Returning to China after 9 years - from sportsman to supplier...
My last visit to China was as an athlete at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. Fond memories of an outstanding event in a magnificent city came flooding back. However, some questions remain over a foul wind that blew through before competition started. It put a halt to our training, with many players suffering from respiratory issues requiring medical assistance.
View from the Olympic Village before and after the thunderstorms
After consulting with our team doctor, I was put on a daily dose of 18 puffs on an inhaler to keep my airways open under exertion, and I left with the thought that years of preparation had come to this… Fortunately, “cloud seeding” caused thunderstorms which cleared the sky improving our respiratory issues, and it remaining that way for the duration of the games.
Our Factory’s Distinction
Almost nine years later, I’m back in China as COO with Eagle Protect™, the World's only B Corp™ certified business supplying disposable gloves and clothing. We have a commitment to our customers’ reputation to supply only ethically sourced products and we uphold our commitment through regular visits to our factories throughout the world.
These visits allow us to verify product quality, staff conditions and their environmental footprint (standards outlined in our Eagle Supplier Code of Conduct. In addition, our recent Child Labor Free* certification independently inspects and analyzes supply chains for the use of child labor, and performs further independent factory audits and assessments of labor and environmental conditions.
This trip to China was to visit the manufacturers of Eagle Protect disposable clothing and nitrile disposable gloves, for our global food processing customers.
The size and scale of these factories were impressive, and it was great to see supplier initiatives such as free electric bike charging stations, healthy staff lunches, optical sign-in and a real focus on safety and engagement as young people seek out ‘modern jobs’ off the factory floor.
Finding Sustainable Factories
In contrast, we did visit a potential supplier three hours from Beijing where the local authorities had given three days notice that pollution levels were too high - they were eventually closed for over a month, affecting staff and customers. Almost all factories in the area had been shut for two weeks with no indication of when they could re-open.
In this situation, product price has been increasing as China continues to limit production or impose regulation to incentivize more sustainable and more costly manufacturing. Read more about how new pollution laws in China are affecting vinyl glove cost.
Our decision was not to work with this supplier - an operator in our supply chain with poor environmental production does not meet Eagle’s environmental standards. Before partnering with any new suppliers, they must pass our rigorous Supplier Code of Conduct - a key part of our supply chain transparency.
Suppliers must pass our rigorous Supplier Code of Conduct -
a key part of our supply chain transparency
Eagle Protect’s Commitment
Back at our headquarters once again, we’ve been reviewing our own social and environmental impact. Our Impact Reports highlights the many ways we have been contributing to our community, as well as helping our suppliers and the environment. We recently replaced our gas company car with a more efficient and environmentally better diesel option -small steps in improving our environmental impact.
At Eagle we are always striving to make a sustainable and positive environmental impact that’s not detrimental to long-term sustainability or profitability.
With a focus on waste reduction and supplying high-quality clothing and disposable gloves with verified safety and performance, Eagle products will safe safeguard what matters - your product, your business, your staff and your customers.
Chief Operating Officer (and former field hockey Olympian)
*The organisation behind Child Labor Free has ceased offering accreditation renewal, effective December 2020.