The EcoVadis questionnaire is adjusted, among other parameters, to the economic activity of the scope of the assessment.
EcoVadis uses the United Nations industry classification system ISIC (International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities) to classify productive economic activities of our rated companies. This allows international comparison and determines which sustainability issues are considered material to the assessment and which sustainability criteria will be applied during the analysis. For your reference, we use the industry categories listed here (these categories are derived from the United Nations ISIC as described in this official document here).
How does EcoVadis define my company’s industry?
EcoVadis defines your company’s industry or verifies the industry provided by you during the registration process in two steps:
First, we identify the activity/activities that the scope of the assessment is involved in based on the following publicly available sources:
- Primary sources: Company’s official website (including annual reports/certificates), Dun & Bradstreet database;
- Secondary sources: Top 8 official business registers for selected countries, e.g., Infogreffe (in France) or Companies House (in the UK);
- Alternative sources: Other reliable websites like Kompass, Mintportal, etc.
Second, we choose the ISIC among the verified activity/activities:
- If your company has only one activity which fits ISIC classification, the ISIC will be selected based on the activity identified in the above sources;
- If your company has several activities or has activities which can be classified under different ISICs, EcoVadis will take into consideration the following factors:
- Sustainability impacts/risks of those activities;
- Revenue generated per activity (and go for the highest).
In general, EcoVadis chooses the industry representing the higher sustainability impacts if the scope of the assessment is involved in several different activities or if the activity can be classified in different ISICs. In this way, we are able to cover more material issues. If your company is, for example, mainly involved in sales but has minority operations in manufacturing, it still will be categorised as a manufacturing company. Even if the manufacturing part is small, it still carries the sustainability risk to be addressed by the company. Classifying the company as a sales company would underestimate the sustainability risks associated with this company.
Your company can be also classified as a “fabless” company.
Fabless companies are involved solely in design and marketing of products, and all manufacturing activities are outsourced to contract manufacturers. Although fabless companies do not carry out any manufacturing activities we still classify them under manufacturing ISIC code as this is considered as the most appropriate category as per sustainability risk schema. During analysis for fabless companies however, some adjustments are made to the activated sustainability criteria so that the different sustainability impact compared to classic manufacturing companies is recognised.
Companies who do not manufacture themselves can be also split into those who sell the manufactured products under their own brand (fabless) and the ones manufacturing on customer demand only. The latter option will be classified as a wholesale category according to EcoVadis guidelines.
Example 1: An advertisement group with many advertisement subsidiaries and two printing subsidiaries will be classified under ISIC 181 “Printing and service activities related to printing,” even if their main activity is in advertisement, in order to reflect the relevant material issues in the printing activities besides the advertisement activities. This is because printing has a higher sustainability impact compared to advertising.
Example 2: A warehousing company providing last mile delivery service with their own fleets will be classified under ISIC 4923 “Freight transport by road,” instead of ISIC 521 “Warehousing and storage,” because “Freight transport by road” covers more material sustainability issues.
Example 3: A packing company manufacturing plastic packages as well as cardboard packaging materials. According to the EcoVadis methodology, since ISIC 22 “Manufacture of rubber and plastics products” covers more material issues than ISIC 1702 “Manufacture of corrugated paper and paperboard”, the industry of this company will be set as ISIC 22.
Can I change my company’s industry if I have already received the questionnaire?
If you disagree with the industry defined or verified by EcoVadis for your company, please contact us. We cannot, however, guarantee that the industry of your choice will be applied as the above mentioned rules have to be followed.
Please provide documentation (examples outlined below) to confirm your company’s industry:
- Certificates (ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO45001, etc.);
- Business registration certificates;
- The industry code that is used locally (e.g. NAICS in North America).
For companies outsourcing their manufacturing activities to an external party or more complex inquiries we also accept written statements signed by your company management personnel. Based on the supporting documentation provided during the survey completion itself, our analysts might reach out to you for further clarifications if needed.