Supply chain FAQ

Supply Chain

Supply chain management

What is Syngenta's supply chain management approach?

We strive for an end-to-end integrated approach to designing and operating our supply chains that combines our own internal manufacturing network with an extensive supplier base to ensure our supply chain objectives match our commercial product strategies. The products and services we procure from suppliers are divided into two categories:

  • Direct - the supply of all materials that are required in the manufacture or supply of the products we sell
  • Indirect – the goods and services that are required to support our operations (including professional services, information systems, marketing, engineering, waste and utilities

Clear policies define the principles that guide all our procurement activities around the world. Our objectives are to ensure that goods and services are acquired under the best conditions to support our business and that our high standards on corporate responsibility are met.

We ensure that our suppliers, and Syngenta employees engaging with suppliers, understand the high standards we expect on issues such as labor practices, business ethics, health, safety and environment as set out in our Code of Conduct. We monitor and audit our suppliers' performance to ensure compliance with our standards and identify opportunities for improvement. Employees engaging with suppliers undergo training on ethical procurement practices as well as specific training on topics such as fraud awareness.

Our aim is for Syngenta to be the customer of choice for our key suppliers. We use our assessment processes and regular, open dialogue with suppliers to help us develop strong positive relationships in the market place.

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How do you identify and manage your key suppliers?

Our supplier relationship management (SRM) approach enables us to manage suppliers effectively, promoting strong governance practices, while enabling us to focus on our most critical suppliers to maximize value and reduce risks in our supply chain.

The SRM approach encompasses a clear strategy and process, defined supplier segmentation, clear roles and accountabilities, effective tools and resources, and a commitment to continuous improvement from Syngenta and our suppliers. It enables us to identify our most important suppliers from a supply chain that includes more than 1,000 global tier 1 suppliers for active ingredients, raw materials, intermediates and co-formulants.

The process begins with an analysis of our supplier base using filters such as spend, business impact, and single source situations. To segment and identify key suppliers each organization is then rated on a number of criteria such as technical fit, operational fit, location, health, safety, environmental and quality (HSEQ) standards, financial health of the organization, strategic alignment with our business, trust, and people retention and management.

We establish continuous improvement plans and risk management dashboards for all key suppliers, as well as providing additional management support where appropriate, such as assignment of supplier leads and key account managers. Additional support for suppliers can include HSE training or upstream sourcing assistance.

Syngenta benefits from strong relationships with key suppliers and we often strive to form strategic partnerships with suppliers for multiple sourcing projects.

How does Syngenta manage risk in its supply chain?

We use a number of tools to manage risks in the various tiers of our supply chain. These instruments allow us to assess risks associated with individual suppliers and with the sourcing of individual products. A view of the risks per supply chain is considered in some detail in order that appropriate mitigation actions can be put into place.

Does Syngenta consider environmental and social aspects in its supply chain management approach?

Choosing responsible partners to work with is part of our commitment to be a responsible business. We set global requirements for suppliers on health, safety, environment, labor and human rights, and we carry out rigorous assessments and audits to monitor compliance and drive improvement.

We expect our suppliers to uphold the standards set out in our Code of Conduct. This sets out clear expectations on environmental and social requirements. Our procurement policies ensure that these principles are put into practice across our supplier base. Suppliers are required to achieve compliance either by demonstrating that they have a binding document in place comparable to the Syngenta Code of Conduct or by making our Code of Conduct part of the contractual agreement.

We also expect all suppliers to uphold our minimum requirements on labor standards.

Read our Annual Review (p. 20) and (p. 40) to find out more about managing corporate responsibility in our supply chain.

Is the environment and social performance of suppliers assessed?

We have a long tradition of assessing suppliers’ environmental and social performance and working with them to improve standards. In 2015, we joined the Together for Sustainability (TfS) initiative. The TfS members work jointly on supplier audits and assessments on health, safety and the environment, as well as social and ethical issues. The TfS framework supports the principles of the UN Global Compact, responsible Care and the International Labor Organization. By auditing together, TfS enables us to focus on raising standards for our suppliers with greater efficiency.

We also conduct additional, more in depth audits focused on health, safety and environment (HSE) audits at selected chemical suppliers and formulation, fill and packaging suppliers. Sites are selected for audits based on a number of criteria - including the strategic importance and any likely risks associated with that site. Suppliers are rated on their performance and receive recommendations detailing any areas for improvement. We only work with a supplier once a minimum HSE standard is achieved, and failure to make improvements can lead to the cancellation of any contractual arrangements.

In China and in India, we have recently launched our Process Safety Management Program. The program involves training and auditing of key chemical suppliers handling high hazard products or processes, with a focus on driving their capability improvement in this critical area.

