Disposable consumables are an area that most suppliers don’t focus on. Often companies selling protective clothing and disposable gloves know very little about these products, or even don't care where they have come from!
If a product is cheap, something is always compromised somewhere in the supply chain. The biggest opportunity for a supplier to increase their profit is to change minimise factory and staff expenses. Quality is compromised when the factory and staff expenses are reduced due to the use of unskilled labour, poor working conditions, and shortcuts in quality control and testing. If we are not careful, we as users of disposable products are potentially helping subsidise labour issues.
Take for example a disposable glove, with factory and staff expenses making up around 18% of the glove, you can see how important they are to the quality of a glove. In 2015, the BMA Medical Fair and Ethical Trade group convened to tackle labour rights abuse in the medical (disposable) gloves manufacturing industry. Their report “In Good Hands," tackling labour rights concerns in the manufacture of medical gloves highlights that at present this sector should be considered at high risk of labour rights abuse.
Labour right issues can lead to an opportunity for deliberate or accidental contamination within the manufacturing process of disposable consumables especially gloves.
This is a major area of weakness in the supply chain. Expendable individuals may knowingly or innocently spread contamination during manufacturing work duties. High turnover, low wages, poor working conditions and difficulty in imposing security in glove manufacturing factories can leave products at risk; per headcount, each glove worker is responsible for producing over 2.5 million gloves each year. Read more on Bioterrorism Preparedness and safeguarding the supply chain written by Barry Michaels, a disposable glove expert.
Those involved in the supply chain for disposable consumables have the power, and some of the responsibility, to protect workers in their supply chain. This includes manufacturers, suppliers, purchasing organisations and end-users.
Eagle Protect is the worlds only certified B Corporation disposable glove and clothing specialist that is now Child Labor Free* to a manufacturing level for a specific range of products. We are committed to transparency in our supply chain and are endeavouring to partner with businesses that care enough about their products, their reputation, their staff and their customers, by sourcing their disposable gloves and clothing responsibly. Our Supplier Code of Conduct covers off areas such as forced and child labor, discrimination, hours of work, wages and benefits, H & S, environmental responsibility and traceability that are suppliers are to adhere by.
Read more about our company, our dedication to sustainability and waste reduction, how we are committed to supply chain transparency and how we can help you better protect your food, employees, customers and your brand.
*The organisation behind Child Labor Free has ceased offering accreditation renewal, effective December 2020.