Responsible purchasing

As a signatory of the UN Global Compact, the Bouygues group has pledged to factor CSR into its purchasing. The purchasing departments of the Group’s business areas are key to this policy, the chief aim of which is to involve parties situated all along the value chain, in particular suppliers, subcontractors and service providers.


A Purchasing and CSR committee promotes the application of sustainable development principles at all stages of the process: upstream (with the help of risk maps and analysis); when suppliers are selected (through application of CSR criteria for products and services); when contractual relations are established (through the inclusion of the Supplier CSR Charter, drawn up in 2009); and when the contract is executed (through supplier CSR performance assessments and occasional audits).

Founded on respect for suppliers, the inclusion of CSR principles within purchasing policy has a three-fold aim:

  •  reinforce risk control.
  • promote new purchasing practices, to bolster the Group’s response to the future sustainable development challenges that it will face;
  • comply with CSR disclosure obligations with regard to the AMF (the French securities regulator) and extra-financial ratings agencies, and those laid down under article 225 of the Grenelle 2 law.


In 2013, an internal audit was carried out across the business areas. Based on its findings, a Group-wide purchasing policy and a common training programme for all purchasing staff were drawn up, along with a list of indicators.

The Purchasing and CSR policy applies to all of the Group’s business areas. It specifies the underlying principles of the CSR policy that the Group wishes to see applied for the various types of purchase carried out within business areas, both in France and internationally. The policy, adopted in January 2014, sets out the actions that the business areas must implement by 2015. These entail mapping risks and major challenges from a CSR standpoint for all purchases within each business area, and defining a business area purchasing and CSR policy (spelling out requirements, applicable rules, targets, assessments to be implemented, and indicators). Progress will be checked through management system audits.


Bouygues Construction

At Bouygues Construction, the responsible purchasing policy is implemented by Bouygues Construction’s Group Purchasing department, and by entities as part of the Actitudes sustainable development policy. Policy goals have been classified according to three criteria: economic (optimised total cost of ownership, supplier solvency and sustainability), social (health and safety, measures to combat illegal employment, respect for basic human rights, integration) and environmental (reducing CO2 emissions, energy consumption, waste production, conservation of resources and protection of biodiversity). The responsible purchasing policy is implemented at every stage of the sourcing process.

Eight types of action are being taken within the sphere of purchasing:

1) Careful selection of products and materials to favour eco-design.

2) A responsible purchasing attitude, enabled by the implementation of a code of ethics and the signing of the major accounts – SME charter.

3) Promotion of socially inclusive procurement (sourcing from the sheltered sector and disability-friendly companies).

4) Responsible timber purchasing, by fighting the illegal timber trade, identifying and eliminating all sourcing of threatened wood-based products, and increasing the proportion of eco-certified timber purchases.  In pursuit of this goal, in 2010 Bouygues Construction entered into a partnership with the WWF to join its Global Forest & Trade network. This partnership continued in 2013.

5) The fight against illegal labour: various measures are implemented in cooperation with subcontractors and temporary employment agencies (checks of identity papers and work permits, worksite-access systems, work crew training, contractual requirements banning the use of illegal temporary workers, etc.).

6) Selection and monitoring of suppliers. Bouygues Construction subsidiaries encourage their subcontractors to tackle issues such as health and safety, quality, the environment and action to combat concealed work.

In 2013, Bouygues Construction put out a nationwide call for tenders to temporary staffing agencies that took social criteria and business ethics into account in the selection and subsequent monitoring of the latter.

7) Managing supplier relations (with an eye on transparency, the reduction of environmental and social impacts, timely payments and joint value creation).

 8) Development of partnership-based innovations. For example, by making tools available to suppliers to roll out their innovations on a much larger scale. This may also involve the joint development of products or equipment.

Bouygues Immobilier

In terms of purchasing policy, Bouygues Immobilier uses the EcoVadis platform to assess all its French materials suppliers listed in nationwide catalogues(2) in order to gauge their degree of commitment to environmental, social and ethical issues. In addition, all service providers have to fill out a questionnaire on their CSR policy, adapted to small businesses if need be. Bouygues Immobilier aims in residential property to have 80% of suppliers assessed by 2015; it is on target to achieve this result.

