The Xella Group possesses a resilient and stable supply chain characterized by a strong, local character. Building materials can sometimes be heavy, meaning that only in certain circumstances is it cost-effective to transport them over long distances. For this reason, the majority of our production sites are located relatively close to our customers, enabling swift, short-distance, and therefore environmentally friendly and low-cost delivery. The same applies to our procurement. At Group level, around 80% (as of 2020) of the goods and services purchased are bought locally (= in the country of production).
Alternative transport routes
In Belgium, we also transport our products to customers by water - this relieves the strain on the roads as fewer trucks are on the road. In addition, there is less backlog when delivering to construction sites that are difficult to access. "The increasing demand from our customers for water transport is mainly due to the traffic gridlock that happens every day around Antwerp," reports Olaf Banckaert, Head of Logistics, Planning & Expedition at Xella België. Since the Belgian plant in the province of Antwerp in Burcht is located directly on the Scheldt River, Xella created an alternative there a few years ago: Ytong and Silka bricks are loaded directly onto ships at its own jetty and transported across the river to their destination. The potential is great. On average, about 300 tons are currently loaded onto a ship twice a month. This corresponds to about 500 pallets, which would take up to 16 trucks to transport by road. In the future, there could be more: one ship can transport up to 2,000 tons. Learn more about this.
Fair working conditions
In our supply chain, we comply with the principles of the UN Global Compact of the United Nations as well as the ILO core labor standards. Since Xella's supplier structure is predominantly regional in Europe, where there is resilient social legislation, the risk of human rights violations is very low. Therefore, our focus is on maintaining healthy, fair working conditions and compliance with legal and ethical standards and is in line with our Supplier Code of Conduct (SCoC).
Our goal is for all relevant suppliers in the Building Materials Business Unit to accept and comply with the Supplier Code of Conduct by the end of 2021 (in 2020, this figure was already 98%). In the Insulation Business Unit, this will be rolled out in full for the first time in 2021. Here, too, we will require the relevant suppliers to sign and comply with our standards. By the end of 2021, the Supplier Code of Conduct will have been rolled out across the Group.