Audits are also completed at warehouse and logistics service providers. These sites are selected based on HSE record, hazard of materials to be stored or transported, and their importance to our business. The audits are carried out by an independent, competent professional against the standards defined in Syngenta's codes of practice. Gaps are identified and if required an action plan is put in place.

We also monitor our seed supply farms to ensure compliance with labor standards (see the questions below for more detail).

Read more in our Annual Review (p. 55)

How does Syngenta ensure seed quality?

Syngenta tests physiological and seed health aspects relevant to the crop and legal requirements. The rules of the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) and the rules of the Association of Official Seed Analysts (AOSA) for North America are the general guidelines for physiological testing. For seed health the appropriate standards are the National Seed Health System (NSHS; USA), NAKTUINBOUW (European accreditation body) and the standards of the International Seed Health Initiative (ISHI).

Where a country of sale has no specific requirements, Syngenta adheres to internal test protocols as a minimum standard. These protocols are defined in our Quality Management System that covers all activities to direct, control and coordinate quality standards. The rules set forth are translated into our work instructions and procedures for testing and ensuring seed quality. The quality of our products gives confidence to our customers, builds reputation and enables our business growth.

How does Syngenta ensure labor standards are respected at seed supply farms?

The Syngenta Code of Conduct sets out our commitment to build and maintain trust in Syngenta and to integrate our business, social and environmental responsibilities into everything we do. We expect our seed suppliers to live up to the same standards we set ourselves. In The Good Growth Plan, we have committed to look after every worker by striving for fair labor conditions throughout our entire supply chain network by 2020.

The Syngenta Fair Labor Program helps to further strengthening our relationship with our seed growing partners. The program promotes decent working conditions related to health and safety, child labor, employment relationship, compensation, working hours, freedom of association and collective bargaining, harassment and abuse, forced labor and nondiscrimination. The program is well established in Asia Pacific and Latin America, covering about 80% of our total seed supply network, and currently expanding to the remaining regions.

We work with the Fair Labor Association (FLA), which provides independent assurance that the processes associated with our Syngenta Fair Labor Program are robust and comply with their standards of fair labor and responsible sourcing. To provide this assurance, FLA representatives visit farms, review documentation and interview workers. Each visit lasts approximately three days and is undertaken during peak production periods when the risk of non-compliance is greatest.

Read more in our Annual Review (p. 20)

Does Syngenta file the Conflict Mineral Disclosure (Form SD) to the SEC?

Yes, Syngenta files the "Form SD: Specialized Disclosure Report on Conflict Minerals". The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)'s conflict minerals rule, mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, requires public companies to disclose whether they use conflict minerals (tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold) and whether the minerals originated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or adjoining countries – called "covered countries". The rule responds to concerns that conflict minerals mined in the covered countries help finance armed groups that are responsible for violence in those countries. Starting in 2014, companies are required to file the Form SD and, if required, a Conflict Minerals Report to the SEC by May 31 of every year.

Following the initial Reasonable Country of Origin Inquiry, which was designed to conform with guidance provided by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), we confirm annually whether there are any changes to our suppliers with respect to Conflict Minerals sourcing. Syngenta concluded that it has no reason to believe that any Conflict Minerals in its supply chain have originated in the covered countries. More information about the inquiry process, results and next steps can be found in the annual specialized disclosure reports: Form SD 2015, Form SD 2014 and Form SD 2013.

Customer relationship management

What is Syngenta approach to customer relationship management?

We put the grower at the heart of everything we do. We look at business decisions and processes through their eyes, enabling us to respond to the needs of our customers. Our approach to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is established globally and delivered locally within each country by our commercial teams – this provides consistency for our customers and ensures our vision is translated effectively into all of our customer interactions.

There are a number of key considerations that steer our CRM activities – all are focused on identifying customer needs and adding value through the products and services we provide. We look at what the market requires and, in particular, what growers and their customers need and demand. We strive to find innovative ways to engage with customers to respond quickly with information and robust solutions. We aim to drive efficiency by working collaboratively with partners that can bring added value.

Does Syngenta conduct customer satisfaction surveys?

Customer satisfaction is important to us and we gather feedback directly from growers in all regions where we operate. We monitor a number of different metrics but focus on overall satisfaction at regional or country level to understand how well our products and services are received.

What product information does Syngenta provide its customers?

We provide a wide variety of information to our customers. Our products often differ by country and we adapt our approach to respond to local needs and requirements. Country websites provide extensive product information including our Material Safety Data Sheets (see US and UK examples). Through their daily interactions with customers, our sales teams also provide product information and advice on benefits and safe use and can learn about the challenges they are facing. We also have call centers to provide our customers with easy, toll-free access to comprehensive advice about our entire product range.

