Interview with David Gonçalves, Head of Human Resources at IMPETUS Group, which earned SA8000 certification in 2012.
This interview was conducted in 2015, but we are pleased that Impetus Group is still SA8000-certified in 2020 when this interview was re-posted.
SAI: Can you tell us a little about the background of Impetus?
David Gonçalves (DG): IMPETUS PORTUGAL – TÊXTEIS S.A. is a well-established family business founded in December 1973, producing underwear for men and women. The company began with only 6 employees, but now has nearly 700 employees across 12 companies, the group reaching an annual production of 4,650,000 articles. The company’s technological level, organizational and logistic capacity, as well as the know-how acquired throughout four decades of activity, puts the company in the forefront of the underwear fashion industry in Europe.
SAI: What are the biggest challenges of social compliance in your industry?
DG: We have a duty to sustain a healthy business for all our employees, in Portugal and everywhere we operate. We cannot increase profits at the expense of a single one of our employees and this is, of course, a challenge, but one that we will never shirk from. Many employees have been at IMPETUS three decades or more. We want the best-trained staff at every level: machine operators, sewers, designers, and management.
SAI: As the SA8000 Management Representative, what are some of the positive changes or overall benefits you have seen in the facility since becoming SA8000 certified?
DG: Being SA8000-certified has had a high rate of return, without a doubt, because healthier, better trained, and loyal employees drive quality, productivity, innovation, and the sustainability of our enterprises group. Some positive changes include:
- Increased employee loyalty
- Improved the productivity
- Increased regular communication between management & worker representatives
- Worker satisfaction surveys conducted & satisfaction achieved
- Increased confidence of the consumers
- Making our reputation socially responsible.
SAI: You are a completely vertically integrated apparel company. Can you talk more about this and explain for those outside of the field what it means?
DG: Vertical integration is when a company expands its business into areas that are at different points on the same production path. IMPETUS, presenting a completely vertical structure, specializes in the production of Cut & Sew seamless underwear, providing its customers an excellent service that covers the development, IDT, production, and shipping. The whole production is exported to markets such as Europe, Canada, United States of America, Australia, China, Mexico, and Japan.
SAI: What were your main motivations in deciding to pursue SA8000 certification?
DG: IMPETUS believes and recognizes that its performance on the market is not focused only on economic activity. IMPETUS plays its role as a member of a set of duties, obligations, and commitments towards all the specific interest groups that depend on their activity: its shareholders, employees, suppliers, customers, competitors, media, Government, unions, and special interest groups. In this way, IMPETUS, believes that the achievement of its long-term goals is necessarily based on strict compliance with the highest standards of ethical conduct. IMPETUS believes that the daily concerns have to be based on a strong sense of social responsibility and ethics and awareness of the impacts of its activity.
SAI: Would you recommend implementing SA8000 to other businesses?
DG: Yes, of course! SA8000 is a working tool that helps companies to be more competitive, more professional, and stand out among other companies.