As a responsible manufacturer operating globally and sourcing products from countries deemed high-risk for violation of human rights, the protection of relevant stakeholders is of central importance to the business.
It is the responsibility of the Procurement Director to ensure we consider the working conditions, fair treatment, health and well-being of our suppliers. For the working conditions, fair treatment, health and well-being of our employees the responsibility is that of our Group HR Director. We currently buy raw materials from India and Bangladesh and carry out yearly audits of suppliers operating in these countries. We assess the working conditions, fair pay and treatment of employees and ensure that the supplier adheres to all legal requirements surrounding ethical practice, modern slavery and human rights protection. We are making progress in centralising these audits across all Balta business units, including Papilio® hand-woven rugs for suppliers in countries deemed high-risk.
We also ensure that suppliers commit to our Child Labour Policy. This policy was developed in-line with the strictest guidelines currently available and fully implemented across all global locations during 2019 as part of our commitment to the protection of the communities in which we operate.
In Europe, the risks to human rights are less pronounced, but we are focused on making sure that the well-being of employees is protected. We have many employees that are members of unions and work to ensure we meet requests relating to working practices if viable. There are no recorded strike incidents as testament to our open relationship with employees’ unions. All recruitment is carried out professionally to ensure that there is no discrimination and we meet the objectives of our diversity program (see 1.6).
Going forward, we will develop a Code of Conduct that will formally identify our processes and map out expectations on the protection of human rights for all our locations and suppliers.