BRIO strengthens its social responsibility initiative
After inspecting some of BRIO’s contracted manufacturers in China it has become apparent that there are shortcomings in the working conditions at these factories. BRIO has worked long-term and consistently for many years to improve its social responsibility initiatives and has now taken measures to correct the shortcomings that have been discovered. A new audit carried out in November 2009 at the factory that had the biggest shortcomings showed clear improvements. BRIO also sees a need to continue strengthening its work with sustainability issues and this will take place partly through more controls, extra dialogue with suppliers and a comprehensive overview of production flow.
In its most recent quarterly report BRIO highlighted the criticism against some of its contracted toy suppliers, who aren’t living up to the demands that BRIO sets. The results of SwedWatch’s inspection carried out in the summer are being published today, which show serious shortcomings at one of BRIO’s contracted manufacturers.
“We welcome an inspection even if the result of the report was very disappointing, especially as this isn’t what BRIO represents. We have clear demands and work tirelessly on improving and follow-ups. It is however clear that this hasn’t been enough. BRIO has a long-term ambition with the company’s sustainability issues and has also taken direct action. We’re not there yet, but we can see clear results from our efforts,” says BRIO’s CEO Andreas Sbrodiglia.
BRIO has high hopes for its quality and sustainability initiative, where certification of suppliers and constant external controls are important aspects. In concrete terms, over the autumn of 2009, BRIO has screened the entire business at the factory that showed the worst result from the inspection. The majority of the highlighted shortcomings have now been fixed. BRIO organized a new external audit on 13 November by the same inspection company that SwedWatch used. The result showed clear improvements as a result of the measures taken by BRIO; see the table below.
Follow-up audit of factory F from SwedWatch’s report
Sustainability aspect – an integral part of BRIO’s procurement work BRIO has used the ICTI’s regulations for a few years, and believes that as a relatively minor player it’s through a joint international organization that we have the greatest opportunity of making an impact. The objective is for all the company’s toy suppliers to be ICTI-certified by no later than the end of 2010. The company’s own follow-ups will also be further strengthened and BRIO is now working to develop its own control tools, meaning a close relationship with factory management and employee representatives, but more in-depth and unannounced inspections as well.
Furthermore, BRIO clarified its handling of responsibility issues during the autumn and reinforced the organization in this area. Efforts will continue in 2010 at “factory F”, mainly with the working environment and environmental impact, where ventilation is a specifically prioritized issue. Improvement has also begun at major suppliers starting with methods that BRIO has worked with at factory F.
Making sure that regulations are followed is important, but BRIO also believes that it’s important to try to fix the underlying causes, where the industry’s major seasonal variations are a key factor. BRIO evaluates how the company can achieve a more even production flow throughout the year and thereby minimize work stoppages, as working conditions tend to worsen: BRIO also evaluates how the total number of suppliers can be cut, thus strengthening the opportunities for cooperation, evaluation ad follow-ups.
Malmö, Sweden, 2 December 2009
BRIO AB (publ)
For further information, please contact: Andreas Sbrodiglia, President and CEO on: +46 (0)479 19 000
Jessica Nyström, Communications Manager on: +46 (0)479 19 000 or email@example.com
BRIO is a Swedish company that develops and sells toys, prams, children’s car seats and children’s furniture. The business is divided into two divisions; BRIO Toy and BRIO Baby, along with the subsidiary, BRIO Partner. The company was formed in 1884 and is today an international Group with the BRIO, SIMO and Alga brands. The Group has about 310 employees, is represented in over 50 countries, and has been listed on the stock market since 1985. BRIO has been listed on NGM Equity since June 2009.