From Bronze to Gold Status with DFGE EcoVadis Complete Solution

Customer: Zeppelin Systems

Category: Manufacturing

Date: September 2017

Company Website

Zeppelin Systems GmbH specializes in developing and manufacturing components and systems for handling high-quality bulk materials. They are used worldwide in the chemical, plastics, and rubber and tire industries, as well as the food sector. Zeppelin Systems provides all plant engineering services from a single source, from basic engineering through in-house production of components and control technology to final installation and a comprehensive after-sales service. In addition, the Quality Service division offers quality management services for the aerospace and automotive industries. In the test centers, customers can also test their formulas or perform trials that are designed for plant optimization. Zeppelin Systems GmbH is part of the Zeppelin Group. The Zeppelin Group operates 190 sites around the world. In the 2016 fiscal year, its 7,700 employees generated sales of over 2.36 billion euros.

Zeppelin Systems GmbH asked DFGE for support in participating in EcoVadis and chose DFGE’s service packaged called “EcoVadis Complete”.

“DFGE solution exceeded our expectations. They made sure that we could meet our target in a very short time frame, with professionalism and enthusiasm, and lead us to a gold status on EcoVadis”


A target to achieve

Zeppelin does not view social and environmental commitment as an obligation, but rather as a framework and pre-requisite for ensuring sustainability, its appeal as an employer and lasting business success. This not only means carefully using resources to protect the environment, but also refers to addressing issues, such as the health and occupational safety of employees, the code of business ethics, customer satisfaction and the management culture of the company just to name a few examples. In addition, customers as well as business partners are also increasingly demanding compliance with certain standards.

The aim of Zeppelin Systems was to improve its EcoVadis score to a minimum of 45/100 to meet the own expectations as well as customer requirements.

Given the importance of such request, the Zeppelin team wanted to ensure that the EcoVadis score was met. All subsidiaries and relevant departments of Zeppelin Systems were involved in this project.

However, since the methodology and scoring of EcoVadis are not public, it can be hard to know how to prioritize and how to exactly progress on the improvement actions. For these reasons, the Zeppelin representatives got in touch with the experts at DFGE and asked for help in this process.


A progressive solution

EcoVadis is a sustainability rating platform for global supply chains. Buyers asked the suppliers to be rated. Suppliers have then to fill in a declarative questionnaire, to which they attach various supporting documents such as policies, internal processes, certificates. Then all the documentation is analyzed by EcoVadis experts, under a defined assessment methodology, and scores are made available to supplier and requesting buyers.

First, DFGE conducted a gap analysis for Zeppelin Systems. The team was then aware on which items to focus first. The team, led by the project leader Kristina Carlson, started to drive engagement into Zeppelin

Some weeks later, as the assessment was coming soon, members of Zeppelin wanted to have their new practices approved. They also needed to check that they indeed identified all existing practices inside the company.

They then benefited from DFGE Complete solution. First, all internal experts were contacted to start the data collection during dedicated conference calls. Then, Mrs. Carlson collected all data inside the company, especially in the subsidiaries. More than 150 documents were sent out, which DFGE then checked, analyzing whether they match the EcoVadis requirements or not, in close collaboration with Mrs. Carlson. DFGE also created drafts for documents which were then adapted by Zeppelin. DFGE then filled the questionnaire, reducing the amount of work for Mrs. Carlson who could focus on getting the right data inside the company.


Zeppelin Systems reached a gold status in EcoVadis

The target of 45/100 was largely met since Zeppelin has now a gold status (from 61/100 up to 100/100). Zeppelin Systems was happy about the score, enabling the company to show business partners, employees and public the progress on sustainability.

The EcoVadis rating also fosters the significance and importance of sustainability within the top management and worldwide departments. Mid and long term sustainability activities have always been an inherent part of the corporate strategy – covering the supply chain from procurement to stakeholder relations.

Zeppelin team also appreciated the results, as the score actually reflects the company’s performance. They can now focus on the improvement areas, where the company has not started to implement any practice.

The new scorecard contains many more strengths, and all sub-scores have increased. The scores have also risen as many data from the subsidiaries were included. Zeppelin just needed to be guided on how to justify their practices so that they could be considered valid by EcoVadis.

DFGE wants to thank Zeppelin Systems for such an opportunity. “The key to success relied in the close collaboration between Mrs. Carlson and DFGE representatives. Upon DFGE’s recommendations and review, Mrs. Carlson managed to find the needed documentation, to mobilize the internal network of Zeppelin Systems and to set up improvement areas. We are very happy that we succeeded in guiding a company like Zeppelin in a way that their efforts for sustainability and their performance was rated accurately in sustainability ratings like EcoVadis. We are now more than willing to support Zeppelin Systems in addressing the remaining items, in the long-term,” summarizes Dr.-Ing. Thomas Fleissner, founder and CEO of DFGE.

“We knew that we were doing a quite good job when it comes to environment protection and CSR, but working through complex rating processes like EcoVadis takes a lot of time and requires expertise – we were grateful to have the DFGE experts supporting us and are now more than happy about the new EcoVadis rating,” summarizes Mrs. Kristina Carlson, Controlling & Finance, Zeppelin Systems.

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