15 Feb Social sustainability inside and out
What is social sustainability?
Sustainability is the ability to meet the needs of the present without putting the needs of future generations at risk. It combines the search for balance between respect for the environment, social welfare and economic growth.
For its part, social sustainability refers to the actions that support a company’s development in harmony with its environment and with people. It aims to strengthen the cohesion and stability of populations.
Since our beginnings, we have been committed to social sustainability, but we believe that in order to be fully sustainable, we must first be internally so.
Committed to social sustainability
We became part of the Gerosa Group in 2004 and since then we have been guided by its code of ethics, which, among others, includes its values in terms of social sustainability. These values, as well as the actions and improvements implemented in relations with its internal and external partners, are included in the Sustainability Report of the Gerosa Group.
In its “people” section, the Report presents the Group’s objective of social sustainability: “Only thanks to trained and motivated people is it possible to achieve excellence and manufacture successful products. Our goal is to create lasting collaborative relationships and offer stable employment.
The achievement of this objective is evaluated through these aspects:
- Labor relations: number of hires, temporary contracts, indefinite contracts and company collective agreements
- Development of skills and knowledge: hours and types of training (specific or general).
- Health and safety: risk assessment, prevention and control measures, maintenance programs, number of accidents and near misses, etc.
- Employee well-being: health plans, business incentives (perks), welfare plans, work-life balance, introduction of smart-working, etc.
- Diversity and equal opportunities: equality plan, inclusion of people with disabilities, gender distribution in professional ranks, etc.
To further strengthen its commitment to sustainability, in 2018 the Sustainability Committee was created, made up of 40 representatives of the 5 group companies and led by the Sustainability Manager. The committee works to establish a strategy and guidelines for managing the environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues of the Gerosa Group.
Social sustainability must take into account all of a company’s interest groups (see the following graph). At Rieusset we have first dealt with social sustainability regarding our workers, in order to then be able to complement it with the rest of the interest groups, starting with those closest to us such as local communities or suppliers – from the inside out.
Internal social sustainability actions at Rieusset
Let’s have a look at what actions and improvements we implemented in 2021:
As stated in our sustainability report, “Our commitment is, first and foremost, to create direct employment, but also indirect employment by selecting local suppliers whenever possible.”
Regarding the type of contract, we are in line with the Gerosa Group. According to the data shared in its sustainability report: In 2020, 858 people worked for the Group; 830 employees and 28 temporary workers. At Rieusset, the vast majority of workers have an indefinite contract, and our objective is to provide stability and well-being to our employees.
In addition, during the periods with the highest workload in 2021, we made temporary contracts with small local temporary employment agencies, 3 of which have been consolidated in the company’s workforce.
We believe that having a high percentage of permanent workers is one of the keys to retaining talent and thus achieving notable employee loyalty, since a large number of our staff has been with the company for more than 20 years, and even 30 in some cases.
If we compare the seniority of our workers in 2021 vs. the previous year, we can see that permanence has been slightly reduced as a result of new hires and a firm commitment to the incorporation of younger profiles.
Having different generations working together allows us to enjoy the richness and diversity supplied by each of them; the youngest ones contributing their desire and motivation to learn, with new ideas and a lot of talent, while the most senior ones share their great knowledge and experience.
Development of skills and knowledge
In reference to the development of skills, the Group declares that “through training we promote the professional growth of our staff and safeguard business continuity. We are committed to creating and maintaining conditions in which each person’s skills and knowledge can be increased to the extent necessary for them to perform their assigned tasks, respecting the recognition of merit and equal opportunities.”
The Gerosa Group has always opted for on-going training of its employees. Proof of this is that in 2020 it carried out 10,839 hours of training. These trainings are medium-term and include continuing professional development programs and the acquisition of broader skills.
In 2021, despite the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant number of training hours were carried out: a total of 3,311.50 (an average of nearly 23 hours per employee). This data confirms the importance we attribute to this topic.
Training has been dedicated to professional updating and development programs and the acquisition of broader skills such as those related to safety, cybersecurity, environmental sustainability, gender equality awareness, social responsibility, food safety; or some more specific ones such as specific technical training or regulation updates.
Our goal is to continue providing training programs in order to have a prepared and updated team. In 2022 we want to increase training hours and incorporate more aspects of industry 4.0 into them.
Health and safety
Health and safety are part of the Gerosa Group’s code of ethics: “everyone must be able to work safely, which is why worker health and safety are essential elements of our way of doing business. Specifically, we allocate organizational, technological and financial resources to protecting the health and safety of our workers”.
At Rieusset we adopted a certified safety management system some time ago, following the new ISO 45001 standard, which we renewed in 2021 for the 2022-2025 period. We also have a healthy company plan which focuses on taking care of the physical and emotional health of our employees and on which we are constantly working to guarantee the greatest possible well-being.
In relation to the previous point, it is also important to take into account the well-being of our employees, since achieving a good work environment depends on this. We are committed to promoting a work-life balance for greater well-being. As a result of the pandemic, we have introduced new features that seek to improve the work-life balance, such as flexible hours (reduced working hours, adapted hours, etc.), and the option of teleworking for those positions that allow it. We have also prioritized the hiring of local employees, most of whom live between 1 and 8 km away from their place of work. We also offer our workers health plans, equality programs, physiotherapy services and break rooms, among others.
Diversity and equal opportunities
According to the Group’s sustainability report, “We respect diversity in all its various meanings and we recognize its value. Therefore, we are committed to reducing any entry barrier and maintaining a respectful work environment, guided by the principle of equal opportunities.”
At Rieusset, we have been working for three years to identify and eliminate the obstacles that prevent a greater presence of women in our company. In March 2021 we registered the Corporate Equality Plan and we will shortly publish the new actions and improvements implemented in terms of equality during 2021 and the results achieved.
Social internal sustainability: conclusions
We are satisfied with the data obtained during the year 2021, but above all we are motivated to continue working on improving it so that every year Rieusset may be more and more socially sustainable.
We will continue to work like this, from the inside out, first taking care of our workers and then of the next closest interest groups.
In addition, we have the advantage of being part of a group such as Gerosa, which has a powerful and inspiring philosophy, values and guidelines that help us continue our path towards social sustainability.
We know that social sustainability is a long-distance race and at Rieusset we are working to achieve it.