16/01/2023 – Supply chain – digital complaints system — auf Deutsch lesen
Atlat’s software enables digital connection with workers worldwide
Backpack pioneer and sleeping bag expert Deuter has teamed up with start-up company Atlat to improve workers’ rights further down its supply chain in Vietnam.
In many supply chains little or no attention is paid to the human rights of workers. The Covid-19 pandemic only served to exacerbate the economic situation for many workers in the textile industry. In Vietnam, for instance, wage inequalities increased significantly during the Covid-19 lockdown periods. Even before the pandemic, factory workers in Vietnam often worked more than 50 hours overtime each month to cover their living expenses, despite increases in the minimum wage. In terms of overtime violations, Vietnam ranks well above the global average.
The idea behind having a complaints mechanism is to give workers throughout global supply chains the option of exercising their rights through a grievance procedure. But a complaints system can only be effective if workers are aware of it and can access it easily. Which is why Atlat has come up with a digital solution, creating a complaints mechanism centered around the worker.
Software with social impact
With Atlat, complaints can be submitted by workers via an automated chat function and tracked on a complaints platform by company employees. The language barrier is significantly reduced with the use of machine translation software.
CEO Josua Ovari explains: “The current state of the global economy highlights the significance of global supply chains. At Atlat, we have combined our passion and digital know-how to create software that has social impact. On the one hand, our software system is designed to ensure social justice for workers. And on the other hand, the German Supply Chain Duty of Care Act requires companies to have complaints mechanisms in place. And the upcoming European Supply Chain Act policymakers also seem to be in agreement on the importance of complaints mechanisms. In addition, we want to help companies like Deuter ensure workers’ rights are complied with further down the supply chain, and to improve working conditions in supplier companies above and beyond legal requirements. We are proud of our collaboration with deuter, which from the very first meeting was shaped by our shared values.”
Communication with indirect suppliers as well
Deuter brings with it a long history of responsible business practices: in 2021 it was granted Leader Status by the Fair Wear Foundation for the 10th year in a row; and in 2022 it was the recipient of the German Sustainability Award. But in an era of Covid-19 lockdowns, it has not always been possible to carry out factory visits. So Atlat’s digital complaints system is an effective way of keeping communications channels open with factory workers – not just with direct suppliers but also with workers at subcontractor firms.
Marco Hühn, Head of Quality Management, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Repair Service at Deuter Sport GmbH, says of the collaboration with Atlat: “Because Deuter has already achieved good results in monitoring workers’ rights with its direct manufacturing partners, it is now our objective to also monitor indirect suppliers more closely in order to live up to our responsibilities as a stakeholder in the global supply chain. Being able to submit complaints so efficiently means we can react to them more quickly and take corrective action sooner. Atlat makes that possible and we are excited to see how our first pilot projects take off.”
Video about the collaboration of Deuter and Atlat in Vietnam: