Supplier Sustainability Assessments: Using EcoVadis to Report on Performance

Guidance on how to streamline your EcoVadis response and maximize your score.

As supplier sustainability evaluation tools proliferate, WSP is being asked more and more which tools and frameworks to use and the reasons why. EcoVadis is one tool that can be used by customers to assess their supply chain and by suppliers to report on their environmental, social and governmental performance. This post will focus on suppliers responding to EcoVadis.

What is EcoVadis?

EcoVadis is a global reporting platform allowing suppliers to provide information on corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance to customers who request it. Through the platform, requesting


Figure 1. Annual EcoVadis reporting cycle

customers can solicit many types of CSR information from its suppliers. During each annual reporting period, EcoVadis generates a customized questionnaire based on the supplier’s sector, scores each response, summarizes corrective actions and creates a CSR performance scorecard that requesting customers can access. EcoVadis provides a platform for suppliers to report, understand, and improve CSR performance as well as sharing  results with multiple customers.

EcoVadis envisions “a world where businesses are measured and rewarded as much by their sustainability as by financial or other measures, have a transparent view of its impact around the globe, and are enriching their communities, growing ethically, without causing any undue harm.”

Why respond?

Responding to EcoVadis can 1) increase your organization’s transparency to customers; 2) provide a platform to investigate and manage CSR issues internally; and 3) help your organization explore opportunities available to increase efficiency and reduce cost.

The EcoVadis methodology includes 21 criteria across four key themes—environment, ethics and fair business practices, fair labor practices and supply chain. Scores range from 1 – 100 for each of the four themes. EcoVadis provides scores, strength and improvement areas, benchmarking comparisons with peers and collaborative tools for working with customers. Additionally, EcoVadis offers recognition for leading CSR performance, which can be shared publicly in the form of Gold, Silver and Bronze ratings badges.

Getting started

To streamline reporting, we recommend the following:

  • Plan for iterative internal engagement. It may take several internal conversations until you find those with the specific knowledge to answer each of EcoVadis’ questions.
  • Consider EcoVadis as a project. Identify a project manager who can prepare a strategy and work plan, establish regularly scheduled status meetings and enforce project milestones to ensure you submit by the deadline.
  • Do your homework. Log into the EcoVadis portal and download your organization’s customized questions. Review each question and determine if the metric or answer is already reported elsewhere, such as on your website or in your CSR report.
  • Leverage EcoVadis guidance. EcoVadis offers tools to help you improve your organization’s score. After submission, your scorecard will include a Corrective Action Plan (CAP), which lists prioritized potential areas of improvement. While information published in your CAP will not impact your current scorecard results, you can update this information in your next assessment.

Maximizing your score

There are a few key points to scoring well on EcoVadis that apply to all questions:

  • Any document that was created or uploaded more than five years ago should be updated and uploaded. EcoVadis considers documents more than five years old to be “too old”. These documents will not be evaluated or considered documentation.            
  • Any data, metrics or KPIs that are more than two years old should be updated. EcoVadis considers data, metrics and KPIs more than two years old to be “too old”. These data/metrics/KPIs will not be evaluated or considered.                       
  • There is a limit of 55 documents per reporting period. Uploading each document only once will help avoid issues with the document limit. After a document has been uploaded, it can be linked to any other question that requires the same documentation.
  • EcoVadis does not require that all documents are shared with customers. Users can select which documents to share and which not to share. If you do not select “share”, that document will be reviewed by EcoVadis, but not shared with customers. This may allow sensitive documents to be uploaded confidentially if it provides further evidence for the response.
  • List the starting page number for all documentation. If the entire document applies, we recommend stating this in the notes section. If multiple pages apply, list the first page in the page number box and list additional pages in the notes section.

What’s next

Completing the EcoVadis response is a great step for any organization interested in informing its customers about its CSR practices. This disclosure encourages transparency and provides information to customers about your organization’s CSR performance. Answering the questionnaire will help your organization identify areas for improvement in your CSR program, which you can use as a roadmap for your organization’s future efforts.

For additional information on supplier sustainability assessments, contact Kealy Herman.


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