In order to enhance sustainability within the supply chains of the Chemical Industry, the Together for Sustainability(TfS)Initiative was founded in 2011.

SAFEGUARDS | Supply Chain Assessments & Solutions NO. 163/18

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In order to enhance sustainability within the supply chains of the Chemical Industry, the Together for Sustainability(TfS)Initiative was founded in 2011 by the Chief Procurement Officers of six multinational chemical companies, BASF, Bayer, Evonik Industries, Henkel, Lanxess and Solvay.The TfS Initiative now counts 22 members. Since the start of the TfS initiative, more than 10,000 sustainability evaluations have been conducted under the TfS program.

1. What is Together for Sustainability?

  • TfS is a global not-for-profit chemical industry association based in Brussels.   
  • The purpose of TfS is to drive and foster resilience, efficiency, and sustainability of global supply chains in the chemical industry.
  • TfS aims to build the industry’s standard for sustainable supply chains.                                                               
  • As of Nov 2018, it consists of 23 member companies:

Together for Sustainability 23 Member Companies 

2. What are the benefits for suppliers to participate in the TfS program

  • Avoid double audits and assessments.
  • Improve and assure quality of assessment and audit results.
  • Sharing of assessment and audit results with multiple customers on one platform.
  • High quality through selected and qualified partners.
  • Engaging with customers on sustainability requirements and challenges.
  • Building up long-term business relationships with customers.
  • Lowering risks in relation to sustainability requirements.
  • Knowing sustainability performance allows to improve performance.

3. What are the detailed topics covered by a TfS audit?

The TfS audit covers the following sustainability topics, the details are as follows:

SGS CRS SafeGuardS 16318 Figure 2

4. What’s the audit scope covered by a TfS audit?

  • The standards are the same for all suppliers and applicable no matter where they are located.
  • A TfS Audit typically covers a clearly defined supplier location or legal entity. In some cases, the physical inspection can be specific to a plant/related infrastructure within the supplier location, for example a production plant or warehouse location. The location which is to be in scope of the audit must be agreed between the supplier and TfS member prior to the audit taking place and clearly defined by the supplier in the SFC and subsequently by the auditor in the TfS Audit Report.
  • The TfS Audit Report must contain an explanation which parts of the supplier site are not included and why the audit excludes these parts (e.g. low sustainability risk profile, different location, unforeseen circumstances leading to a limited audit time, access denied by supplier).

5. What type of Audit is a TfS Audit?

  • A TfS Audit is not a certification scheme or a pass-or-fail exercise; instead, it is a starting point for implementing sustainability improvements.
  • All TfS audits are announced audits. It includes an initial audit, and depending on the type of findings, a follow-up (either on-site inspection or document review) as well as a re-audit

6. What is the TfS audit process?

SGS CRS SafeGuardS 16318 Figure 3

1) TfS Awareness: TfS Member invites the supplier to conduct a TfS audit and raises awareness about sustainability management and the TfS process

2) TfS Audit preparation: Supplier prepares audit affairs, such as contacts audit firm, sets audit date, signs Data Sharing Agreement etc.

3) Audit Execution (Opening meeting, Site tour, Interviews, Document review, Closing meeting)

4) The TfS Audit Corrective Action Plan (CAP) is defined by the supplier and the audit company

5) TfS Audit report sharing: With the consent of the supplier, the audit report is shared with all the TfS members. The TfS members can engage with the supplier on implementing sustainability improvements.

  • Prepare TfS audit report and send to supplier within 5 working days;
  • Supplier review the report and establish the CAP within 10 days after receiving the report;
  • Send finalized TfS Audit Report and CAP to the TfS Office;
  • TfS conduct Quality review of the report and upload the report on the TfS member platform

6) Follow up audit (in case of major or critical findings) to review progress against the CAP

7. What are the detailed requirements of follow-up actions and timelines?

  • Depending on the audit results, a follow-up by the audit firm may be necessary
  • No or minor findings: The TfS audit report is valid for 36 months
  • Minor findings: Are expected to be closed within 12 months
  • Major/Critical findings: Follow up action within 12 months required
  • If there are still major/critical findings cannot be closed after follow up audit, a re-audit is required within 12 months after the follow up reports.
  • If the audit company cannot confirm the closure of major or critical findings within 12 months after the audit, a re-audit is required within 12 months after the follow up audit;

For further information please access to

For enquiries, please contact:

Becky Zhou
Consumer and Retail
Supply chain Assessments & Solutions (SAS)
Project leader
t: +86-519-85510915

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