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Industry Talk

Cooperation the key for Ortovox

Europe home to production facilities that lag behind the standards of modern Asian facilities, company says.

1st February 2024

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Germany


‘Made in Europe’ is a claim the public often equates with good working conditions and short transport routes, but nuanced judgement is required, according to Ortovox, the South German supplier of mountain sportswear and equipment which has just published its People Report 2023.

The report focuses on cooperation with suppliers to overcome new challenges in the supply chain through partnerships and to prepare for the Obligation to Exercise Due Diligence in the Supply Chain Act within the company. The act emphasises the need to develop initiatives for developing close partnerships along the supply chain that enable safe and fair working conditions for employees.

An important aspect in the report relates to suppliers in Asia, where around 50% of Ortovox products are manufactured. Here, the company is deviating from its self-imposed goal of “60% production in Europe” – and believes it has good reasons for doing so. 

“Whether a supplier is based in Europe or Asia is not what determines how the company is led,” says Katrin Bauer, Ortovox director of CSR. “Over the last few years, we have developed a lot in supply chain management. The right vision and good management enable fair working conditions everywhere in the world.”

Europe is also home to production facilities that do not meet the company’s requirements and lag behind the standards of modern Asian facilities, she adds.

“Transport within Europe is often by truck, which means little freight is carried. By contrast, the top transport method in Asia is generally by ship – which means that a correspondingly large volume of goods can be transported simultaneously. Therefore, the sheer distance of the transport method must be evaluated very carefully –  the shortest route is not always the one with the lowest emissions.”

Vietnamese supplier Viva is cited in the report as a good example of this.

“After an alarming audit, Ortovox was able to work with general manager Jay Kim to achieve significant improvements, including insurance for temporary and permanent employees, transparent wage payments and working hours recording systems,” says Bauer.

The complete People Report can be accessed here.

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