I am sometimes asked why Faber-Castell voluntarily signed a social charter, valid world-wide, that forbids discrimination and child labour in all its factories and guarantees all the other conditions of employment of the International Labour Organization (ILO). As a proponent of a social free-market economy, it is both an obligation and something I take for granted to face up to the challenges of globalization. In the tradition of responsibility that my great-great-grandfather confessed to with his pioneering social commitments, we provide humane working conditions around the globe and also help our employees to achieve a better standard of living and quality of life. That assures the long-term viability not only of our individual workers but also of the Faber-Castell group as a whole.
One does not need to be a visionary to realize how important it is to preserve natural resources for the generations to come. Wood and trees are an embarrassing topic in many circles. So it is all the more satisfying that nearly 25 years ago Faber-Castell initiated a forestry project which to this day counts as exemplary in the stationery business. Our 10,000 hectares of managed pine forest, the source of raw materials for our black-lead and colour pencils, have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as “environmentally compatible, socially equitable, and economically sustainable”.
Faber-Castell joined the United Nations ‘Global Compact’ in June 2003. That makes us one of the first medium sized companies to face up to the social, ecological, and economic challenges of globalization as part of a cooperative alliance between politics and private industry. I would be very pleased if more companies were to imitate the Faber-Castell example, bringing overworked words likes ‘sustainable’ to life with some practical deeds. To complement that, I also hope that politicians will continue to work on creating better conditions for responsible action on the part of industry.