Besides the high volumes of apparel and footwear products, China has become an important production country for sports equipment, and in particular for footballs. Saving resources is crucial to meeting business targets. Kuan Ho Sporting Goods Co. Ltd., one of our major manufacturing partners for machine-stitched footballs is located in Guangdong, China. The factory employs more than 6,500 workers and administration staff. The supplier has invested in Lean manufacturing and has made significant improvements to its workplace conditions and general health and safety. After some initial challenges the management committed to the SEA programme and Kuan Ho is now established as a long-term partner. They have developed a comprehensive HSE management system within the factory. The supplier tackled their specific environmental challenges by working towards certification to ISO 14000 and OHSAS 18001, which they achieved in January 2005. There have been a number of specific measures taken. Environmental improvementsFollowing our Guide to Best Environmental Practice helped Kuan Ho to reduce average energy consumption by nearly 20% from 2004 to 2005 (from 1.70 kWh/unit to 1.36 kWh/unit) on single production units. These savings enabled the factory to reduce the amount of additional diesel needed by 53% on average. The chemical storage room was completely rebuilt. Anti-leakage systems on the floors, an improved air circulation and exhaust system, and better management of the chemicals in the production rooms all minimised exposure for the workers. A new surface ionisation system, instead of using solvents for cleaning, reduced the VOC (volatile organic compounds) emissions by about 80 kg per day. These measures not only reduced the site’s environmental impact they also led to a 5% decrease in the product defect rate.Training and health surveillanceComprehensive HSE worker training sessions were conducted during the year, with 4,932 workers participating. A specific health check with 746 workers by an external medical service provider took place in April 2005. By implementing the HSE system, occupational injuries reduced from 95 in 2004 to 50 in 2005.
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