“With the celebrations around the 30th anniversary of our original business, we reflected on where the company came from, how we are essentially a family run business that has long held core ideals about the environment, community and social impacts. On top of this we have a relatively young workforce, to whom these social matters are important. So, it is only natural that these things formed part of our culture and have always played a part of what we do across all of our brands and divisions. Since 2017 we have been developing more formalised and consistent practices across our business, and we remain excited about working with our employees to enhance our social responsibility footprint.”
– Matt Hill, CEO
As a company with a focus on youth culture, a sustainable approach has long been part of our common workplace practices across our global operations. This includes the following general policies and practices, many of which we are continuing to develop:
- Minimising paper and cardboard use via practices such as printing controls and an active policy of reuse of cardboard boxes in our warehouses.
- Reusing materials where possible – this is very much in line with our lean approach to budgeting and cost control across the Company.
- Recycling waste to minimise landfill disposal.
- Continued work on increased energy efficiency including introducing various automated lighting, heating and cooling systems in our premises along with efficient light fittings.
- Responsibly sourced recycled paper used in all offices.
- Our web hosting company for this site uses offset sustainable energy.
- The use of recycled materials for packaging and swing tags is prioritised in production.
- Our offices and flagship retail stores collect used and broken skateboards so they can be reused or recycled via a network of skateboard charities and small woodworking companies.
- We are supporting a Victorian pilot footwear recycling scheme to encourage both our industry and customers to avoid sending old shoes to landfill.
- Due to concerns around animal welfare practices in global supply chains, Globe International has publically pledged not to use fur (including angora) in its products across all brands.
- As one the world’s largest manufacturers of premium skateboards, we clearly use a significant amount of wood in our production. In order to off-set the timber we use in our skateboard production, our goal is to engage in forestry efforts that replace far more than we consume.
To that effect, we are partnering with The National Forest Foundation (NFF) to donate to their tree planting program. The NFF is an American non-profit organisation who partner with the United States Forest Service, particularly in the area of restoring forest areas damaged by wildfire, drought and pests. The NFF has recently announced the ambitious goal to plant 50 million trees across National Forests by 2023 so we are proud to be making a contribution towards that effort. In 2019 our donation to the NFF will effectively plant over three times the amount of trees we harvest yearly in the making of our skateboards.
From the company’s earliest origins, there has been a philosophy in place to repurpose existing buildings rather than brand new development for our facilities. Globe International’s Melbourne headquarters in Port Melbourne is an exemplar of this with the recycling of a disused and dilapidated warehouse into modern offices and warehousing. Guiding the new fit out was both the re-use of existing materials on site and infrastructure from previous offices. As part of setting formal targets, our Australian operations joined the CitySwitch energy efficiency program in 2017. In order for our headquarters to go to completely renewable power, in 2020, a 265kWp solar power array was installed on site (See the video here).
At Globe we are committed to providing a safe and all-inclusive workplace for our employees. Each of our offices has a comprehensive health and safety program and we take seriously our policies with regards to equal opportunity and harassment. Our company has its roots as a family business and as part of that tradition, favour developing and promoting our junior staff to see them grow as part of our business, rather than recruiting externally for senior roles. Globe International provides staff with enhanced benefits including annual flu vaccination programs, a staff volunteer-leave scheme and is developing a broader approach to mental health support. Globe International has long sought to be a desired employer of first choice in its industry, and our ability to achieve this is evidenced by the loyalty of many of the company’s long term staff and a relatively low rate of staff turnover.
The vast majority of our products are manufactured in China, the USA and Mexico with long standing third party supplier partners. Other items representing less than 5% of overall production are produced in factories across Nicaragua, Italy, Slovenia, Vietnam, India, Bangladesh and Australia. At our dedicated partner skateboard manufacturing facility in Shenzhen, China, employee conditions, workplace safety and environmental standards have been audited by third-party specialists using a Sedex SMETA audit, most recently in May 2020. The Company’s Ethical Sourcing Policy sets out the minimum standards we expect from our suppliers and they are required to sign-off on this policy before trade commences. In addition, our sourcing employees are required to sign-off a similar policy requiring them to report back to management any work-practices that they observe which do not meet our expected standards. Our employees and suppliers are reminded annually of our minimum standards and their obligations in this area, particularly in relation to our policies around banning both child and forced labour along with the requirement to provide a safe workplace for all. Due to continuing grave and systematic labour rights violations in both Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, the company has pledged to not knowingly use cotton sourced from either of those countries’ cotton industries. A copy of our current Ethical Sourcing Policy is available HERE.
The Company sets out the minimum product safety regulations that its suppliers must agree to and ratify. These are set out in our Vendor Product Safety Agreement and deal with substances including lead, phthalates, azo dyes and other hazardous materials. The Company also undertakes third party testing of its products to ensure compliance with product safety regulations including those under the Regulation, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (“REACH”) in Europe and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (“CPSIA”) which is in force in the United States. General Certificates of Conformity can be viewed at our online database HERE.
Beginning with the Company’s Australian founders in the late 1970s, there has been a long tradition of promoting skateboarding talent and facilities. Globe International has continually invested in and encouraged the provision of skateboarding infrastructure, supported the annual Go Skateboarding Day along with the development of junior skateboarding and surfing in Australasia, North America and Europe. We believe that the provision of skateboarding facilities is a valuable outlet for young people and our executives and employees have spent many hours working behind the scenes with local councils to improve the provision of skate parks, particularly in Australia. Through our various brands, the company is also actively involved in assisting and donating to charitable groups connected to the skateboard industry, including Skateistan, SkateMate, Decks for Change, BoardsforBros and NextUp as well as smaller local efforts.
Globe International has a long track record of donating product to charity groups and local community organisations throughout our operating regions such as the Cancer Council Victoria, Brotherhood of St Laurance, Prahran Missions. The company has also directly supported other philanthropic organisations including the Sesame Street Yellow Feather Fund, which provides early education to millions of kids in need through projects like the WASH UP! Global Heath Initiative and Autism: See Amazing in All Children. A volunteer leave scheme for our Australian staff encourages further connections with our local communities and will be rolled out to our other regions.