Bouygues Immobilier factors in social criteria through the work of the Disability Task Force, created in 2011 within the Human Resources department. Altogether, 44 disability liaison officers are involved in setting up subcontracting initiatives with Gesat, a national disabled employment network. One year was enough to achieve an increase of over 50% in subcontracting orders from the sheltered sector. As part of its company-wide agreement, Bouygues Immobilier pledged to increase purchases (excl. VAT) from the sheltered sector by 5% a year between 2011 and 2013. In 2012, sales excluding VAT generated by orders from sheltered workshops and disability-friendly companies rose by 10%. The agreement will be renegotiated in 2014.


(2) Nationwide catalogues are used by customers to personalise their accommodation. They list materials relating to indoor fittings and fixtures.

Bouygues Telecom

Bouygues Telecom’s responsible purchasing policy has the following aims: • selecting and listing products and services that are environmentally friendly, socially responsible and manufactured along ethical lines; • developing even-handed relations with suppliers.

This policy applies to its main suppliers, and priority actions are defined using a mapping of CSR risks by purchasing category. This risk map was first circulated in 2011 and was updated in late 2013. The supplier selection process factors in CSR criteria. To better ascertain the commitments of suppliers and subcontractors in this field, CSR assessments and audits are carried out and progress plans defined where applicable.

The use of companies in the sheltered sector, coupled with an effort to broaden the range of activities outsourced to these workshops, are a key part of the responsible purchasing policy. Services bought include the configuration of mobile handsets used for demonstration purposes in Club Bouygues Telecom stores, the management of used IT hardware and site ground maintenance.

Bouygues Telecom is a member of Pas@Pas, an organisation that promotes and facilitates subcontracting to the sheltered workshops, disability-friendly companies and occupational integration programmes. This action has received several accolades, including the panel’s special prize at the CDAF awards in June 2013.


The responsible purchasing policy at Colas is gradual and targeted on specifics, given the high number of suppliers, service providers and subcontractors working for the group, the decentralised nature of purchasing at production site or worksite level, and business-related constraints. Colas has made relations with suppliers and service providers one of the issues requiring tight surveillance both in France and internationally.

Policy was overhauled in 2013 and now consists of the following:

  • identifying those suppliers, service providers and subcontractors who have made public commitments that take responsible purchasing into account (e.g. signatories of the UN Global Compact or members of Business in the Community (BITC) or Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) or which have received a respectable published ranking in this area (e.g. companies listed in indices such as the DJSI, FTSE4Good, etc.). Orders placed with such companies automatically overcome an initial responsible-purchasing hurdle. Next, the proportion of this type of purchase is evaluated, using data from purchasing information systems at subsidiaries (where this is available) or by using survey data. The aim is that each subsidiary will have this type of assessment in place for the 2013-2014 reporting year and be able to elucidate sources and methods used;
  • pinpointing the major risks inherent in certain types of purchase, in each subsidiary. Risk mapping is used to analyse the threat of non-responsible purchasing taking place. To achieve this, a guide defining the concept of responsible purchasing and providing a non-exhaustive list of risks relating to certain types of purchasing has been drafted.

Once analysis has been carried out, the steering committee will decide on remedial action for reducing the identified risks and meeting the increasingly strenuous requirements in the CSR sphere.
Designing relevant indicators will be the second stage in the implementation of this policy.  In addition, Colas carries out supplier assessments in mainland France under the terms of framework agreements. To date, 49 have been carried out (19 in 2013 and 20 in 2012).  In 2014, the aim is to increase the number of audits carried out by each buyer to three.


TF1’s purchasing department has operated a responsible purchasing policy since its inception in 2008. Supplier assessment using Ecovadis, sourcing from the sheltered sector and disability-friendly companies and inclusion of sustainable development criteria in calls for tenders are the primary levers of this policy, regarding which all buyers within the central purchasing department have been trained.

In 2013, CSR supplier assessments were extended to encompass rights buying and products sold on the home shopping channel (Téléshopping). Extending CSR assessments to all categories of purchasing is part of TF1’s comprehensive responsible-purchasing policy. Training sessions for buyers of rights will be held in 2014 to strengthen in-house expertise in CSR. In addition, TF1 applied in 2013 for the “Responsible supplier relations” label, which is awarded by the ombudsman in charge of inter-company relations and the CDAF (the French association of purchasing managers and buyers). This label was obtained by TF1 on 27 January 2014.

(Updated: June 2016)


Integrating social and environmental criteria into purchasing policies table
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Purchasing as seen by Bouygues - English version

Purchasing is at the heart of a company's life. At certain Bouygues subsidiaries, Purchasing represents up to 3/4 of sales. But how do we buy? To find out, let's spend a day behind the scenes in Purchasing. Credits: Produced by: Bouygues (2014), Executive production: Elephant at Work