Over the course of our 100-plus-year history, Samsonite has built a legacy of acting responsibly, honestly, and with integrity, and we are proud of the various sustainability initiatives that have been implemented throughout the company.
We recognize our responsibility to operate efficiently and aim to create high-quality products with a lower environmental impact. We also take good care of our people and seek to have a positive impact on the communities where we operate.
A RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS | RESPONSIBLE PRODUCTS | USING NATURAL RESOURCES RESPONSIBLY | LOOKING AFTER OUR PEOPLE | LOOKING AFTER THE WIDER COMMUNITY
A RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS
When Jesse Shwayder founded this company back in 1910, he introduced the Golden Rule as the Company's guiding principle: "Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You." In practice, this meant treating customers, employees, suppliers, and investors with fairness and respect, and being straightforward and transparent in dealings with others.
Code of Conduct explains our values and our commitment to ethical standards and legal compliance. All our employees are expected to act in accordance with these values and with all applicable laws. Each year, the Code is circulated to our employees worldwide as a reminder of this.
We own and operate our own manufacturing but also rely on third-party manufacturers. We therefore take steps to evaluate, address, and verify risks in our supply chain. Our supplier code of conduct - known as the Samsonite Ethical Charter - details the minimum that we expect from our suppliers. It sets out our vision for acceptable business practices related to workers' rights, working conditions, terms of employment, decent work, supplier systems, and worker protections. Compliance is a requirement for doing business with us and we conduct audits to make sure that our direct suppliers are operating in the manner that we have agreed.
We are reknowned for our high quality, durable luggage and accessories: we build our products to last. We are increasing the amount of recycled materials we use to create our products and are finding ways to incorporate responsibly and sustainably sourced materials.
We build our products to last. We know our consumers depend upon them being durable and hardwearing, which we make products that are designed to last, not contributing to the global waste problem. Our products are rigorously tested to ensure that they meet stringent standards. Consequently, if a problem occurs due to manufacturing defects in material workmanship, we make every effort to fix or replace it. Many of our products come with long warranties or even lifetime guarantees.
We use a number of recycled materials in our products. Recyclex™ is a hardwearing material made of 100% post-consumer recycled PET plastic bottles. In 2018, we launched 21 collections worldwide containing Recyclex™ and estimate that more than 30 million 500ml PET bottles were given a second life as a result.
When we manufacture our hard-sided suitcases, the process of starting up machines or switching colors creates small amounts of waste plastic. We decided to try to reuse it so we modified the composition of our polypropylene so we could include this post-industrial regrind material in our high-quality luggage. Samsonite's S'Cure Eco range was introduced in Europe in 2018 and is compromised of 90% post-industrial waste, enabling us to recycle around 100 tons of high-quality plastic in our own facility each year.
We are using new sustainable designs to tackle the issue of post-consumer waste. By using recycled and recyclable materials, we are working hard to reduce the impact that our products and packaging have on the environment. We continue to invest in research and development to identify light or stronger new materials and to develop efficiencies in product packaging.
USING NATURAL RESOURCES RESPONSIBLY
Climate change and resource scarcity represent a very real risk to the ability of humankind to thrive and survive. Samsonite supports the transition to a low carbon economy, and we are playing our part by seeking to understand and reduce our environmental impacts and our carbon footprint. This means reducing our demand for energy and water, creating less waste, and improving our we produce our products.
We aim to use energy as efficiently as possible and make investments to bring our energy use down. For instance, in 2018 we replaced the windows and the heating system in our Hungary factory to improve thermal efficiency, and we have switched around 40% of our retail stores and 60% of our offices to low energy LED lighting.
To further reduce our use of fossil fuels, we have installed rooftop solar voltaic panels on two of our manufacturing sites, in Belgium and India.
We monitor the generation of hazardous and non-hazardous waste at our plants and are required by local laws to report regularly on our waste generation and disposal. We have taken steps to identify and remove surplus waste from our processes and remain intent on reducing our waste further. We anticipate that our waste will continue to drop over time.
LOOKING AFTER OUR PEOPLE
At Samsonite, we know that people make the difference. We invest in our colleagues, helping them grow through training programs, succession planning, and promoting from within. The long tenure of so many of our people is a testament to the fact that we take care of them: they are our greatest asset and we treat them as such.
We have a workforce of approximately 14,400 corporate, sales office, distribution center, manufacturing, and retail staff. We aim to attract and retain the best talent across all regions, provide meaningful development opportunities, reward and recognize performance, and ensure a safe working environment, while promoting and supporting employee health and well-being.
The wellbeing of our people is of paramount importance. We follow established procedures to ensure compliance with applicable occupational health and safety laws and regulations. We believe that safety awareness is one of the best ways to prevent accidents and every employee receives basic safety training before they being work at one of our sites. This includes alerting people to any potential hazards and providing guidance in what to do in an emergency.
At Samsonite, we are committed to a policy that promotes both equal employment and advancement opportunities. We welcome people from all walks of life and strive to be a place where the most qualified people want to work, where employees are hired and advanced based on merit, and where there are widely available opportunities to develop within the business.
We want our employees to thrive with us and view personal development as central to achieving that. Whether it is on-the-job training, formal professional development, or the support of a good manager, we want to invest in our people and help them to grow their skills and knowledge, enabling them to be more proficient at the tasks that their role requires. Not only does this boost productivity, it also increases job satisfaction helping us retain talent by encouraging people to build a rewarding career with us.
LOOKING AFTER THE WIDER COMMUNITY
At Samsonite, we are committed to making a difference on social issues and to giving back to our local communities. Whether it is by supporting charities, or donating our time or products, we know that philanthropic efforts can make a meaningful difference.
For over a century, Samsonite has been protecting people's possessions as they travel the world. Today, we want to protect and preserve the beautiful planet we all share, and to take care of the most vulnerable among us. Decisions about the most effective ways to contribute to our communities are made and implemented locally. However, wherever in the world we operate, we share a desire to do three things: protect Earth's beautiful places; promote wellbeing; and empower vulnerable communities.
We are passionate about reversing the negative impacts of deforestation and, during 2018, we estimate that the projects we support planted more than 228,000 trees. These projects have great potential to protect endangered species, prevent the degradation of ecosystems, and increase the ability of forests and planted areas to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. They also enhance quality of life for people living in or near these landscapes, as well as providing valuable habitats for wildlife.
We choose to support a range of organizations that work to prevent and treate physical and mental issues. One such partnership is with Crisis Text Line, a free, round-the-clock service provided in the USA to connect people in crisis with trained counselors via text. One of our brands, Speck, produces smartphone cases and covers and we are well aware that our phones can be a lifeline in times of personal crisis.
We are committed to empowering vulnerable communities by supporting programs that help individuals, families and communities around the world to thrive. As a luggage business, one of the most influential ways we can support our communities is by donating bags and luggage to those in need.
ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL & GOVERNANCE REPORT
You can find Samsonite's full Environmental, Social, and Governance reports below: