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Quality and Sustainability


CSR GUIDELINES WITTMANN FURNITURE WORKSHOPS

The philosophy of our family run business which is now in its fourth generation, has been shaped by an awareness of quality and artisanship since its founding in 1896 as a saddlery. In the early 1960s, Franz Wittmann, the father of the current owner Ulrike Wittmann, took the decisive step of transforming the local saddlery into an international upholstery business. The decision, which was unusual for the time, to entrust designers and architects with the creations, is today a significant characteristic of the company profile. It is not the latest trend or loudest design that we are looking for, but rather it is the best seating and resting comfort that is the central focus of our development. A piece is only considered successful when the design is able to manifest elegance, balance and durability.

The re-editions of the great designs of Austrian architects and designers which, due to their timelessness and standards of quality are still valid today, are of great importance to us. With the Recreation, Josef Hoffmann, as well as the Re-edition Friedrich Kiesler, we wish to express our esteem for Austrian design culture.

Sustainability and durability are immanent principles of our company culture. The time which we invest in development and production means quality which endures. The decision for handcrafted production at the facility in Etsdorf, results for many reasons in the conservative use of resources and sustainability.

We consciously accept local responsibility. Our employees are trained on-site and often work with conviction for their entire lives for the company. It is not seldom that several generations are working in the company at the same time.

This personal and trusting relationship also exists with our trade partners. The circle is finally completed with our offer to our customers to be present during the final production of their upholstered furniture. The opportunity to learn about the details of their own furniture on-site, makes a genuine Wittmann into a unique item of furniture. Wittman furniture is acquired to be preserved and passed on to the next generation.

With our comprehensive competence in the areas of living, seating, dining and sleeping, we have been recognised partners in the area of contract-furnishing. For the furnishing of public spaces, handcraftsmanship, design without an expiration date and a high level of quality are particularly in demand, because the furniture must fulfil the highest requirements for quality, durability and room solutions.

A high degree of vertical integration and the resulting fast reaction to individual production requests, enable us to realise custom solutions for these demanding areas. Since every piece is, as always made by hand, it is natural to accommodate special wishes and develop custom made products for an object with high standards of quality and schedule reliability.

The Wittmann Furniture Workshops employ 120 employees. The export share is approximately 70 percent. Wittmann furniture is offered in more than 50 countries worldwide.

 Equality of all is a fundamental prerequisite of our actions. We have chosen in the present text, for the sake of readability, the masculine form of expression. Of course, the content is aimed at both genders


Environmental-Guidelines

We are committed to observing local environmental regulations and strive to make an active contribution to the reduction of environmental pollution, emissions and waste through the far-sighted handling of resources.

Through the conscious and careful handling of the materials and raw materials, as well as energy, water and supplies used in the production and administration, we contribute to the reduction in the consumption of these resources.

We are obligated to keeping the ecological impacts of our business activities at minimum over the entire life cycle. The production of exceptionally long lasting furniture has been common practice for us long before the market adopted this kind of expectation. We work continuously to find recycling possibilities for the material waste that occurs during production. It is important for us to carefully consider how to dispose of raw materials.

We strive to reduce the impacts of transport on the environment through carefully planned logistics.

The minimisation in the consumption of solvents is an important matter for us and this is achieved, for example, through the use of adhesives with a higher solids content or water based glues. We are committed to steadily increasing the percentage of FSC-certified woods.

We promote the active participation of our employees in our efforts to carry out our business activities with respectful regard to the handling of resources and the environment.

Our products are sustainable due to their handcrafted production and durability. We also greatly value the fact that our trade partners and customers have also decided to support such sustainability and we would like to achieve a sensitisation to this principle in our company communication.

We are obligated to regularly review these guidelines for their effectiveness and appropriateness and to adapt them as necessary.

Human Rights & Social Benefits – Guidelines

As an internationally active company we are committed to human and work rights as a natural part of our daily business.

We respect under all circumstances the internationally recognised standards of human rights. We have the good fortune to be rooted in a country which has the ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations.

