SBB joined Railsponsible as 8th member companySBB_POS_2F_CMYK_100

With the beginning of 2017, the Swiss railway company decided to become part of the Railsponsible initiative. We have reached out to Fabian Scherer, Sustainability Project Manager at SBB, to discuss the company’s move. Read the interview below.

When and how did you get aware of the Railsponsible?

As a member of International Union of Railways (UIC), we have heard about Railsponsible. However, as a supplier of Deutsche Bahn (DB), a Railsponsible founding member, we have got invited to fill out the EcoVadis questionnaire. The enclosed letter from DB explained their effort in sustainable supply chain management and announced their involvement in Railsponsible. This was the first time we had a closer look into Railsponsible.

What are the reasons behind SBB joining the initiative? What are you trying to achieve?

SBB strategic goal is to achieve a more sustainable supply chain while mitigating risks and driving innovation. Last year, we created a roadmap for sustainable procurement and focus areas of activity were defined. SBB’s sustainable supply chain strategy, to be implemented within 2020, aims at sustainability integration into the whole process from the specification of the procurement needs to the procurement process and supplier review.
Every company on a similar path faces similar problems. Consequently, an exchange of knowledge can be very beneficial for all parties involved and synergies can be leveraged. Railsponsible covers all these needs with a diverse member base from rail operators to component suppliers. SBB is only one link in the supply chain and consequently needs to join forces with others to push the topic forward. Through the initiative, we aim to learn from others and to take advantage of synergies to bring sustainability into our whole value chain.

What do you see as most interesting features of this industry collaboration?

The variety of members from a railway operator to the spare parts manufacturer. The different view point allows a constructive and effective solution process for matters that impact the whole supply chain.

How do you integrate sustainability considerations into your procurement strategy?

Sustainability considerations are already taken into account when specifying the service or product and more broadly at the level of the procurement strategy. These specifications are later translated into the tender criteria. Depending on the item to be purchased and the risk connected with it, more detailed criteria are then defined. Once the contract is awarded to the supplier, the sustainable supplier assessment is initiated and working areas might be defined with the supplier.

If you project yourself five years from now, how do you think Railsponsible will look like?

Our vision of success is that Railsponsible establishes itself as a key player for sustainable procurement for rail operators and their suppliers. In particular we believe that with the implementation of the Railsponsible strategy the collaborative materials and tools that will be created over the next five years will be key to enable the whole industry to increase its social and ecological efforts.

Thank you very much for your time, Fabian.