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Responsible Purchasing

At SNCF, we’re working to create a society that is ever more mobile, ever more sustainable and ever more community-oriented—and that includes our purchasing policies.


Ecomobility here and now

Our Purchasing Division is facing the challenges of ecomobility alongside our five divisions: SNCF Infra, SNCF Proximités, SNCF Voyages, SNCF Geodis and Gares & Connexions.

We define ecomobility—the core of our business strategy—as mobility that is consistent with sustainable development, and we are working to achieve it in three key ways:

  • Offering our clients mobility solutions that are less carbon-intensive
  • Delivering services that are more eco-friendly
  • Building community and promoting regional development.

Because purchasing accounts for a significant portion of SNCF’s spending, it’s essential for us to ensure that all of our purchasing procedures—internal and external, upstream and down—help advance these goals.

At SNCF, we follow the ten principles of the UN Global Compact and incorporate sustainable development criteria into our specifications and contracts.


Our Commitments

Practically speaking, our Purchasing Division pursues its vision of sustainable, community-oriented purchasing through a few core commitments. These get buyers and suppliers involved—and change the products and services we buy. We are committed to:

  • keeping sustainable development in mind throughout each product’s life cycle.
  • limiting our environmental footprint by reducing the impacts of the products and services we buy.
  • practicing social responsibility by limiting the health impacts of the supplies we buy, and by ensuring compliance with International Labour Organisation (ILO) agreements.
  • promoting socially responsible purchasing by purchasing more from businesses that hire the disabled, help the unemployed return to work, and practice fair trade.
  • proving that sustainable development is compatible with saving money—for example, by reducing our consumption of raw materials, energy and other resources.
  • strengthening the business community by taking an active role in the SME Pact, which fosters growth among local businesses wherever SNCF is present.
  • cultivating fair supplier relationships built on respect and trust—in France and around the world.

SNCF earns Responsible Supplier Relations Label

On 20 December 2012, SNCF earned the Responsible Supplier Relations label in recognition of our positive relationships with suppliers. Awarded by Médiation Interentreprises, the business mediation unit of the French Ministry of Industry, and CDAF, a French association for purchasing professionals, the label honours our purchasing strategy, practices and results since 2008. It certifies that we meet the ten responsible purchasing commitments outlined in the Responsible Supplier Relations Charter.

Learn more about the Responsible Supplier Relations Label

Learn more about our principles for ethical purchasing


Share our Vision

Our partnerships with suppliers and service providers are a vital part of our commitment to sustainable development, and we have already taken steps to build new relationships with them. These include:

  • Partnerships with the French Fair Trade Platform (PFCE) and the NGO Yamana, as well as participation in the Enterprise and Poverty Action Tank and chair at the Haute École de Commerce
  • Partnership with UNEA, a French association of businesses that hire the disabled, and creation of the Pas@Pas platform, which encourages purchasing from businesses that hire the handicapped and long-term unemployed
  • A best-practices charter with the Syndicat National des Entreprises de Sécurité, an association of private security companies
  • Involvement in Euromed Management’s Sustainable and Socially Responsible Purchasing Research Chair in Marseille
  • Our involvement with the SME Pact since 2004 and our appointment of SNCF’s Secretary General as our SME Mediator.

All of these initiatives are consistent with SNCF’s Ethics Guide and Code of Conduct.


Taking the next step

Our Purchasing Division is exploring new avenues that could transform our approach to responsible purchasing:

  • Identify and control CSR (corporate social responsibility) risks to help our suppliers and service providers move toward sustainability
  • Gradually convert these risks into opportunities for sustainability, using innovative green business and social business solutions to make our vision of ecomobility a reality.