This is Part 1 of an 8-part series on OrthoLite’s EHS program: a premier initiative in the footwear industry for safety, empowerment, and social responsibility.
Environmental Health and Safety–EHS for short–is far too bland a title for one of our most passionately executed programs.
Here at OrthoLite, we thrive in innovation. We push for excellence. And we excel in manufacturing and customer service. We also appreciate that none of those things exist without the people who bring them to life.
Everything we do is intrinsically, literally, and figuratively tied to the individuals that make it happen. It sounds so obvious, yet many manufacturers choose different social philosophies or operating protocols.
At OrthoLite, we believe in the symbiotic relationship between our organization and our teams. It is a relationship where both parties should benefit and flourish. With that guiding philosophy, it becomes our honor, our priority, and our responsibility to be an excellent partner to the people who choose to work with us.
We have an internal slogan to capture our culture: Ortholite CARES.
OrthoLite CARES is the gravitational force and guiding principle of our global EHS program. These five elements genuinely matter to us–as individuals and as an organization.
First and always, we are committed to the well-being and empowerment of our employees.
- It represents who we are and what we’re motivated every day to achieve.
It guides our choices and our actions.
- For our teams, who are intrinsic to our spirit and our operations, we are relentlessly committed to their safety and whole person well-being.
- We are relentlessly committed to a safe and healthy environment in the workplace, the communities in which we operate, and the planet we share and will leave to our children.
- We are relentlessly committed to applying science-backed solutions and evolving our operations as science itself evolves.
Above all, we are guided by our own principles to be accountable and respectful to all people–especially our teams–whose lives are touched by what we do.
Guided by principles. Empowered through respect.
Leading by Example
“The primary objective is to protect our people and our planet,” explains Richard Bevan, VP of global operations at OrthoLite. “We do that through having a clear path for continuous improvement and by empowering every individual.”
OrthoLite’s EHS program can be loosely categorized into five categories:
- Risk Reduction and Workplace Safety
- Individual Empowerment
- EHS as a Social and Environmental Effort
- Community Engagement
- Supply Chain Transparency and Confidence
Fire safety training at OrthoLite Indonesia
Risk Reduction and Workplace Safety
The motto at every OrthoLite factory is, “Think safe. Work safe. Arrive home safely.” It is our responsibility to provide the tools and proper training that our team needs to make this motto a physical reality. For accountability, we measure our effectiveness through both leading and lagging indicators.
“Our teams work with leading key performance indicators that proactively serve to improve the environment and improve our workplaces,” said Bevan. “It’s more preventive and solution-oriented than lagging indicators. Those are, of course, important, but they basically tell us where we have been and how we have done things before. That proactive spirit amongst our teams and our people is supported by all our general managers. It’s really what makes this place tick!”
Bevan continued, “We have reporting systems in place for every team member to suggest improved safety opportunities and to capture when an incident occurs. We make sure corrective actions are in place. Then we follow up with solutions, training and motivation for people to want to do just that little bit more for next time.”
In a system grounded by integrity and respect, the OrthoLite EHS program is designed to empower every individual to maximize their work experience, their overall wellness, and their career advancement.
This means that every team member is encouraged, systematically and through rewards, to contribute to the safety effort. It also means that OrthoLite provides wellness initiatives, like: onsite medical clinics; language lessons to boost career opportunities; and regionally-specific needs, like a snake avoidance clinic for those walking to work at our India location.
With OrthoLite currently operating factories in five countries, cultural relativity and sensitivity is a hallmark of our EHS program. Each factory EHS lead has authority to determine practices based on the regional cultural mores and practices.
EHS as a Social and Environmental Effort
Many efforts that ensure a clean and safer working environment for our teams also contribute toward cleaner and lower impact choices on the environment. The two are interlinked.
- Minimizing waste and recycling pre-consumer production materials,
- Diligent chemical management practices
- Solar panels (installed at our Vietnam factory) that help cool the production floor and lower reliance on nonrenewable energy sources
- Wastewater management and overall water usage management.
Community engagement at OrthoLite Indonesia
“Community engagement shows who we are,” said Bevan. “We don’t just care about our own people; we care about every individual we interact with. We see a great benefit in putting ourselves out there in the local communities through acts of service, education, providing needed tools, and more.”
In addition to contributing time and investment in the community, local engagement is an opportunity for people to understand what kind of a company OrthoLite is: to understand who is operating in their town.
“Genuinely engaging in the community means that we are living our values, not just waving around a piece of paper with a set of intended values printed on it. That makes a difference.”
Supply Chain Transparency and Confidence
OrthoLite is proud to share a transparent view of our EHS program with existing and potential brand partners. As an ingredient brand in the supply chain, our social responsibility reflects on their own.
Partnering with OrthoLite delivers more than premium comfort and performance. It provides confidence that your social supply chain respects the dignity and well-being of each individual along the way.
Regional Operations; Global Collaboration
In part two of this series, we’ll cover the nuts and bolts of how our EHS initiative is organized. With over 3,700 employees across five factories in five, diverse countries, we have a dedicated EHS lead in each factory. Those leaders are empowered to design and implement programs suited to their team and their unique manufacturing needs. They are accountable to their teams, and also to our global EHS lead.
What Bevan has fostered is an ambitious and motivated EHS crew who are genuinely excited to learn from their peers and generate new ideas for other factories to implement.
“I’m incredibly proud of my team. I love to hear when project teams from different factories have worked together on a certain problem,” said Bevan. “They have mitigated risks. They have looked forward to how we can prevent accidents, and how we can improve the environment for the people we work with. It’s a spirit of community and care that truly embodies who we are as a company.”