Security management

How does Syngenta define security risk?

We make it a priority to create an environment where employees feel secure, have peace of mind and can perform at their best. Security risks include risks to the security of our people, assets, products, and information. We manage these risks through:

  • People protection – we take steps to protect employees by advising them of significant security risks when they are working or traveling, particularly in high-risk countries.

  • Product security – we protect our products by enhancing confidence in them and taking action against infringers, so as to sustain our market share and brand reputation.

  • Asset protection – we protect Syngenta's physical assets and critical third party locations against internal and external threats such as burglary, robbery, theft, and sabotage.

  • Information security – we regard information as a key corporate asset that must be protected against theft, misuse, leakage and loss, in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.

Does Syngenta have a security policy?

Our Security Policy defines the basic principles of Syngenta's approach to security. It sets out our expectations for the company and defines what managers and employees need to do to meet them. Our aim is to minimize internal and external security risks associated with all company activities, from product invention to delivery and beyond.

A number of detailed Security Code of Practice documents support the policy. Through these we provide further detail on specific security requirements for our people, assets, products and information.

We comply with laws and regulations and seek to fully consider security in all activities through effective risk management. Our aim is to create a security-conscious culture in which all employees take personal responsibility for preventing security incidents. We rigorously and ethically investigate all security incidents.

What are Syngenta's security practices?

Our security practices are developed and implemented using an approach based on intelligence and risk assessment. We make security a key consideration in our everyday work to help us manage continually changing risks.

As a global organization, we are exposed to a significant and complex range of potential risks – from cybercrime to conflicts arising from political instability. We aim to proactively assess, identify and address emerging security risks before they become an issue.

Our security processes focus on sites with potential risk exposures for people, products, assets and/or information. These sites include production, R&D or commercial facilities, and are evaluated to determine the level of security risk and any mitigation measures needed. Our security processes also extend to third-party supplier sites and warehouses.

We have set clear responsibilities for employees, managers and security professionals. Employees must act responsibly to minimize security risks to our people, assets, products and information. Managers are accountable for the security in their area of responsibility and are expected to lead by example. Our team of security professionals define, maintain, deploy, support and monitor security practices at both corporate and local levels.

How does Syngenta measure its security performance?

Under our Security 360° program, we undertake security assessments across strategically important sites. We monitor the results of these assessments and publish performance annually through our Annual Report. If required, Security Improvement Action Plans are developed. The implementation of these plans is then monitored and reported internally through a defined process to mitigate the identified risks.

Counterfeiting of our products can be hazardous to users, the public and the environment. We track and externally report the number of product security cases and the tonnes of suspect crop protection and seed product seized by authorities.

Read more in our Annual Review (p. 42)

Does Syngenta use armed guards at any of its sites?

The majority of our security personnel are unarmed – in accordance with the identified level of risk. However, we maintain armed security personnel in a small number of sites globally where security risks have been identified as particularly high due to frequent instances of violent crime or terrorism, or where this is legally required. Our primary focus is always the safety of our people. The arming of security officers follows well-defined rules, governed by a Corporate Security Code of Practice written in line with recognized best practice in the field of security management and human rights, and in accordance with local law.

Does Syngenta train security staff on human rights?

Our Corporate Security teams have been trained on potential human rights concerns and best practices related to security management and key international human rights codes – including international humanitarian laws, the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.

We employ third party security service providers at around 160 of our sites. All of them have to meet our requirements on human rights, and all new contracts include a requirement to operate in accordance with the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers, to which many of our contractors are already signatories.

We conduct risk assessments at all sites employing armed security officers to confirm whether carrying of arms is appropriate.

Has Syngenta signed up to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights?

Membership of the Voluntary Principles Initiative is restricted to the extractive sector – including oil, gas and mining. Although companies in our sector are unable to sign-up to this, we use the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights as an important reference document. It is used by Syngenta Security Management to help ensure that third party security services act in accordance with best practice.

What is Syngenta’s position on the occurrences at its former R&D site in Cascavel?

In 2007, a former Syngenta R&D site in Cascavel (Brazil) was illegally occupied by several hundred protesters. A confrontation occurred when a number of guards employed by the security company returned to the site without Syngenta’s authorization several hours after the illegal occupation began, tragically resulting in the fatalities of a guard and a protester.

We regret the incident and condemn the use of violence. Syngenta is not responsible for the confrontation which occurred at the site or the ensuing events and was exonerated of criminal liability in the police investigation and action by the public prosecutor which followed the events. We fundamentally disagree with the recent decision by the first level Civil Court of Cascavel upholding claims for damages against Syngenta by the family of the protestor who died and by a second protestor who was injured during the confrontation and we have appealed this decision.

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