PRESS RELEASE 4.4.2019
Press release regarding the manufacturing of Balmuir home décor leather products in India.
On April 4th, 2019, Finnwatch released a report about Wheslyn Group Oy’s sourcing of Balmuir home decor leather products in India. The report focuses on H.S. Export, the partner of Wheslyn Group in India. According to the report’s findings, there are nonconformities in H.S. Exports supply chain in terms of wages and social security payments. Wheslyn Group takes these findings seriously and has taken immediate action to rectify the identified problems.
Finnwatch’s partner Cividep visited H.S. Exports in March 2018. In the factory audit, working conditions were found to be in line with local legislation and to follow Wheslyn Group’s Supplier Code of Conduct. Interviews conducted outside the company do, however, give reason to suspect shortcomings in the working conditions of the subcontractors of H.S. Exports. The issues concern wage levels and overtime compensation as well as health insurance and pension payments.
–Corporate responsibility is one of Wheslyn Group’s most important values. We take these detected issues very seriously and have taken immediate action. In April 2019, we will commission an independent BSCI audit at the partner factory to thoroughly examine the problems and their causes. We will make decisions about specific measures based on the findings of the audit, says Wheslyn Group CEO Heidi Jaara.
It is important for Wheslyn Group to ensure that similar irregularities will not happen at any stage of its supply chain. For this reason, the company is conducting an extensive risk assessment of the human rights impacts of its business this spring.
H.S. Exports employs 40 permanent employees. Certain wood, metal and leather components that are used in home décor products are subcontracted by H.S. Exports and produced in nearby workshops. About 5% of Wheslyn Group’s total purchases in 2018 comprise of home décor leather products supplied by H.S. Exports. Subcontracting comprises around 14% of H.S. Exports’ workforce expenses.
Wheslyn Group is committed to improving the transparency and responsibility of its supply chains together with the manufacturers. The business partners are family-owned businesses. Over 50 percent of the company’s suppliers are based in Europe, and the biggest supplying country is Italy. To ensure responsibility, company representatives visit manufacturers and familiarize with the working conditions. The partners that manufacture Balmuir products are committed to the Supplier Code of Conduct, which defines the principles for responsible business practices. To further support corporate responsibility, Wheslyn Group is a member in Amfori BSCI responsibility program. Amfori provides its members with education, information and independent assessment of the target companies’ corporate responsibility measures.
– Finnwatch is doing valuable work to improve corporate responsibility, and we have supported them in the process of making the report about our partner company. It is important that we know our supply chain. In this case, supervision has not been implemented sufficiently. We bear the responsibility, take action to rectify the identified issues, and work harder in the future to ensure corporate responsibility. At Wheslyn Group, corporate responsibility is a value that the whole company shares, and we all work every day to further improve it, Heidi Jaara finishes.
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