’We don’t lose focus’

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Paulo Machado has been working at Riopele for 27 years. He has held various positions within the company, taking on responsibilities in critical areas such as leading the Quality, Environment, and Safety Department.

He believes that ‘the path in the field of environmental sustainability began decades ago’ at Riopele, ‘with very positive results’. However, considering that one of Riopele's major commitments is to reduce environmental impact by contributing to the creation of innovative and sustainable fabrics, Paulo Machado recalls ‘the increased level of requirements that have to be met’, and that Riopele aims to be at the forefront.

Do you remembre your first day at Riopele?

After almost 27 years, I remember it being a day with a strong emotional charge. I grew up hearing stories about Riopele, as much of my family worked for many years at this company. I remember visiting my grandfather's house as a child, and the joy with which he spoke about the factory and the pride he felt in taking his grandchildren to visit the company. My first day was marked by a mixture of joy, nervousness, and anxiety, but above all, an honour to start being part of this ‘Family’.

How has the company evolved throughout this period?

Making investments in R&D, digitisation, modernisation of machinery, and sustainability, as well as a strong focus on developing skills and ensuring the safety and health of employees, have allowed Riopele to become a reference company in the global market. The company's success is based on its great capacity for adaptation, flexibility, resilience, and sustainability.

You have already held several positions at Riopele, taking on significant responsibilities in critical areas such as Environment and Safety. What are Riopele's priorities in these domains, in particular?

Enhancing environmental protection, adopting prevention and mitigation measures aimed at reducing or avoiding negative impacts on the environment is the major challenge in the environmental aspect.

In the field of Safety in particular, the focus is on ensuring asset protection and maintaining safe and healthy workplaces. Promoting training and information on the risks associated with activities, emphasising prevention, compliance with safety conditions, and continuously improving self-protection measures, among others, are the major challenges in this area.

In short, we don't lose focus: promoting continuous improvement of our organisation's management system, environmental performance, safety and health of our workers, facility protection, and ensuring compliance with legal, regulatory, and customer requirements, extending this commitment to our suppliers is Riopele's major priority in these domains.

In the specific area of Environment, what new requirements have been requested, particularly by prestigious international brands that regularly work with Riopele?

Prestigious brands are moving towards a more sustainable model, reducing their environmental footprint. As such, they have defined a sustainability roadmap that sets ambitious commitments to drive down the environmental impact of the production chain. In other words, we have our major clients questioning us about the measures we have implemented and those we will implement to manage climate risks and meet their environmental requirements, particularly concerning water management, energy, waste, chemicals, and carbon footprint. Our goal is to continue advancing in reducing the environmental impact associated with our activities, aiming to achieve the targets proposed by our clients. Our journey in the field of environmental sustainability began decades ago with very positive results. However, we are aware of the significant challenges that await us, given the increased level of requirements to be met.

For a company that exports more than 90% of its production and aims to be a market leader, certification processes are essential. How does Riopele prepare for these moments?

Certifications of the management system are key tools for organisations seeking to improve their processes, products, services, and consequently, demonstrate to the national and international market their commitment to continuous improvement and customer satisfaction. An organisation that seeks to align itself with quality, environmental, occupational health, and safety standards, among others, gains a significant competitive advantage in the market by using global excellence standards. The involvement of top management is essential for employees to understand the changes and implement controls in their work routine.

The requirements demanded by the standard must always be present, as standardised operational processes ensure higher quality in services and products, resulting in customer satisfaction.

We must ensure that we assess all our processes and identify our risks. Through process review, we establish necessary controls and eliminate vulnerabilities. With all processes well-defined, risks are controlled, and the quality standard is continuously maintained. Periodically analysing the results of the Management System, reviewing its planning, and ensuring a detailed internal audit is a good way for us to adjust and improve our System.