Corporate and social responsibility
Across the Balta group there are numerous initiatives that demonstrate our commitment to Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR). By nature, many of these activities are also linked to our goal to reducing our impact on the planet.
Local CSR projects
In Belgium, some of the plants are within populated areas and therefore noise and safety can be an issue. We monitor these ‘nuisances’ for their impact on the local community and in 2019 we took action to reduce the noise levels at our Tielt factory. Installing a sound wall to reduce noise levels to the surrounding communities, as well as stopping goods-in and goods-out activity from 7pm has made a significant positive impact for local residents.
In a similar exercise, Balta contributed to the cost of installing a roundabout in Sint-Baafs-Vijve, Wielsbeke, to reduce the noise levels of lorries braking hard and to make nearby roads safer for residents. Previously, due to restrictions in the town, lorries had to leave the factory in the opposite direction to arrival, increasing traffic for other areas as well as prolonging time spent in residential areas. After consultation, installation of a roundabout was the preferred solution from a safety standpoint. The cost of €450,000 was split between Balta (33%), local township (15%) and the province (52%).
We have also contributed the old waste-water treatment plant at Oudenaarde as a buffer basin for the local community. Converted as a rainwater store capable of storing 12,000m3, the majority of water (10,000m3) will be made available to surrounding farms that have struggled with water shortages over recent dry summers. The remaining capacity is split between the needs of the plant and 1,000m3 as a source for fire services.
We are also active participants in ‘De Warmste Week’, a charity event for which Balta employees organise fundraising events for local charities. We also donated money to the provision of life-saving AED (Automated External Defribillator) to local schools. We will undertake similar charity activity in 2020.
Encouraging our employees to live fit and healthy lives outside work is part of our CSR and so we organised a ‘Fit at Balta’ event in September 2019 and will be repeating this in 2020. The month-long event focused on improving the health and well-being of our employees and their family members.
|Week 1||Fruit at work||Everyone|
|Week 2||Clean-up Action||Environment|
|Week 3||Car free day||Employees and environment|
|Week 4||Family walking tour||Employees and families|
International CSR projects
Rising to the challenge of global warming and taking a wider perspective, a selection of modulyss carpet tiles are now available with low CO2 emissions through an offset program supporting a certified climate change project. The project supplies efficient cooking stoves and water treatment to village communities in Africa.
In Turkey, we work alongside the District Governor in Selendi on the ‘Why not You’ social project which aims to stop migration from rural areas to the city. Here, we actively employ workers from the local region. Over 50% of this workforce is female, also helping in our goal for better gender balance in our workforce. For most of them it is their first real experience working in industry, so developing skills for the future through our training and education program is important.
The Uşak Organised Industrial Zone Textile Technology Vocational Technical Anatolian Secondary School was inaugurated in 2019 and was partly funded by Balta. Subsequently we received an award from the Industrial Zone’s Presidency as a token of gratitude. The aim of the school is to provide a professional education for students so they can become fully qualified technical workers which will help to bring textile companies in the Industrial Zone to the next level.
In the USA, we have several initiatives in the form of charitable donations. For example, we committed to incorporating a charitable component within the theme of each NeoCon event in Chicago, resulting in a $20,000 donation to three charities in the laundry and personal hygiene sectors. We also donate all the carpet installed each year in our showroom in Chicago to local charities who can reuse it within their own facilities. For 2020 we will be reaching out to local animal shelters to donate ‘seconds’ for use in cages and kennels and we will be reaching out to Habitat to offer carpet for their local housing programs.
At Bentley, we have an initiative to reduce marketing giveaways that are made of non-sustainable materials sourced from overseas. Working with local Californian artisans, artists and makers helps to emphasise the importance of upcycling materials as well as sourcing locally. Many of these artists are also local educators and will help to develop speaking programs and classes that will support and educate future makers. The results of any activities stemming from events will go to fund local charities. We are also still working with the Giving Key commitment to helping those affected by homelessness, so keys are distributed during each factory tour and remind our guests of the message and meaning with each key. To date we have distributed over 100 giving keys, contributing over $5,700 towards this inspiring cause.