Our organisation’s social and ethical engagement is part of the added value we put into our products. This includes ensuring the traceability of our products and monitoring that work conditions comply with international standards for health, safety and the environment.
PRODUCTS THAT MEET THE BATA STANDARD
“Our challenge is to select suppliers that share our values and standards,” explains Roberto. “Over the years we have had to diversify our manufacturing base. Our own factories have become more specialised, and to provide the sophisticated selection of shoes demanded by the markets we operate in, we have had to work with third party suppliers. Many of these suppliers are in China or countries within South East Asia. In fact, today China, Vietnam and Indonesia produce more than three quarters of the world’s footwear exports. So being based in China and making sure we get our sourcing processes right, puts us in the best position to support the Bata business globally with products that meet our company’s exacting standards.”
SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY COMES FIRST
Bata has always understood the importance of its activities for the societies in which is operates. In any countries where Bata has a business, the first thing the company has done has always been to establish a good working and social environment for employees. As a company, Bata expects suppliers to have a similar approach. To ensure this is the case, in 2013, Bata introduced a Supplier Code of Conduct.
“We have set basic standards for working conditions and environmental management across our supply chain. These are the same standards as we set for our own manufacturing facilities and all suppliers are obliged to meet them,” Roberto explains. “In addition to this, we have developed a new Sourcing Operating Model to improve the auditing and evaluation of our suppliers. This defines specific quality standards for our products, proper product engineering and strict on-line production controls.”
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS WITH OUR SUPPLIERS
Roberto recognises that the closer the relationship between Bata and suppliers the greater the adherence, support and mutual trust. When the Supplier Code of Conduct was introduced, this was the perfect opportunity to gather suppliers together, go through the details and build a deeper collaboration to meet the standard. “We organised regional supplier meetings. By doing this we could meet our suppliers in person and introduce them to our sustainability programme. In addition to discussing our Supplier Code of Conduct, we were also able to present our Restricted Substances List for Europe and to give awards to our best suppliers in each region: India, China and Europe.”