for healthy working environments and successful business. Therefore, we promote equal opportunities for all genders in leadership at all levels of decision-making (cf. criterion 15).

SDG 10: All Employees shall Feel Included and Respectfully Treated
As a worldwide business network Diversity is part of our DNA. All employees irrespective of sex, skin colour, origin, social background, disability, sexual orientation, political or religious beliefs as well as gender or age shall feel included as well as respectfully treated (cf. criterion 15). 

SDG 8: Protect Labour Rights and Safe and Secure Working Environments within our Operations and along the Supply Chain
In line with the INPACS ethical codes we require the protection of labour rights as well as safe and secure working environments for all workers within our operations and along the supply chain (cf. criterion 14 and 17). 

SDG 12: Make a Contribution to the Reduction of Waste Generation; Create Awareness and Inform as well as Encourage all Relevant Actors along the Supply Chain from Product Selection to Disposal
To save resources and emissions, we aim to make a contribution to the reduction of waste generation – and our greatest area of impact is our customer. Therefore, we extended our view on the customers’ value chain to the crucial stage of waste disposal (cf. criterion 12).

SDG 13: Significantly Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions on Local, National and International Level to Combat Climate Change and its Impacts
In order to significantly reduce our climate impact in short-term, we want to create transparency regarding our group-wide footprint and formulate ambitious targets (cf. criterion 13).

SDG 17: Build Partnerships that Support our Engagement for the SDGs
To successfully face global sustainability opportunities as well as challenges and increase our impact with respect to the SDGs, we build effective partnerships with the relevant stakeholders (cf. criterion 9). 

In this context we have committed to making the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact on Human Rights, Labour, Environment and Anti-Corruption part of our strategy, culture and day-to-day operations.
All strategic topics are broken down into concrete objectives mentioned in criterion 3. 
 

2. Materiality

The company discloses the aspects of its business operations that have a significant impact on sustainability issues and what material impact sustainability issues have on its operations. It analyses the positive and negative effects and provides information as to how these insights are integrated into the company’s processes.

As a network with regional, national and international operations that serves customers from all industries, we are directly and indirectly affected by ecological, political and socio-economic developments.
One of the greatest challenges of our time is the impact of global warming and the extinction of species that is threatening the stability of the planetary ecosystem and therefore the humans' livelihood.
The knowledge of the existential importance of these factors has now reached almost all areas of private and public life and is illustrated by the growing product and service requirements of our customers, tougher legislation and our own desire for proactive remedy.

In contrast, the international sale of non-food products for cleaning and hygiene, catering as well as guest amenities, personal protective equipment and medical product ranges is accompanied by a significant environmental impact. Even though our range already includes many environmentally friendly alternatives with appropriate certification (Eco-labels), in the future we will focus on more transparency about relevant environmental factors within our assortment, such as reusability, recyclability, biodegradability and climate-impact, in order to take them into account in our portfolio management and customer consultation as well as to demand manufacturers accordingly.

INPACS takes on great responsibility when making international agreements with suppliers and manufacturers, because these cover a relevant part of members' purchasing and sales activities, worldwide. Furthermore, the expectations of stakeholders - especially customers and consumers - about INPACS' assumption of responsibility along the supply chain are steadily increasing. For this reason, and in order to prevent labour and human rights violations, INPACS has implemented a consequent CSR supplier risk management  (cf. criterion 14 and 17). Besides this, a transparent supply chain offers additional potential in terms of bundling product ranges, influencing manufacturing processes and using alternative raw materials.
 
INPACS unites wholesalers worldwide, involving operations in over 50 countries with over 8.000 employees. To tackle social risks deriving from the responsibility for this international workforce, INPACS has installed a systematic members' CSR evaluation and monitoring (cf. criterion 14, 15 and 17).

Apart from that, INPACS unites a giant knowledge and experience all over the world regarding responsible business practices which is the reason why we have set a focus on reforming knowledge exchange within the network.

All material aspects have been identified in the course of internal discussions on key stakeholder input (cf. criterion 9), a systematic materiality analysis has not taken place.

3. Objectives

The company discloses what qualitative and/or quantitative as well as temporally defined sustainability goals have been set and operationalised and how their level of achievement is monitored.

