The Office Times

Article: Lyreco targets social and environmental impact of its branded products

“Particular attention has recently been paid to the social and environmental impact of Lyreco branded products, which is incredibly important for the company and the whole industry.”

The Office Times spoke to Nasser Kahil following a recent SOfEA conference. Although Lyreco has not signed up for the project to establish an EU industry-wide eco-rating system, Kahil did not rule out future participation and is closely following progress.

“What SOfEA is looking to achieve is certainly interesting, but at the present moment we are still lacking concrete examples, such as how it will be communicated and the exact criteria used. Furthermore, the most relevant initiative with a long term perspective is the EU PEF / Product Environmental Footprint project. That’s the reason why Lyreco is a member of the technical secretariat of the Intermediate Paper Products, and we may join other pilots such as Detergents,” he explained.

In terms of sustainability, Kahil points to progress at all levels of the company – in line with the Lyreco Sustainability Strategy “Eco Future”. However, particular attention has recently been paid to the social and environmental impact of Lyreco branded products, which he sees as “incredibly important for the company and the whole industry.”

Lyreco has paid particular attention to the four most important high risk Corporate Social Responsibility issues for the office supplies industry, based on research by EcoVadis -an independent body that provides Supplier Sustainability Ratings for global supply chain. These are “customer health and safety”, “employee health and safety” and two issues relating to Sustainable procurement: “Suppliers & Environment” and “Suppliers & Social”.

Do these concerns highlight that the social and environmental aspects of private label products have been neglected? “In the case of Lyreco, neglected is not the right word, but we decided that it was necessary to take further measures to examine first-hand how our suppliers were performing when it came to following the criteria we set them. Our programmes and progress are by the way recognized by EcoVadis – as Lyreco was rated in January 2016 with the highest score in its business industry” says Kahil.

Lyreco’s suppliers must be in agreement with its “Supplier Code of Ethics”, which contains clear requirements in terms of Legal compliance, Human rights, Employment practices and Sustainability.

For Lyreco branded products, dedicated and on site audits are necessary for overseas suppliers. This is based on well-known standards such SA8000, BSCI and SEDEX, that covers a large number of areas such Child labour, Forced labour and Management Systems for HR.

In 2014, Lyreco achieved its objective in terms of “Supplier Social Audits” – as 100% of factories manufacturing Lyreco branded products in developing countries were audited. This programme continues to be central to its sustainability goals which Nasser Kahil is looking to take further.

“I believe that there is still a lot of work to be done in improving factories, particularly those located in developing countries such as China and India,” he explains.  “This is not just the case for the small manufacturers, but more surprisingly sometimes major suppliers, which should not be the case. As a frequent visitor to the Far East, what is striking compared to Europe is the contrast you can find in some factories. There are certain processes that can be excellent alongside examples of neglect. Lyreco will continue its endeavour to keep raising the bar in terms of standards.”


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