Danish Embassy staff were given a tour of the recently renovated factory and tannery, obtaining a detailed insight into the many stages of production as well as the actions taken to reduce the factory’s resource and energy consumption.
On February 11, Danish Ambassador, Mikael Hemniti Winther; Commercial Counsellor, Asbjørn Overgaard Christiansen; and Senior Commercial Officer, Nantima Angkatavanich paid a visit to ECCO’s factory in Saha Rattana Nakorn Industrial Estate, Ayutthaya, just north of Bangkok. The management of the Danish shoe company’s Thai branch presented a recently renovated factory with updated machinery and a brand new tannery, brought on as a result of the devastating floods of late 2011.
ECCO is the world’s largest casual footwear producer, providing products to 90 different markets with China and Russia as the biggest. The philosophy is to make shoes that are shaped to fit the foot, not the other way around. ECCO Thailand was established in 1993, has produced approximately 3.7 million pairs of shoes this year, and will employ 3200 people by the end of 2014.
Mr. Bo Grabowski, Managing Director of ECCO Thailand, provided the delegation with beneficial insights into the pivotal situation faced by ECCO in connection with the flooding. At the time, management brought measures into play in order to circumvent further losses, for example within its group of experienced and highly prized employees. Consequently, it was decided that salaries would continue to be paid to all staff, the temporary close-down of the factory notwithstanding. The delegation was impressed by the story of how ECCO managed to adhere to a capacious global demand, despite the incapacitating role of the floods, by redistributing production within other countries.
On the tour of the facilities, it became clear that ECCO is a unique company in that it covers the entire scale of production, making its own leather at specially established tanneries and producing shoes at its own factories. From the design stage and leather craftsmanship to the production, quality testing and sales, the company is responsible for each phase of the shoemaking process. ECCO is also known for its CSR initiatives, having established strict codes of conduct for health and safety as well as environment.
Due to the fact that ECCO controls every stage of its production, the company has been able to implement a well-coordinated and consistent CSR policy for each phase, all the way down to the tanneries. ECCO aims to reduce the resource and energy consumption of its factories, which was apparent during the tour. The level of waste is limited by recycling where possible, and the delegation was taken up to the roof of the tannery to see the wide expanse of solar cells used to heat up the water used in the tanning process.
Source: Embassy of Denmark in Thailand