Interview with Pallak Seth

Face2Face
Pallak Seth
Pallak Seth
Vice Chairman
PDS Multinational Group
PDS Multinational Group

As part of implementing the compliance program, where do you see is the biggest and toughest challenge? What according to you are the highlights of your social compliance program?

With every challenge, comes a hidden opportunity. Geographically speaking, the challenge is more or less the same in all countries. However, in some countries, there have been drastic changes based on certain local situations and the expectations from our customers also has become more stringent. It is a challenge to try and meet those requirements but as part of that process, we proactively implement these new trends in our other source bases also. We have been fairly successful in sustaining ourselves even in the tougher environment, and given the fact that we have a capable team we are confident of overcoming these challenges. Recently, we have initiated a process through partnership with NAVEX global. This provides a hotline feature for anybody to anonymously inform the Board about any violations they may find. Such issues can be brought to our notice by an employee/supplier/customer either through the phone line or website and this has a link from our home page also. This again adds to the checks and balances we try to incorporate in the system to ensure that our process is robust. In short we desire not just to succeed but to excel in what we do, and are continuously learning.

What according to you are the highlights of your social compliance program?

Recently, we have initiated a process through partnership with NAVEX global. This provides a hotline feature for anybody to anonymously inform the Board about any violations they may find. Such issues can be brought to our notice by an employee/supplier/customer either through the phone line or website and this has a link from our home page also. This again adds to the checks and balances we try to incorporate in the system to ensure that our process is robust. In short we desire not just to succeed but to excel in what we do, and are continuously learning.

How easy or difficult is it to assimilate the requirements of different brands into your standards and processes?

By and large the core of all compliance program is the same. Having said that, there are differences in the implementation where some brands focus on areas of HSE more while others may have a different take on employee benefits, etc: For us though, when we do our internal first cut audit, we look at all these areas with the same level of stringency so that even if we err, it is on the conservative side. Hence, we don't see a big difficulty in assimilating the differences into our processes. On the other hand, it gives us a lot of advantage and flexibility because when we audit a factory for "a" particular brand, we are also aware that the same factory could be a potential for another brand hence, this diversity really helps.

How do you see the current scenario for compliance in the South Asian apparel and garment industry? Is the awareness of this concept and its implementation satisfactory or is there room for improvement?

In any enterprise, there is always room for improvement. The industry is now responding positively to issues that have been encountered but we need to try and foresee what future risks can confront us. For ex: in the near future, carbon foot print from this industry could become a cause for concern given the huge logistics. Some brands/buyers/industry members have started this exercise but it is still not common place in compliance. Similarly, life cycle analysis of products from an environmental perspective, is still in infancy in this industry. So in terms of awareness and implementation, I feel based on today's needs there is a strong movement and there has been great progress but there is definitely room for improvement but these will come at a certain cost. The question is, will the ROI be viable in today's competitive world.
Published on: 08/07/2014

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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