Corporate Social Responsibility plays an important and permanent role at Difrax. In 2020, we aligned our existing social initiatives with the United Nations Sustainability Goals. In 2021, we intend to further define and meet these goals.
At Difrax, we believe that sustainable trade is very important for both employees and the environment. That is why we produce nearly all of our products in factories with a social compliance certificate, such as amfori BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative, www.amfori.org).
We pay regular visits to our factories and have them externally audited by amfori BSCI and other accredited testing agencies. The amfori BSCI audits help us monitor the factories for proper working conditions and compliance with environmental regulations. Difrax reinforces, involves and supports our manufacturers in this, so we can continue to make the entire chain more transparent and sustainable!
We also strive for and contribute to a better society. That is why we support 4 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals are based on global input from organizations and individuals. They were launched in 2015 and will continue until 2030.
Difrax supports the following goals:
● Healthcare for all (goal 3)
● Equal rights for men and women and empowerment of women and girls (goal 5)
● Inclusive economic growth, employment and decent work for all (goal 8)
● Responsible consumption and production (goal 12)
Goal 3: Healthcare for all
Globally, every year, six million children still die before the age of five. In the Netherlands, 10% of the approximately 170,000 babies born each year have a bad start, too. Premature birth is the biggest cause, but three babies a day also die before, during or shortly after birth because of congenital defects or a birth weight that is too low.
Difrax supports Strong Babies (https://www.strongbabies.nl/) in their efforts to reduce this percentage and to prevent this great and immense grief among parents.
We also support Oxfam Novib's Ondernemers voor Ondernemers (Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs) program (www.oxfamnovib.nl). This program grants women microcredit so they have sufficient means to take good care of their children.
Finally, we pay careful attention to the welfare of our factory workers. That is why we regularly check our factories for a safe and healthy working environment. This includes good and clean sanitary facilities, but also first aid training and the presence of clear working instructions for the machines.
Goal 5: Equal rights for men and women and empowerment of women and girls
The empowerment of women and girls is an important and powerful theme at Difrax. For this reason, one of the organizations we warmly support is Free a Girl (www.freeagirl.nl). They free underage girls from prostitution, help these girls reintegrate into society, work to prevent prostitution and defend women’s rights.
Oxfam Novib (www.oxfamnovib.nl) also builds the empowerment of women by granting them microcredit through the Ondernemers voor Ondernemers (Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs) program. With these loans, women can work on building a future for themselves.
Women are well-represented in our factories. Almost two-thirds of the employees in our factories are women, and more than half of our management positions are held by women. The Difrax team in the Netherlands is also predominantly female: no less than 85% are women!
Vivienne van Eijkelenborg—awarded Businesswoman of the Year in 2016—is personally committed to supporting female entrepreneurship. By creating awareness and coaching female entrepreneurs, she strives to contribute to this cause.
Goal 8: Inclusive economic growth, employment and decent work for all
In a global market, supply chains are becoming increasingly complex. Now more than ever, companies need to increase the transparency of their production process and improve their supply chains where possible.
Amfori BSCI has formulated a code of conduct with 11 principles, ranging from equal pay to no child labor. These principles help to promote sustainable trade within a company. The amfori BSCI platform supports manufacturers with up-to-date webinars, live workshops and training in their home countries. Also, in 2019-2020, amfori BSCI worked on a publication about living wages, responsible sourcing and human rights.
Difrax constantly tries to innovate and stay up to date in this fast-changing world. We share our knowledge by providing training workshops for maternity nurses, and we use feedback from healthcare professionals to improve our products.
We also try to motivate scholars and students by offering them internships in various departments within our organization. We learn from their innovative and refreshing view of the world, and our interns gain a solid foundation for their future careers. A true win-win situation!
Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production
At Difrax, we believe that sustainability is essential. For the world of today, but also for the future. We therefore continuously strive to make the best possible choices for our products by using the most sustainable packaging and materials. Our packaging contains as little plastic and as much paper or cardboard as possible.
The packaging window is precisely big enough to see the product, and hygiene is guaranteed because the product cannot be touched.
Together with our manufacturers, we constantly seek out sustainable solutions. For example, we replaced the plastic bags in the cardboard boxes used for transport with paper bags. We also prefer sea freight to air transport and try to fill up our containers as much as possible.
When selecting (raw) materials, we mainly focus on the safety and hygiene of every product. We only choose the best materials for your baby and the environment. For our anti-colic S-bottle, we use the following sustainable materials: polypropylene, silicone and borosilicate glass. For our pacifiers, we only use polypropylene and silicone.
Our Anti-Colic S-bottles and pacifier shields are made of polypropylene. This material is fully recyclable and 100% safe. It is also free of BPA and softeners. Besides being recyclable, polypropylene also has a few other advantages. It can withstand large temperature differences, it is resistant to bacteria and molds, and it can be sterilized with steam. Polypropylene also has a long lifespan, which makes it possible to reuse the parts. In short: it is extremely suitable for baby bottles and pacifiers!
Our glass Anti-Colic S-bottles are made of strong and durable borosilicate glass. It is made out of 100% natural minerals and is lead- and BPA-free. Borosilicate glass is lighter than regular glass, and the coefficient of expansion is lower. As a result, it can withstand temperature differences and has an extra-long lifespan. That is why this type of glass is also used in laboratories. Our glass bottles are impact-resistant, lightweight and durable.
Because of its many advantages, at Difrax, we consciously choose silicone for our bottle teats and pacifiers. Silicone is taste-, odor- and allergy-free. Silicone cannot be recycled, but it is environmentally friendly and sustainable because it is easy to clean, less likely to crack and weather-resistant.
At Difrax, we are committed to delivering consistent quality. We can guarantee that with silicone, but not yet with rubber. At this stage, natural rubber still needs the addition of chemicals to make it usable, which makes the production process too harmful to the environment. Natural rubber also has certain characteristics, such as smell/taste, deformation/coloring and allergy sensitivity, which is why we currently believe that silicone is a more suitable material for our products.
However, we closely follow the development of sustainable (raw) materials, production processes and recycling methods. When a new, innovative material or production process presents itself, we investigate the possibilities thoroughly and carry out tests to find out if it is suitable for our baby products. This way, our products and the production process become increasingly sustainable!