method believes strongly in our culture of sustainability and seeks partners that share this vision and allow us to grow our positive environmental and social footprints.
we work with suppliers, partners and manufacturers in 7 countries and have key criteria for selecting which ones to work with, where they are located, and what practices must be met everywhere we work.
our philosophies are taken from the Global Reporting Initiative and Fair Trade, which lay out standards for fair labor practices. ISO 14001 is another standard which we utilize in our approach specifically around waste, water and energy usage. we also have put in place an audit procedure with all of our overseas factories, where method representatives are free to drop in at any time to assess environmental and working conditions.
the decision to work with any partner is not taken lightly, whether they are located in the US, in China, in Mexico or in Germany. our vision is to work with partners that allow us to maintain best practices on environmental practice and social justice, while benefiting from each partner’s particular strengths – be it their specific technical proficiencies, access to unique materials, expertise in domains we are entering, ability to deliver value on innovative products – and often a compelling mix of these factors.
achieving this vision can be a challenge. many people have legitimate concerns about human rights and environmental practices in some of the countries in which we have partners. China particularly has attracted great scrutiny over its record of human rights violations, notable episodes of lax product health standards, and a lack of appropriate environmental regulation. our efforts are focused on these concerns and ensuring we can avoid them.
we have designed a process to ensure that our work in the various parts of the world strives to meet our vision of sustainable production. first and foremost, we believe in working with partners that understand our vision and have the flexibility to adapt to our frequently unconventional requests. our process of identifying partners involves dialogue on their labor standards, environmental audits of their manufacturing processes, tracing the source of materials used in the process, and rigorous investigation of quality standards.
we evaluate the regions in which we produce goods, and are performing an environmental mapping of our supply chain where we seek to locate our production according to environmental sensitivities. for example, a more water intensive process would not be located in an area of constrained water supplies.
when we find the right partners, we work with them to improve on the priority criteria in our vendor sustainability survey. we see these relationships as the key avenue to improving the environmental and social practices in all of the areas of our business, and focus our efforts accordingly. for example, we have mapped out the pulping process for the bamboo fiber we are using in our new O-Mop boxes, and have found a supplier for the bamboo that specifies the region and plantations from which the bamboo comes, allowing us to ensure that it isn’t contributing to deforestation or other negative environmental implications. we have written into our contracts that we are permitted unannounced visits to the production facilities, and use these visits to perform internal audits to ensure that the agreed-upon labor standards and environmental standards are met.
by working with key partners to improve their environmental and social practices, we ensure that our production processes move to meet our vision for sustainable production, and crucially, also show these partners the business advantage in being able to incorporate environmental and social best practices, ultimately making them more attractive partners for other companies seeking their production capacity.
at method, we call ourselves people against dirty. that includes dirty labor practices, too.