People, Places and Products
Nothing makes us happier than great times spent outdoors and the people we share them with. And we recognise that making products to enjoy these times has an impact on the environment and community around us. We take the responsibility of this very seriously. We want to know that working with us has a beneficial effect on people's lives and that our products are made as mindfully as they reasonably can be.
As a business, we place great emphasis on the strength of good relationships and the spirit of entrepreneurship. We are proud of our strong links with overseas suppliers, factories and communities because they benefit us all. They allow us to share knowledge and have a greater degree of transparency, which has proved incredibly invaluable in our commitments to the ETI (Ethical Trade Initiative).
Our internal action team also makes us feel proud. It's made up of employees from all different departments of the company, and everyone is empowered to instigate new ideas to help our business move forward positively. By pulling together so many people with different skill sets, we have managed to spearhead some great initiatives across the board. Some have been big, like the building of Savar School in Bangladesh. And some have been small, like our uneaten fruit donations to the local horse stable. All of them are important because collectively they amount to great things.
Improving the way we work with people, places and products is part of our every day. It's an amazing world out there, and we want to keep it that way.
Our Employees and Suppliers
The health and happiness of the people that work for us, with us and around us is really important. We strongly believe that the value and quality we provide for our customers should never be at the expense of anyone. In 2012, we joined the ETI (Ethical Trade Initiative) to benchmark us against best practice in social compliance and we are pleased to report we have already achieved Improver status. We are also active in our commitments towards communities here and abroad, volunteering time and offering financial support through our two charitable trusts.
Health and Happiness at Work
Staying safe - Safety is firmly embedded in our values. Everyone receives comprehensive Health and Safety training, no matter what their role. And we don't just tick boxes, we personalise plans for each area of the business to make sure they're relevant and helpful. This can include anything from forklift truck training to personal safety abroad.
An apple a day - Every morning fresh ‘5-a-day' fruit baskets are delivered to our warehouses and offices. Between April and September 2014 we ate over 40,000 pieces between us. That's a lot of vitamins! And none of it goes to waste, if any fruit is left over at the end of the day it is taken to local stables so the horses can enjoy it.
Fundraising, Volunteer Programmes and Donations
Getting Stuck In – We encourage all of our team members to take time out (paid) from work to volunteer for a worthwhile cause of their choice. In 2014 over 70 of us took time out to help.
Building Communities - Over the last 30 years we have worked closely with many communities and built many long-lasting relationships. One that really stands out for us is with Dr Shamim. She is a founding member of the Bangladesh Protibondhi Foundation. In 2008 we worked with the foundation to build Savar School. It's just a modest brick building, but it provides a safe and happy place for children to learn and grow. Our buying teams always build time into their trips to visit both Dr Shamim and the children and we are committed to providing ongoing support.
Fundraising - Over the years our teams have walked through the night, pedalled across the country and jumped out of planes to raise money for causes we care about. Regatta matches funds raised (up to £250 per person) to help build our annual pot. Our two charitable trusts had already raised a combined £363,781.90 by the end of September 2014.
Charity and Support - Savar School, Bangladesh
Over the last 30 years we have worked closely with many communities and built many long-lasting relationships. One that really stands out for us is with Dr Shamim. She is a founding member of the Bangladesh Protibondhi Foundation. The charity was set up in 1984 to provide a friendly and protective environment for disadvantaged and disabled children. In 2008 we worked with the foundation to build Savar School. It's just a modest brick building, but it provides a safe, happy and inspirational place for children to learn and grow. Our buying teams always build time into their trips to visit both Dr Shamim and the children and we are committed to the ongoing support of the school.
In 2013, 231 children, aged from 4-14 years attended the school daily. Around 65 of those have disabilities or learning difficulties, yet are fully integrated into all the classes and activities. Everyone at Regatta is encouraged to get involved in the project and some brilliant ideas have been brought to life. Excess fleece in our factories has been made into blankets for the children to keep them warm during winter. And in 2013 we used some of the childrens' drawings to create greetings and Christmas cards to sell in our shops, with all the proceeds going back to the school.
We are looking at setting up new Vocational facilities near or within the school, to offer practical training – this would include a meaningful programme for girls aged 15-17 years offering Social, Domestic and Life skills and an older dedicated Vocation Training programme for girls aged 17-18 years, which would hopefully lead to a work placement after graduation and will include practical life skills.
