• Verification audits are also carried out every two years by an external monitoring committee. The participants are made up of an independent committee, including high-ranking representatives from IG-Metall and the international union BWI, as well as management representatives from Faber-Castell AG, representatives from the plants, works councils and local unions.
Over 15 years of successful cooperation have passed since then: Regular audits in the regions carried out jointly by union members and company representatives monitor compliance with the guidelines in the plants. For a long time now, the company has also been working to expand the Social Charter to include as many suppliers as possible. "Of course, we still face challenges", states head of quality control, Gisbert Braun. "The caste mentality in India makes it difficult to ensure equality among all employees. In China, employee representative bodies as we know them are still not common." A high level of sensitivity, perseverance and patience is required to identify and rectify grievances.
We face setbacks now and then – like on 5 November 2010, when a devastating fire destroyed the plant in Goa, India, and the workers were suddenly left without work. Bert Römer from IG Metall: "In some developing and emerging countries, the usual approach after an accident like this would be to simply give up the site in Goa and the people who work there. But Faber-Castell took a different approach. The workers continued to receive their wages, even though they were unable to produce pencils or erasers. This goes above and beyond the obligations that companies pledge to uphold with an international framework agreement."
Count Anton-Wolfgang von Faber-Castell adds: "For me, social responsibility isn't just a matter of course as a human being, but is also a matter of "integrity" as a businessman. It is ingrained as a core value of the brand and this value will remain at the heart of our company philosophy in the future."