In 2010, the SEA team undertook a detailed examination of the environmental risk of Tier 2 material suppliers (fabric mills and dye houses) as part of the Risk Management profiling under the Environmental Sourcing Strategy. During the course of the audits, it became clear that many of the suppliers lacked the knowledge and skills to implement the ISO 14001 environmental management system and the OHSAS 18001 occupational health and safety management system. In many cases, the lack of structured systems resulted in the poor management of environmental, health and safety issues at these facilities.
An introduction to management systems
In response, we organised a one-day introductory seminar focusing on ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 for our key Tier 2 fabric mill suppliers in August 2010 in Taipei, Taiwan. The seminar was conducted in Chinese by an external professional member of the Taiwan Industry Service Foundation. In total, 43 participants attended, representing 17 suppliers.
The key topics covered included:
- Elements of the ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 management systems
- How to implement the systems in a factory setting
- Required resources (manpower, cost, time)
- An introduction to the consultancies that can assist in establishing systems and certification bodies.
Learning by doing
During the workshop, participants were separated into smaller working groups to discuss the potential environmental impacts and health and safety risks within a major dyeing process area. This enabled the participants to practice the principles they had been trained on earlier in the day. The day went well with participants expressing a 95% satisfaction level with the workshop.
To consolidate their learning, participants were set a mini assignment as homework:
- To complete an organisation chart outlining key roles and responsibilities
- To establish key objectives and set targets
- To prepare a legal list review (related specifically to environmental and safety health aspects).
All of the suppliers completed and submitted their assignments on time, and we are hopeful they will go on to implement the management systems in their factories.
The adidas Group has recently commissioned the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University (RMIT) to undertake a research study to identify the opportunities and barriers to establishing a regional Sustainable Manufacturing Training Programme for the footwear and garment industry in Asia. The research is to run integrated with the adidas Group's internal Environmental Strategy and environmental supply chain auditing initiatives and our planned production for the London 2012 Olympic Games, the world's first sustainable Olympic Games.
RMIT has been retained to advise on the best institutional arrangement to build supply chain capacity and strengthen factory-level capabilities in the fields of sustainable manufacturing and resource efficiency. The research institute will also define possible opportunities for collaboration across the industry, with other multinationals and with local manufacturing associations. It will also look at the possible benefits of forming public-private partnerships with national governments, or international agencies. The researchers will map out existing opportunities and training initiatives and build on these, to help drive closer collaboration and improved performance across the broader supply chain, from raw material sourcing, through sub-components, to finished goods. The results of the first phase of the research will be made available for industry comment at the end of 2011.