Here at Balta, we are committed to becoming more sustainable throughout our entire operation. From the resources we use, the manufacturing and the floor covering products we make through to our social, environmental and economic impacts; we aim to make a positive contribution. We can meet the future challenges and risks we will face as a company and provide consumers businesses floor covering products that create value in every aspect, while ensuring profitability for the shareholders. We break our mission down into a set of impacts defined under the principles of planet, people and prosperity. Through these principles we are able to address our three strategic priorities, identified as: (i) NEXT, (ii) Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), and (iii) Digital Transformation.
Our contribution to the following UN SDG's
We are responsible for the well-being of our employees and committed to create a healthy and safe workplace for all employees, visitors and contractors with the goal of zero accidents. Through five ‘Golden Safety Rules’ and the ‘One Balta for Safety’ program we are delivering a cultural shift and a change in attitude to safety throughout the business, proactively reducing risk.
In our own manufacturing operations in Belgium, Turkey and USA, the safety and well-being of our employees is the primary goal for the business. Through the ‘One Balta for Safety’ program, established in 2018 and undertaken in 2019, we have continued to make improvements in our health and safety performance, building a safer working environment for our employees so that every colleague who starts the workday or shift can return home safe and healthy.
We want health and safety to be top of mind for every employee, so they share in the goal to reach zero accidents.
We are aware of the risks we face as a business and are meeting the biggest global challenge climate change head-on. The impacts of climate change will be felt through many aspects of our business, including raw materials, potential water shortages, energy consumption and carbon tax. Looking for more sustainable materials and recycled alternatives, finding ways to create a closed loop product eco-system, through to reducing our water and energy consumption, moving to renewable energy sources and reducing waste at end-of-life are all positive contributions we can make to tackle the crisis.
Actions are being undertaken at our Belgian production sites to create a model for implementation in our other manufacturing locations. Our US plant demonstrates compliance with LEED systems. Our Belgian and Turkish plants are ISO 14001 compliant providing a framework for measurement of the environmental impact of our operations.
It is our aim to ensure that Balta not only runs its business in accordance with applicable laws, but also with the highest standards of integrity and ethical practice in all areas. With this at the forefront of our governance, we have developed policies for the legal, HR, finance, IT, HSE and procurement departments of our business. Throughout 2019 we continued to establish this framework through training to create a culture of compliance, giving employees the freedom to act and operate in their daily work and contribute to the success of Balta. We have put plans in place to address the gaps in compliance across various locations through a centralised approach so that all employees are clear in what it means to work for Balta.
2019 also saw us focus on the handling of data in compliance with General Data Protection Regulations (“GDPR’) with a training program for our European staff. Its effectiveness has been considerable, with employees raising significantly more questions and issues relating to data compared to 2018. We will continue to increase awareness of information security throughout 2020.
We are acutely aware of Turkey’s position as a country deemed high risk by Euromoney Country Risk , an online community of economic and political experts, and we make sure that ethical practices are always maintained. For raw materials sourced from India and Bangladesh, we carry out yearly audits, investigating all aspects of operations, from finances and working conditions through to human rights. We aim to develop a formal Code of Conduct for all our suppliers.
Positive actions for planet, people and prosperity to bring sustainable change
Through our pillars of planet, people and prosperity, we can be fully aware of the positive contributions that Balta makes. In line with the guiding principles of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we can address our role in achieving a better and more sustainable future, not just for our business and stakeholders, but also for the wider environment and cultures that inhabit it. As we look to make floor coverings that meet the needs of homes and businesses while driving genuine environmental, social and economic change, we will develop key performance indicators based on the parameters of SDGs that help to bring sustainable change to the business.