Ethical Trade Initiative
We feel strongly that workers in our factories are treated fairly. Our value and quality should never be at the expense of anyone. We source products directly (no third party suppliers) and take a hands on approach with all of our factories. Our procedures and systems are simple, easy to follow and transparent. We share knowledge with workers and have a dedicated Ethical Trade Leadership Team to agree strategy, objectives and oversee the key issues.
In 2012 we joined the ETI (Ethical Trade Initiative). We have been inspecting our factories for many years using our own teams and third party inspectors, but being part of the ETI helps us to up our game as we are learning from the leaders. Within just 18 months of joining we achieved Improver status.
In 2013 we added three ethical merchandisers to our team, two in China and one in Bangladesh. This has helped us to raise ETI awareness and make genuine improvements across the board. 85% of our factories (around 60) now have ETI posters in local languages positioned in prominent places. We have set up grievance procedures and workers' committees. 30% of our factories (22) now have a committee in place, giving 12, 656 workers a voice. In 2014 we doubled our internal ETI training budget so that already 40% of our factories (30) have received training.
Her Project - Empowering Women
We are really pleased to be involved in rolling out this valuable project. The main aim is to empower women working in global supply chains through workplace-based programmes. It takes a simple three step approach:
1. Women receive training on health and financial capability.
2. Through peer to peer training, the women pass on their knowledge to their communities and homes.
3. This in turn helps to improve wellbeing and increase standards of living for the women and their families.
Reducing Environmental Impact
We strive to reduce the environmental impact of our workspace and warehouse in the UK with comprehensive recycling programmes and intelligent design. We actively seek out factories overseas with licensed and audited programmes in place to ensure waste and energy usage are managed responsibly. Substantial time and effort are invested to stay at the forefront of REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) directives.
Recycle More, Design Well, Use Less
We promote recycling across all of our sites. Centralised waste bins help us separate plastics, paper, card and general waste. And we have licenced and registered contractors who remove all of our packaging, lamps, lights, electronic equipment and wood. They send us certificates to verify they have disposed of these, or recycled them appropriately. In 2013 over 70% of our waste was recycled!
We take the risk of exposure to hazardous substances at work seriously and have management systems in place to ensure we comply with the COSHH (The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations 2002.
We are also making our workspaces more efficient. Our new head office building includes environmentally friendly features such as natural and untreated Red Cedar cladding on the outside. It has full-height glazing to allow for natural light and trees planted inside and out. We are also re-establishing the nearby towpaths to encourage more people to cycle to work. And since we relocated our warehouse to a bigger space in 2011 we have seen our energy usage reduced by a third, through efficient lighting and water management.
Managing Waste with Our Factories
No one likes waste and it's impossible for us to completely eliminate it. We do strive to reduce our waste as much as we can and we make sure the waste we do produce is managed responsibly. We only work with factories that hold the appropriate licences and records for monitoring and managing waste, material discharge and waste treatment. We carry out third party audits and request from our factories that:
Waste water/exhaust are purified before they are released into the environment. Factories have the relevant permit for waste discharge. Factories maintain programmes targeting reduction of raw materials and energy use.
We also invest substantial time and effort to fully understand our responsibilities and obligations under the REACH legislation. REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) is a European Regulation. It aims to ensure a high level of safety for human health and the environment. During our 30 years in global sourcing we have built strong relationships with external testing houses in the UK and the Far East. This has allowed us to advise, audit, train and support our supply teams to ensure that the monitoring of chemical content in products is properly targeted.
We are always looking at ways to reduce the environmental impact of our design, development and production, striving to meet and even exceed regulatory and industry standards. All of our products for example, are PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) free. We actively source from reliable and reputable suppliers. Our published materials are printed on paper from sustainable sources and recycled materials are considered wherever practicable.
We are PFOA (nasty chemical) free
PFOA (Perfluorinated compound-flurochemical is a particularly nasty chemical used a lot in the outdoors industry to create water repellent finishes. Studies have shown that it doesn't break down over time and there have been claims that it is carcinogenic. You can be confident when you buy a new Regatta product that it will be PFOA free.