5.4 Chain responsibility
Accell Group is an important player in the value chain of the bicycle sector and therefore in a good position to encourage sustainability among parties on both the supply side and the distribution side.
Key aspects at suppliers are compliance with human rights, sound employment practices and environmental protection. In addition, working with chemical substances and compliance with legislation for the registration of chemical substances (REACH) are an important priority. Chemical substances are used to paint parts such as the frame and the front fork, and they are also found in plastic bicycle parts, such as saddles and hand grips.
Figure: Value chain
Compliance with human rights, sound employment practices and environmental protection
Accell Group has its own code of conduct for suppliers and all suppliers are asked to sign the code. Accell Group has teamed up with the WFSGI (World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry) and launched an initiative to make the supply chain more sustainable. In 2012, the WFSGI set up a taskforce with Accell Group as its chair. The task force has been given the task developing of a sector-wide audit-approach to make the supply chain more sustainable. The premise of the approach is that the bicycle industry, in cooperation and consultation with the suppliers, wants to help improve the supply chain, using the WFSGI code of conduct as the substantive basis for any changes. The industry also wants to avoid double audits and audit-data is shared via the Fair Factory Clearinghouse (FFC) platform. The task force is due to complete its pilot project in early 2016 and will subsequently expand the initiative to include other players in the bicycle sector under the name RSI – Responsible Sport Initiative / bicycles.
Accell Group constantly works on streamlining the supply chain. At the moment, Accell Group companies and their wholesalers together have more than 500 relevant suppliers of products and parts. Accell Group generates substantial turnover with around 130 of those suppliers. In the coming years, Accell Group will audit its main suppliers in accordance with the RSI. The initial focus will be on the approximately 100 suppliers. Our ambition is to conduct 15 audits a year ourselves. Additional information from a greater number of other suppliers will become available via the FFC audit platform.
In 2015, pilot audits were conducted at five Accell Group suppliers. The key findings from these audits were: poor administration, including hour registration and permits, exceeding legal working hours / overtime at certain times of the year , overdue maintenance on the buildings, incorrect storage of hazardous substances and insufficient attention to emergency escape routes and fire prevention.
Following the audits, the findings were summarised in Corrective Action Plans (CAP), in which priorities and timelines are drawn up on the basis of urgency. We will subsequently follow up together with the suppliers to improve in line with the CAP. We will check the progress regularly and outline additional actions where necessary in order to realise the agreements.
Accell Group complies with REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances) and aims to work only with registered substances, under the right conditions and with the right protective measures in place. Where possible, we work with alternative substances without hazardous components. Accell Group does not use chrome-plated frames. The paint shops use 100% water-based paints.
REACH testing lab
In 2012, Accell Group set up its own testing lab to check whether components and parts comply with legislation. Accell Group has its own toxicological testing protocol that combines the relevant REACH and national legislative requirements.
Regular updates of lists such as the Candidate list SVHC (Substance of Very High Concern) are included in the toxicological testing protocol immediately. If necessary, we add additional validation tests. We test existing and newly specified articles on the basis of risk-assessment. Accell Group asks its suppliers to sign a REACH compliance statement.
In 2015, we tested around 350 new items according to the Accell Group toxicological test protocol, during which more than 8,000 analyses were carried out. In 2015, the focus was on testing accessories and clothing. In 33% of tests, the results led us to initiate discussions with the supplier. The main deviations were found in the use of incorrect fire-retardant materials, softeners and PAHs, which are frequently used in production processes. We looked for alternatives together with the supplier. Where these were not available, we have opted for an alternative product.