Employment and supply chain
Alongside the new supply chain risk assessment model, recently introduced in collaboration with Valore Sociale, the Group applies a Code of Ethics based on respect for individuals and for human rights, and protection of personal well-being. The company, in particular, applies international laws, regulations and treatises concerning the employment of women and children, contracts, discrimination, personal health and safety, fair wage conditions and respect for the environment.
The Group also encourages the application of these principles by its suppliers. Each year it monitors hundreds of producers in its supply chain, with particular attention towards areas most at risk.
Human Rights Impact Assessment
The risk assessment procedure devised by Valore Sociale was formulated on the basis of the main applicable international, regional and national tools, the first of which is the Declaration of Human Rights, and is aimed at redefining the company’s management plans through the integration of social risk, critical areas and corrective measures in order to guide all suppliers towards compliance.
In order to facilitate monitoring and control of the supply chain, firstly, an overall analysis of the specific local context and the social and environmental risks for local companies is envisaged, to highlight potential risk levels in the area in question using a specific grid, based on the Valore Sociale standard.
The second step of the assessment consists in carefully identifying and mapping the specific supply chain, which can only be done with the involvement and close collaboration of company management and local stakeholders, enabling reconstruction of the supply chain that is to be monitored.
Finally (third step), thanks to this process, an effective qualitative analysis of the identified supplier and sub-supplier portfolio can be made for the specific supply chain areas using a red-yellow-green light system to indicate the level of risk in relation to each individual right, according to the strengths and weaknesses identified in local laws and local company practices.
Benetton chose to apply the social risk assessment tool, in a pilot phase, to evaluate twenty-five of its Indian suppliers, selected according to their degree of conformity to the Benetton Code of Conduct. This led to the creation of the “Responsible Traceability” project, aimed at supporting and developing Benetton Group’s CSR processes in its sphere of influence, starting from the reference supply chain in the New Delhi area in India. The aims of the project include:
- Checking production phase traceability for the various products of the Indian reference supply chains through mapping of each supply chain and reconstruction of the supply tree.
- Carrying out qualitative analysis based on the results of the risk assessment of the identified supplier and sub-supplier portfolio performed on the basis of the Valore Sociale standard.
In the future, the project will also include extension of the social risk assessment to the Benetton Group supply chains in Bangladesh and Thailand.
The Valore Sociale certification standard is a process conducted by an accredited certification body (RINA and ICEA) on behalf of any organisation, whether public or private, profit or non-profit, operating in any production or service sector. A positive assessment grants entitlement to use the registered “Valore Sociale” trademark, required by the latest international standards in this area, including the SA 8000 standard and ISO 26000 guidelines. The standard includes effective risk monitoring along the entire supply chain and the use of tools to prevent any negative impact of production activities on human rights and on social and environmental aspects. Since 2011 Valore Sociale also certifies NGOs such as Mani Tese and other entities such as Banca Etica, to ensure coherence between what civil society requires from companies and what it actually provides in the field of CSR.
Local communities: territory, training and quality of life
Active and responsible attention to the needs of the community and of individuals is borne out by Ponzano Children, the children’s centre for pre-school children and babies, a state-of-the-art facility both in terms of its architectural design and its educational model, which offers a quality pedagogical service in the Treviso area.
Fabrica, the communication research centre in which a group of creative young people of various nationalities work together, is another confirmation of the characteristic theme that links the local with the global in Benetton, the importance of training for a culture of innovation. From the classic neo-Palladian villa near Treviso, innovatively restyled by Tadao Ando, in a few short years, Fabrica has achieved a significant role in international cultural debate, collaborating with prestigious institutes such as the Pompidou Centre in Paris.
Also prominent in this context are the activities of the Fondazione Benetton Studi e Ricerche, which since 1987 has been working specifically in the area of safeguarding and promoting cultural and historical heritage. Its particular attention to the “good management of places” indicates the Group’s responsible concern for protecting the landscape and the environment.
Sport is another direct channel of communication with the community, as well as a means towards a better quality of life. Thanks to the Benetton family’s passion for sport, the Group's concerns now also include thousands of young people introduced to sporting activity each year through the youth rugby sector. There is also the sport city, La Ghirada, open to all sports enthusiasts, in addition to the Palaverde multi-purpose facilities for hosting sporting events, as well as concerts, shows and cultural occasions.
Communication and social commitment
Since the campaigns of the 1980s, Benetton Group’s communication has evolved along a definite and coherent path: from fair statements of principle concerning social problems to active collaboration with organisations committed to solidarity. Importance has always been given to the commitment of individuals around the world as the primary mechanism for motivating the rest of society.
Examples of this are Africa Works, the 2008 campaign promoting the micro-credit programme in Senegal, Volunteers in Colors, in collaboration with United Nations Volunteers, for the International Year of Voluntary Work in 2001, Food for Life, together with the World Food Programme in 2003, and the James & Other Apes campaign to protect primates, in 2004. The choice of social topics, collaboration with organisations specifically committed to solidarity and support for causes that otherwise would not have found a voice on a global scale, have given the Benetton brand meaning and value, helping to establish a serious ongoing dialogue with customers all over the world.
The same approach is adopted with UNHATE, the new global communication campaign launched in November 2011 in support of the UNHATE Foundation; through the campaign, Benetton Group invites the world’s leaders and inhabitants to oppose the “culture of hatred”.
The UNHATE Foundation, desired and established by the Benetton Group, is aimed at contributing to the creation of a new culture of tolerance to counteract hatred, starting from the company's core values. This is another important step in the Group’s social responsibility strategy: it is not just a superficial exercise but a contribution that will make a strong impact on the international community, particularly through the tool of communication, which can reach the social actors. The Foundation plans to organise initiatives involving the various stakeholders, from the younger generations to institutions and from international and non-governmental organisations to civil society. The Foundation is also intended to be a think tank that attracts personalities and talent from the world of culture, the economy, law and politics, and simple citizens that have become leaders of movements, acknowledged by the world for their words and actions against the manifestations and causes of hatred.
The new campaign, the creation of the Foundation, and the other initiatives of the UNHATE project point to the Benetton Group’s resolve to become a driving force for the desire for participation and change that stimulates the citizens of the world, particularly young people. It seeks to invite them to become actively involved in its initiatives, particularly through the internet, social media networks and other digital applications. It is a further step forward in Benetton Group’s communication, which aims at the intervention and action of all, in the name of an “enhanced” and open democracy, without physical, political, social or ideological barriers.
On the occasion of Rio+20, the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development which took place last June in Rio de Janeiro, Fabrica, has created Turn Your World Around, a communication project about sustainability.
The idea behind Turn Your World Around is that of an Earth whose future is entirely in our hands, that dominates us yet at the same time is better or worse, is closely tied to our decisions, our way of living and of developing our resources. Like a magic trick, Turn Your World Around uses images to show that today it really is possible to turn around people’s relationship with nature, to assume responsibility for our time on this planet by redirecting the economy towards a cleaner, more viable future.
Released on the main social networks and visible for a year on the U.N. website, the project is part of The Future We Want, a campaign launched by the United Nations to engage the public and mobilise energy and creativity around the world to envisage a sustainable future.
By joining this initiative, Benetton Group continues to focus its attention on social issues, which have always been at the heart of the brand’s advertising campaigns. At the same time, Turn Your World Around is part of Fabrica’s long-established commitment to socially active creativity.