Since 2008 AXA works with a third-party (EcoVadis) to implement an in-depth monitoring of its suppliers' social, ethical and environmental practices, thus guaranteeing expertise, transparency and independence of the assessments.

Who is the assessment for?

AXA assesses its major suppliers in terms of spend (spend > €1m) and level of CR stake. Group Procurement has indeed undertaken to identify and map the CR stakes -in terms of risks as well as opportunities- related to each purchasing category. The ensuing "CR Stake matrix" distinguishes three levels of stake: low, medium and high. This is related to environment, social, product and services use impact, supply chain and business integrity.

For example, the combination of these 5 criteria allowed us to identify the "promotional items and gifts" category as one of our category representing the highest level of stake; while the "Software" category has been classified into a low level of stake.

AXA has undertaken to consider the suppliers' CR performance when selecting them. The suppliers' EcoVadis score is meant to be used as a selection criterion, alongside the other usual specifications.

What does the EcoVadis assessment consist in?

EcoVadis provides a document-based audit on four pillars: the environment, labor practices, fair business practices and the supply chain management.

After completing the assessment, the suppliers get access to their scorecard which provides them their CR score, their position regarding their competitors in the same sector, as well as the list of their strengths and ways of improvement. AXA encourages its suppliers to consider the EcoVadis' feedbacks to implement a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) in order to improve their practices.

Today, AXA's supplier's average score exceeds 50/100. Since 2010, about 70% of the reassessed suppliers have enhanced their score; they improved it by an average of almost 7 points.

The suppliers' onsite audits

AXA has also undertaken to audit a selection of CR lower-performing suppliers through a third-party, based on the SMETA methodology. The objective of these on-site audits is to assist the suppliers to enhance their CR practices by getting them more involved and providing ways of improvement.

This action takes part of our risk management program; approximately ten suppliers are planned to be audited by the end of 2014.