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Supplier profile: Hebie, components manufacturer from Bielefeld.

The long-established company, now in the sixth generation of the family, has been manufacturing bike components for over a century - initially cork handles, nowadays mudguards, kickstands, carriers and chain guards. Currently, Hebie is supplying components for the Cruiser, Swing and Tinker models, among others.

Hebie GmbH & Co. KG

"It makes sense to question your own measures and successes."

Christian Junker (left), CEO, and Dirk Niermann, Head of Automation & CSR, Hebie GmbH & Co. KG

Why is production in Europe important to you?
Production in Europe is extremely important to us. About 80% of the goods we purchase directly come from European suppliers. We regard this as a strategic advantage – from a social, environmental and economic point of view.
First of all, our employees are of paramount importance to us. The same should apply to our suppliers' employees. We therefore commit our business partners along the value chain to respect internationally recognised human rights through our Code of Conduct. We ask them to act in accordance with legal requirements and expect their working conditions to meet minimum standards. Of course, we can track this more easily with suppliers in Europe.
We can also more easily guarantee the absence of pollutants in our upstream products in Europe. The same applies to tracking product safety issues and compliance with environmental regulations. And the reduced logistics costs due to shorter distances result in a significantly lower environmental impact.
And ultimately product sourcing within Europe gives us better control over the supply chain. It is much easier to make enquiries to upstream suppliers when they are not based overseas. Our customers also benefit from these shorter distances, because it means that we have considerably faster response times in development and sample processes. This pays off particularly with short-notice market changes, upcoming product adaptations, model changes and changes in demand.

How would you describe your working relationship with us?
We have a long-standing and exciting working relationship with Riese & Müller. From the very outset, we have followed the rapid and bold growth of the company. Over the years, we have been able to support Riese & Müller with excellent components and fair conditions. The company is a good partner for us, and we constantly incorporate its suggestions and criticisms into the further development of our products.
But we especially value the very trusting and personal relationship we have with them. This gives rise to excellent collaboration, far beyond normal day-to-day business. We have been collaborating with commitment, lots of trust and fun in a number of working groups for many years.

You are part of our sustainabill project. What insights have you gained from it?
Sustainabill is a great tool. It has enabled us to have our company's sustainability status verified by an independent third party. We think it makes great sense to question our own measures and successes. This is particularly good on a neutral platform. Transparency in the supply chain is an essential tool for us to protect the climate and respect human rights. We are relying on more and more manufacturers using platforms, such as sustainabill, in future to select their suppliers according to sustainability aspects.

What are the most important sustainability projects in your company? 
We are currently preparing a detailed sustainability report. In doing so, we have analysed the social and environmental measures within our company. In this context, we have carefully considered which issues have a significant impact on our business operations at present and looking to the future. This has resulted in us concentrating on selected goals from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals catalogue. These Sustainable Development Goals enable us to pursue clearly formulated goals with operationally-based targets. We can also measure the success of individual measures, which then allows us to accurately determine progress. This then lets us develop new measures and new goals as part of our annual update.
We are also working on our carbon footprint with the objective of reducing avoidable emissions and offsetting the remaining impact. Our intention: we wish to be classified as a 'climate-conscious company' by the 1st quarter of 2023.
And finally, we are currently working on certifying our site in Münster in line with the Ecoprofit® programme. Our factory in Bielefeld has been certified since 2010. The aim of the project is the sustainable economic and environmental strengthening of the company by increasing its environmental efficiency. This is achieved, among other things, by reducing waste and energy consumption, as well as by increasing material efficiency.

You signed the Bike Brainpool Bike Charter. What was your motivation for doing so?
A jointly signed charter for the industry not only makes sense, we consider it to be an imperative. The bike sector is part of a modern and clean intermodal mobility and bikes are the most sustainable mode of transport. It is therefore important that bikes are also produced with consideration of the most exacting environmental and social aspects. Production needs to be able to withstand an audit by external stakeholders.
We hope that our commitment will also inspire other companies to take measures for sustainable corporate management or further underpin their existing activities – and also make them transparent to the outside world.

  • About Hebie
    • Founded in Bielefeld, Germany, in 1868
    • Around 120 employees in Bielefeld and Münster
    • 80% Europe-based suppliers
    • Riese & Müller partner since 1994

    www.hebie.de

     

This supplier profile is part of the Riese & Müller Responsibility Report 02.