Responsible purchasing policy: a cornerstone of CSR

  • CSR


Adopting a responsible procurement policy is an increasingly critical issue for companies, particularly those operating in the real estate sector. Covivio, a major player in the sector, is embracing this approach by integrating sustainability and ethics into its procurement procedures. The Group first rolled out its responsible procurement policy in 2011 to get suppliers and consultants more involved in its sustainable development objectives.

Understanding responsible purchasing: economic and ecological impact

Responsible purchasing focused on balancing economic, environmental, social and ethical issues is vitally important in the real estate sector. It means choosing sustainable materials, working with ethical suppliers and supporting eco-friendly construction practices.

Incorporating responsible purchasing into the real estate sector has a significant impact on sustainable development:

  • Firstly, responsible purchasing promotes the construction of eco-friendly buildings, in line with the circular economy and the construction of low-carbon buildings. For a sector in which buildings account for a significant proportion of greenhouse gas emissions, this is a crucial issue.
  • In addition, it ensures compliance with ethical and environmental standards throughout the supply chain, strengthening corporate social responsibility and supply chain traceability.
  • Finally, this approach stimulates innovation and research into new building materials and technologies, paving the way for more sustainable and competitive real estate solutions.

In this way, responsible purchasing in the real estate sector is not only an ethical choice, but also a driving force towards a more sustainable and resilient future.

Principles and standards: the responsible purchasing regulatory framework

Responsible purchasing is built around fundamental principles such as sustainability, fairness and transparency.

The creation of a responsible purchasing charter provides a frame of reference to guide internal purchasing teams and involve suppliers in Covivio’s CSR commitments. The charter defines the Company’s expectations with regard to its suppliers, as well as its own commitments towards them.

Sustainability means selecting goods and services that minimise environmental impact and preserve natural resources.

Fairness means ensuring respect for human rights and fair working conditions throughout the supply chain.

Transparency requires open and honest communication about purchasing practices in order to build stakeholder trust. These principles are essential for ensuring that purchasing practices are aligned with sustainable development objectives.

In addition to the issues mentioned above, Covivio’s responsible purchasing policy is designed to enable it to meet a wide range of requirements, including those identified through the mapping of purchasing-related risks, those arising from CSR reporting frameworks such as the CSRD (EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive) and those linked to rating agencies.

Covivio’s responsible purchasing policy

Covivio’s supplier assessment process

Covivio, a pioneer among European real estate companies, introduced a comprehensive system for evaluating its suppliers and consultants in 2011.

This system covers the entire supply chain linked to the development and management of its office portfolio in France, as well as the Company’s operating expenses.

The internal system is based on several key elements:

  • an internal responsible purchasing charter signed by suppliers;
  • the inclusion of CSR clauses in supplier contracts in order to promote social responsibility rules and reduce the energy and carbon footprint of its activities, plus a survey questionnaire to gain a better understanding of partners’ CSR profiles;
  • verification of responses to the questionnaire by an independent third-party body, ensuring a legitimate and reliable assessment.

In 2022, Covivio took a step further by joining the EcoVadis platform, renowned for its expertise as an independent third party.

The aim of this collaboration is to extend the scope of assessments to German and Italian suppliers, providing a more comprehensive and international perspective.

The EcoVadis platform offers a number of advantages, including access to centralised, real-time information on a single platform. It also offers sector benchmarks and the support of a network spanning 18 countries, having already assessed 130,000 companies worldwide.

With EcoVadis, Covivio benefits from a comprehensive monitoring service covering the reputation of its suppliers, thereby reinforcing the transparency and reliability of its assessment process. This innovative system is also an essential tool for preventing corruption risks and assessing suppliers in accordance with the French Sapin 2 law, thereby enabling Covivio to align itself with the forthcoming directives relating to the duty of vigilance.

By the end of 2023, after a second year of surveys, 170 French, German and Italian suppliers had been assessed by EcoVadis, in addition to 16 international suppliers (multinationals).

Covivio’s responsible purchasing policy provides the Group with a comprehensive overview of the integrity and ethical credentials of its suppliers and consultants, in line with the highest standards of social responsibility and regulatory compliance.

The importance of working with suppliers

By working with partners aligned with its CSR objectives, Covivio ensures that its supply chain complies with high environmental and social standards.

Purchasing accounts for half of Covivio’s indirect greenhouse gas emissions, whether at the level of its activities or within its corporate scope. In order to achieve its carbon reduction targets, Covivio must actively engage all its partners in its responsible approach.

This approach not only helps Covivio to achieve its CSR objectives, but also contributes to more efficient and sustainable management of its resources, which is fundamental to the long-term success of its real estate projects.

In 2023, for the third consecutive year, Covivio received recognition from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) as a leader in terms of supplier engagement (CDP Supplier Engagement Leader A-List), putting it in the top 8% worldwide in this area. Covivio also obtained a score of 70/100 (Gold level) in its fifth EcoVadis assessment, placing it among the top 7% of companies obtaining Gold level rating from this body. Covivio Immobilien GmbH, which operates the Germany residential business, is currently being assessed by the EcoVadis network of CSR experts.

An important aspect of our collaboration with suppliers also concerns construction site health and safety. Covivio attaches great importance to accident prevention and the well-being of the people working on its building sites. This means ensuring that suppliers implement effective measures to ensure worker health and safety.

Covivio is firmly committed to responsible purchasing, recognising that this has a significant impact not only on its activities, but also on society as a whole. By integrating the principles of sustainability, fairness and respect for the environment into its dealings with suppliers, the Group demonstrates its commitment to business practices that support sustainable development.