Dutch-Bangla Pack Ltd., a joint venture with the European company LC Packaging, is a manufacturing company based in Bangladesh that produces industrial plastic packaging for export purposes. The company has been SA8000 certified since August 2012.
Decent work pays off
Since its inception, sustainability and social responsibility have been core values for Dutch-Bangla Pack Ltd. (DBPL). “From the beginning, the company has made CSR a part of its agenda,” says Abdul Mumit, Managing Director at DBPL. “Gradually over time we have added new initiatives to improve our sustainability outcomes.”
One of those initiatives was achieving a social certification to help them create an environment “where employee rights are maintained and where employees have the opportunity to build their careers by engaging in decent work.” Among other reasons, Mumit says that DBPL chose SA8000 because it “provided us with a management system to consistently monitor and improve results… it also made us aware of areas where further work is necessary.”
Applying the SA8000 Standard has benefitted both employees and business at DBPL. Employees are happier and more dedicated to the company, and this is demonstrated by some of the measurable business improvements DBPL has seen since implementing SA8000, including a 6.4% increase in productivity, a 5.45% reduction in absenteeism, and an 8.15% reduction in their employee turnover rate. As one of only a few SA8000-certified organizations in Bangladesh, DBPL has become an attractive supplier for CSR-minded buyers and has received support from local and international organizations, such as DEG and FMO.
Tackling supply chain performance
One reason there are few SA8000-certified organizations in Bangladesh is the requirement to pay a living wage, which in Bangladesh’s case is measured far above the legal minimum wage. As a plastic products manufacturer, DBPL requires a more skilled workforce than the country’s garment industry, and is better prepared to pay a higher wage as a result. However, they did face challenges when it came to managing social performance in their supply chain. “It was a matter of concern,” explained Mumit, “during the construction work for the recent factory expansion, when a large number of construction workers were living and working inside the factory complex.” To address this challenge, DBPL provided support to the construction company to meet SA8000 Standard requirements, including providing PPE and worker training.
The SA8000 Standard offers a baseline for decent working standards, but there is always room to improve. We are so proud of the many certified companies that go above and beyond the requirements and use the SA8000 management system as a springboard to develop high-functioning and highly decent workplaces. DBPL’s experience is a great example of this attitude.
Even before pursuing SA8000 certification, DBPL and LC Packaging had introduced a variety of social programs to benefit workers, often in partnership with external stakeholders like NGOs or governmental organizations. In their case, an added benefit of implementing the SA8000 Standard was its framework for managing their other social initiatives in a centralized and systematic way. Some of the programs DBPL is most proud of are their “Happy Kids” daycare center for employees with young children; their “Happy Shop,” which stocks fair-priced necessities; an on-site infirmary with a full-time doctor and nurses; and their financial empowerment initiative for female employees (who make up 49% of their workforce). See these facilities and learn more about DBPL’s initiatives in their video Dutch-Bangla Pack Ltd – Commitment to our people.
On November 19, 2020, LC Packaging hosted an online event promoting sustainability and human rights in the packaging industry. You can watch all 4 sessions on-demand now, including—“Social Accountability – The Added Value of the SA8000 Certificate”—featuring SAI’s Rochelle Zaid and Abdul Mumit of DBPL.