Sustainability Manager Jonathan Chen explains why we certify the suppliers of ATL.
Amperex Technology Limited (ATL) is one of the biggest global producers of lithium-ion batteries. About half of all the rechargeable smartphone batteries in the world come from ATL. The company’s customers include Apple, Dell, Microsoft and Huawei. ATL’s headquarters are in Hong Kong, and its suppliers are located in China, Japan, Thailand and other countries. Jonathan Chen is the Sustainability Manager and Supply Chain Manager at ATL. He’s responsible for ensuring sustainable and socially acceptable business practices. Chen cooperates regularly with TÜV Rheinland on comprehensive supply chain audits.
Mr. Chen, what are your responsibilities as a sustainability manager?
At ATL I’m mainly responsible for the implementation of our guidelines on corporate social responsibility, or CSR. That means aligning our business operations with socially responsible and environmental standards. To make sure this happens, we have a clear code of conduct for all of our employees and business partners. We’re constantly improving this code. We also commission regular audits of our suppliers.
Which services from TÜV Rheinland does ATL use?
We’ve commissioned TÜV Rheinland to conduct supply chain audits of our suppliers in China. In addition to HSE (Health Safety Environment) and CSR elements, the audits focus especially on environmental sustainability and occupational safety according to standards such as the international environmental management standard ISO 14001 and the requirements of an occupational safety management system according to ISO 45001.
Why did you decide to partner with TÜV Rheinland?
TÜV Rheinland is the only company that offers us the high standard we require. We need to minimize the risk of accidents, guarantee our credibility and conduct absolutely stringent audits of our suppliers. Your company has its own experts who give us professional and targeted support in every one of these areas. That goes not only for the audits themselves but also for the identification and assessment of critical cases that we deal with in the area of risk management — for example, the risk of explosions in factories. TÜV Rheinland offers audits according to every current global standard. At our company it conducts a precisely customized Process Safety Management (PSM) programme that is especially concerned with increased safety when handling chemicals.
How do the audits proceed?
Our contact people at TÜV Rheinland support us with their comprehensive specialist knowledge. Before the audits, we discuss the procedure to be carried out. Our communication is always seamless and cooperative. The team from TÜV Rheinland has always quickly found the right solutions for our problems and those of our dealers, such as the prioritization of the first audits. Besides, the team very quickly identified the main safety problems — in our case, explosion prevention and environmental protection. Last year TÜV Rheinland audited 25 of our main suppliers, and next year the smaller companies will follow — more than 180 of them are to be audited. We appreciate your sector experience at TÜV Rheinland, which we demonstrably benefit from in the audits.
Can you give an example to explain what has improved so far as a result of the audits?
We work together with a dealer whose headquarters have been in Guangzhou, China for the past thirty years. The company’s certifications were out of date and no longer complied with today’s stricter guidelines. As a result, the company was facing closure last year. But before the government could close it down, the company managed to adapt itself to modern standards thanks to audits that TÜV Rheinland promptly conducted within a few weeks. That meant we could re-link the supply chain at that point after only a short interruption. What’s more, our business partner now complies with the stringent requirements of the entire sector and no longer poses a risk to us and our customers.
To what extent will TÜV Rheinland continue helping ATL to bear more responsibility and be more successful in the future?
Creating a responsible supply chain is a continuous process. Besides, our company is growing. That’s why we need a strategic partner to help us keep our EHS (Environment, Health & Safety) and occupational health management up to date and maintain an overview of our chain of suppliers and dealers. In the years ahead, the experts from TÜV Rheinland will continue to support us as we establish a new management system. That includes making our transportation systems safer. So far we haven’t had any resources in this area, and that’s why we’re counting on support from TÜV Rheinland. Your company is not only an important partner for audits of CSR and HSE (Health Safety Environment) but also for the establishment of a sustainable corporate policy. Formulating such a policy is essential for our business success, because it will open up additional potential for trade, minimize the risk of accidents and strengthen our customers’ trust in us.
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