The recently adopted sustainability strategy (cf. criterion 1) is underpinned by the official framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

In the course of a systematic democratic process with various high level member representatives that came together in the Strategic Working Committee Sustainability in 2019 (cf. criterion 5), six priorities were gradually pointed out as shown below:

Promotion of Equal Opportunities for all Genders in Leadership (SDG 5)
  • Raise status quo through a gender balance survey 2019
  • Conduct interviews with high performance INPACS members in order to identify enabling environments and best practices
  • Build a platform for best practice sharing (cf. criterion 15)
All Employees shall Feel Included and Respectfully Treated (SDG 10)
  • Conduct a global employee survey on a regular basis (cf. criterion 14 and 15)
Protect Labour Rights and Safe and Secure Working Environments within our Operations and along the Supply Chain (SDG 8)
Internally: 
  • Monitoring of accident rates as well as labour and human rights performance of INPACS members using EcoVadis evaluations
  • Obligatory EcoVadis minimum achievement of silver recognition level 54/100 as of 2021
  • Local audit in case of constantly low performance
Along Supply Chain: 
  • Sustainability risk analysis of INPACS suppliers using EcoVadis evaluations 
  • Local factory audit of low performers 
(cf. criterion 14 and 17)

Make a Contribution to the Reduction of Waste Generation; Create Awareness and Inform as well as Encourage all Relevant Actors along the Supply Chain from Product Selection to Disposal (SDG 12)
  • Create a Sustainability Program for our customers including a Sustainability Analysis and Reporting along the customers’ value chain 
  • Develop a sustainable range – both with respect to own and other brands as well as sustainable concepts
  • Initiate a web-based interactive Sustainability Knowledge Platform (cf. criterion 10 and 12)
Significantly Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions on Local, National and International Level to Combat Climate Change and its Impacts (SDG 13)
  • Elaboration of GHG reports by INPACS head office and members
  • Definition of ambitious reduction action plans (cf. criterion 13)
Build Partnerships that Support our Engagement for the SDGs (SDG 17)
  • Build an active partnership programme with the UN
  • Build effective partnerships with the relevant stakeholders that help promoting transparency and sustainability awareness, anticipating respectively contributing to regulation and standards, building independent knowledge as well as improving our sustainability performance (cf. criterion 9)
Overall, SDG 8 and 12 received the most votes, because apparently these two are the biggest levers for creating sustainable impact within our business.

The INPACS sustainability department is responsible for regular reviewing and benchmarking the progress of the implementation of the strategic goals.

4. Depth of the Value Chain

The company states what significance aspects of sustainability have for added value and how deep in the value chain the sustainability criteria are verified.

Being an international organisation that has strategically committed to sustainability (cf. criterion 1), INPACS addresses various aspects of sustainability along the value chain:

Product Management
The decisions of the product management and purchasing team as well as the waste management at the customers' site have a crucial impact on the disposal and recycling of the materials used and a significant environmental impact. Therefore, circular considerations are integrated in the decision-making processes of the product management and purchasing as well as customer consultancy. Our range already includes many environmentally friendly alternatives with appropriate certification (Eco-labels), but in the future we will focus on more transparency about relevant environmental factors within our assortment and foster range expansion regarding reusability, recyclability, biodegradability and a minimum climate-impact.

Procurement 
From the cooperation with suppliers and manufacturers on a global scale derive social and environmental responsibility regarding the production of the traded goods. This responsibility is formalised in the Supplier Code of Conduct, which defines the basic principles and requirements that INPACS places upon its suppliers regarding obligations to humans and the environment. Compliance with the Supplier Code of Conduct is measured using EcoVadis. EcoVadis is an independent platform for recording, evaluating and disclosing the sustainability performance of companies in the fields of environment, labour & human rights, ethics and sustainable procurement. Our suppliers are on an obligatory base asked to create respective transparency on their performance. In case of uncertainty regarding conformity, a personal inspection will take place. The results are integrated into the supplier dialogue in order to promote a cooperative improvement of sustainability performance.

Business Development 
With regard to the wholesale operations in over 35 countries, the task is not just to guide the development and growth path for the INPACS members, but to support them in pursuing the group-wide strategy including sustainability as one strategic pillar. The formal basis for common social, environmental and ethical standards is recorded in the Company Policy and the Code of Ethics. Compliance with these Ethical Codes is also measured using EcoVadis, whereby from 2021 on all INPACS members are on an obligatory base asked to create transparency on their performance in the above mentioned fields. In case of constantly low performance, a local audit will take place.

Sales
The strategic course on sustainability shapes the dialogue with the customers more and more. The advice on procurement optimization with cost-saving effects has now been supplemented by recommendations on product substitutions for more ecological alternatives, order bundling for more greenhouse gas-efficient delivery and waste management in the sense of promoting circular economy.

Key Performance Indicators to criteria 1 to 4