Compliance with laws, the exclusion of child labour, the right to free choice of employment, equality, freedom of association and humane treatment are areas that are considered secured in Austria and in our company they are of course not only respected but practiced.

In the welfare state of Austria, employees have extensive opportunities and rights. The wages of individual professional groups are secured annually through collective bargaining. Adequate wages, salaries, fringe benefits and fair, accommodating working hours for the staff, are a matter of course for us.

The rights of pregnant women are also clearly defined in our country. Our company supports pregnant women and mothers in their life and work planning. The reconciliation of family values and professional life is of particular importance to us as a family company.

Our employees are provided clean, bright and safe workplaces. We provide our employees fringe benefits beyond the legal requirements (such as travel allowance, meal subsidy, …).

Employees have the right to have their concerns heard and to be involved in business decision processes in a timely manner.

We are obligated to regularly review these guidelines for their effectiveness and appropriateness and to adapt them as necessary.

Safety & Health Protection Guidelines

Our employees are our most important asset. We consider the fundamental labour laws as a minimum and not a maximum requirement. Our management is committed to provide a safe and healthy workplace and to take health and safety precautions in all work processes.

The staff at all levels of management take responsible care for the safety and health of employees.

A company doctor is regularly present and is available to employees for current concerns, but also for preventive health measures and vaccinations. Regular monitoring of all operational safety and health risks is made in consultation with the company doctor and the labour inspectorate.

The firefighting equipment in our factory buildings are regularly inspected by third parties as required.

Trainings ensure that all employees have the necessary skills to perform their work safely.

In the areas of production that require the wearing of protective clothing and equipment, the employees are of course equipped accordingly.

We ensure the safe storage and the responsible use of harmful substances.

Eventual work accidents and incidents are recorded and documented.

We invite our employees regularly to participate actively in sporting events and thereby want to motivate them to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

We are obligated to regularly review these guidelines for their effectiveness and appropriateness and to adapt them as necessary.

Anti-Corruption-Guidelines

Acting with integrity in business is the only sustainable option. Those who act with integrity in everyday business gain highly motivated employees and business partners with high principles.

Accordingly, we pay attention to transparent business relationships with partners that respect the principles of the UN Global Compact. One of these principles is:

Businesses should act against all forms of corruption, including extortion and bribery.

Under corruption we mean the abuse of entrusted power or resources for the purpose of personal gain or the benefit of the company.

We do not accept in our business any form of corruption or bribery and guarantee to reject undue gifts, payments or invitations and travel.

We are committed to compliance with applicable laws. The basis in the rule of law in Austria is the criminal law on corruption.

Under bribery, we understand the offer, the grant or acceptance of benefits (money or gifts), with which the briber aims to exercise an undue influence on the decisions or the behaviour of the recipient.

Bribery can assume many different forms, but usually takes place according to the principle “Quid pro quo” – a performance for consideration with the aim to exert undue influence. As corruption in this sense, the following acts shall apply:

  • Direct or indirect promise, offer or acceptance of benefits of any kind, with the aim of influencing an act.
  • Offer or acceptance of bribes, loans, fees, rewards or other improper benefits.
  • Help, donations or voting with the aim to achieve an improper influence or dependency.

We believe it is crucial, to question offers without exception in order to decide whether they are acceptable or unacceptable. The following questions should be considered:

  • Which intention is being pursued with an offer? Does it serve the building of a relationship or obtaining an improper influence?
  • Will the acceptance of the offer put the receiver in a situation in which he is committed or prepared to offer a quid pro quo ?
  • What reactions would be drawn, if it were made public, for example through the media?

The following actions are not permitted under any circumstances:

  • A “quid pro quo” (a service for a consideration) with the aim to exert undue influence
  • Gifts in the form of cash or non-cash vouchers
  • Entertainment of sexual or similar inappropriate type of contacts which serve the objective of undue influence

Usually, the following gifts are acceptable:

  • Modest occasional meals in connection with business transactions
  • Occasional participation in public sporting events, theatre performances and other cultural events
  • Gifts of small value or wine and floral gifts, for example in connection with an anniversary.