Umicore is a publicly listed company. As such, we interact with many parties who have an interest in the way we conduct business. The relationship that we foster with these parties or stakeholders has a direct impact on our success. Stakeholder engagement at Umicore is based on a localised approach whereby all sites are required to identify their respective stakeholders and establish suitable ways of engaging with them. In many cases, such as the dialogue with customers and suppliers, the stakeholder relationships are primarily managed by the business units themselves, in line with our decentralised approach to unit management.
Umicore operates through three business groups on 5 continents. These business groups not only require materials to make their products but also energy, transportation and a range of other services. Overall, Umicore has over 18,000 suppliers worldwide. These suppliers benefit from our presence as a customer: in 2018, Umicore paid these suppliers € 8.5 billion (including the metal content of raw materials).
Umicore is engaged in a constant dialogue with its suppliers to define technical specifications and to ensure mutually acceptable terms and conditions for continued partnership, such as prompt and uninterrupted delivery of materials/services and timely payment. The business units are responsible for the purchase of raw materials while the corporate Purchasing and Transportation department works to ensure that transportation, energy and other provisioning needs are met.
Our approach is shaped by our Sustainable Procurement Charter. This charter is complemented by specific approaches or frameworks for some critical raw materials. Our Horizon 2020 strategy includes an objective on sustainable supply that builds on the experience gained through our previous objective on sustainable procurement. For information on the level of achievement against this objective see Value Chain & Society.