The upcoming revised automotive industry standard for quality management will include language on corporate ethics for the first time in its history. The standard, previously named ISO/TS 16949, will be replaced by IATF 16949 and has been revised by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) with an unprecedented level of industry engagement.
IATF 16949 is due to be released in October and requires certified organizations to implement basic corporate responsibility policies such as an anti-bribery policy, an employee code of conduct, and an ethics escalation (whistle-blower) policy.
Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) Director of Corporate Responsibility Products and Services Tanya Bolden said this is the first time that ethics language has been included in an automotive quality standard.
Related Story: IATF 16949:2016 to Replace ISO/TS 16949:2009 in October
The International Automotive Task Force (IATF) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) have announced that the technical specification for automotive sector quality management systems, ISO/TS 16949:2009, will be replaced in October by IATF 16949:2016.
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“It’s significant because it provides a way to verify where the supply base stands on several core ethics policies,” Bolden said.
Nine North American and European original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and five national automotive supplier associations agreed to include corporate responsibility requirements in the new quality standard.
“The language is basic, but it clearly requires automotive sites worldwide to provide documentation that they have implemented an employee behavioral code, an anti-bribery policy, and a formal process to report violations,” Bolden said. “Having those questions in such a well-established standard allows us to quantify the progress suppliers have made—or need to make—in this important area.”
By late 2018, the 65,000-plus supplier sites certified to the quality standard, primarily tier one and tier two direct-part manufacturers, must be physically audited and re-certified by an approved IATF certification body. There will be no incremental costs to suppliers or OEMs to include the corporate responsibility content in the audit.
Bolden added that the addition of corporate responsibility into the revised quality standard creates an industry-wide ethics conformance baseline.
“Conformance to IATF 16949 ensures a company has the building blocks for adherence to AIAG’s Global Guidance Principles, a corporate ethics benchmark established by OEMs.”