An SDG Pioneer for sustainable sourcing practices

Dylan McNeill is helping Royal Philips NV guide its suppliers toward sustainable solutions that reduce their environmental impact in areas from handling hazardous wastes to preventing fires.

As Global Director for Supplier Sustainability, Dylan is steering direct suppliers through a new type of relationship built on collaboration and trust. Royal Philips made a decision in 2016 to veer away from a 12-year long approach in which it audited the sustainability performance of its suppliers. The new tactic has worked. Dylan assumed responsibility for the programme in 2018: a year in which labour conditions improved for more than 240,000 people working with Royal Philips’ suppliers. The upgraded benefit schemes and adherence to human rights aligns with Sustainable Development Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth). That same year, the environmental performance of suppliers in the Dutch multinational’s sustainability engagement programme improved, on average, by 17 per cent over the previous year. This improvement complements two additional Global Goals: Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and Goal 13 (Climate Action).

Dylan’s collaboration with Eindhoven University of Technology on a data science project also expanded the success of the company’s sustainability engagement programme. The data science project uses algorithms powered by artificial intelligence to produce more accurate predictions of a supplier’s performance on sustainability issues over time. That, in turn, led to experimentation by Royal Philip’s change experts, who developed new methods to drive sustainable changes at these supplying businesses. This, in turn, led in 2018 to average year-on-year improvements of 25 per cent in the sustainability performance of the programme’s active suppliers.

In January of this year, Dylan became the youngest board member of the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals, a collaboration of Governments, civil society and industry. With a Secretariat based in The Netherlands, the partnership aims to improve social and economic conditions for mine workers and local mining communities by increasing the number of mines that adopt responsible mining practices in Conflict and High Risk Areas. This position dovetails with Dylan’s duties with Royal Philips’ projects associated with the responsible sourcing of minerals.

To share his knowledge, Dylan regularly discusses Royal Philips’ supplier engagement methodology with peers in a wide range of industries. He also shares best practices and sparks change in other companies by speaking at about ten events each year.

The Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact are embedded into Royal Philips’ Supplier Sustainability Declaration, which serves as a code of conduct and lays down the standards and behaviours the company requires from its suppliers. The declaration covers labour, health and safety, environment and ethics. The Ten Principles also guide Philips as it develops its overall supplier sustainability strategy and helps Dylan shape an approach for the responsible sourcing of minerals. This strategy uses an ongoing due diligence process and the use of multi-stakeholder initiatives to address the complexities of the minerals’ supply chains.

Royal Philips has been participating in UN Global Compact since March 2007.

Dylan is 35 years of age.

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