van Laack’s guiding principle is: “make, not have it made!” With this claim in mind, van Laack has been producing goods for decades, at its own production facilities in Mönchengladbach, Germany, Tunisia and Vietnam. Fair and socially responsible working conditions at its production sites are an essential part of van Laack’s company philosophy. van Laack’s achievements in the sphere of CSR have been far-reaching. They include air-conditioning of workrooms at the production facility in Vietnam, as well as a free lunch (with a choice of two freshly prepared dishes). Award presentations quarterly or all year round boost motivation levels among staff. In order to foster students’ potential, work placements are offered at van Laack Asia, in cooperation with local universities such as Hung Yen or Hanoi University of Science and Technology.
Membership of the Fair Wear Foundation
As part of continuous improvement in working conditions, van Laack joined the Fair Wear Foundation in April 2017. This means that we have an experienced partner by our side for further developing our socially responsible working conditions. The Fair Wear Foundation is an international multi-stakeholder initiative committed to fairer and more socially responsible working conditions in textile and clothing production. It does this with the help of a strict code of conduct, audits and further training programmes.
The main focus of its work is on themes such as the ban on child labour, the right to trade union negotiations, occupational safety and living wages. We hope that external auditing by the Fair Wear Foundation will give us new perspectives on our CSR strategy. This will allow us to see what else we can do, over and above our current commitment. In this context, our first Social Report and the first Brand Performance Check will be published next year.
Occupational health and safety has the highest priority
Occupational health and safety has the highest priority at van Laack’s factories. Safety and first aid training is given at the sites at regular intervals. To maintain its staff’s long-term performance, coaching is also offered to further develop motivation, conflict behaviour or communication skills. Primary medical care in the form of an annual examination is guaranteed for all staff. In principle, all staff have the opportunity to consult a doctor within the factory. Moenchengladbach-based textile company van Laack is convinced that high-quality products can only be produced with the help of qualified staff. By consistently and continuously maintaining high CSR standards at all sites, the firm van Laack has been able to get staff to remain loyal to the business in question for many years. It is therefore not uncommon for staff to stay with the company for over 20 years, which testifies to employee satisfaction. Staff have to be offered appropriate incentives to stay with the company in the long term. That applies as much to Germany as to Tunisia and Vietnam. Its own production facilities, which obviously follow the highest European standards, are one of the characteristics that make the van Laack brand stand out.
CSR standards increase transparency and strengthen the brand
A growing number of consumers are becoming aware of the sometimes inadequate production standards in the fashion industry, and look out for the relevant quality mark. Maintenance of CSR standards not only contributes to more humane working and living conditions, but is also always associated with increasing awareness of product quality in the eyes of customers. This not only makes current customers loyal to the brand. The aim is also to systematically expand the customer base. Brand preference, particularly among younger groups of buyers, is influenced by maintaining CSR standards. At the same time, CSR offers the opportunity to achieve greater transparency across production processes. Working directives are scrutinised, improved and safeguarded with targeted monitoring. Any weaknesses are highlighted and eliminated.
An example from real life - our kindergarten in the Vietnamese business
Under the guiding principle of “Childhood, not Child Labour”, the kindergarten for toddlers and preschool children has been a firmly established part of the Vietnamese business for several years. Firstly, childcare relieves the burden from staff with children, enabling them to occupy their preferred position, without having to worry about their children’s well-being. Secondly, it ensures that children are not exploited, but can fulfil their natural destiny: To be children. A western standard that enables minors to be children is a standard that is not enforced equally throughout the world. It is all the more important for the brand van Laack to lead the way with a good example and put an end to child exploitation.