COVID-19 OVS RESPONSE
OVS has always placed people’s safety above all else, a commitment that, when faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, led us to take immediate action for the health and welfare of our employees and the entire Supply Chain.
Continuing to work in safe conditions
A dedicated team. The Company Covid-19 Emergency Council was set up immediately, in March, to respond appropriately with adequate protective measures and to implement clear preventive guidelines that ensure the continuation of commercial activities in terms of health, safety and welfare for all OVS personnel, clients and external people who have access to the company.
OVS provided free personal protective equipment to all its employees in sufficient quantities to cover both the working environment and the personal / family sphere and set up, at its own expense and on a voluntary basis, a rapid testing campaign for all its employees: one when they returned from their summer holidays and others during the autumn, in response to rises in the number of infections in the country.
A programme for the daily sanitation of the workplace was laid out to ensure proper cleanliness and hygiene in all the operating locations and points of sale.
To ensure business continuity, OVS quickly turned into a resilient organisation responding with an agile emergency work plan that, over the next year, will become a real integrated smart-working plan within the employment contract.
Well aware of its role in containing the spread of the virus in Italy, OVS has also activated rigid prevention and sanitising protocols in its stores. Each store has made sanitizing gels and masks available to employees and customers. The internal procedures have been integrated with specific protocols, defined by the Company Covid-19 Emergency Council, which regulates various activities: the use of protective equipment for both staff and customers; the mode of access to the stores; in-store hygiene; trying clothes in the changing rooms; the sanitisation of returned items; and the receipt of the goods.
Production chain: support and responsible impact
The changes that OVS was forced to make to its Supply Chain because of the eruption of the pandemic in March 2020 have taken into account the continued dialogue with suppliers, the payment of goods in production and finished, the containment of the economic and social impact on suppliers and textile workers and their families.
In 2020 OVS did not cancel any previously confirmed order, thus limiting cancellations to less that 5% of the originally planned merchandise, which were mainly postponed to the next seasons. These cancellations concerned items for which no production phase had been started by the supplier, thus avoiding negative economic impacts. Definitive cancellations of goods originally planned amount to 0.6%.
The almost total lack of income in March 2020, caused by the complete closure of stores, the sharp decline recorded in April because of the lockdown and the resulting delays for shipments also caused a delay in payments. Such measures were agreed with all suppliers and were well understood by them, thanks to the transparent and fair approach that OVS has towards its supply chain and it was possible to contain them to the extent of 16% of the orders.
Thankfully no OVS supplier was forced to permanently close their production facilities.
In a wide and articulated supply chain, each of our manufacturers cannot completely cover its needs through OVS production alone, but also depends on a large extent of orders from other brands. For this reason, although we act with a full sense of responsibility, trying to limit the impact on our production sources, we have detected, through a specific survey conducted in collaboration with over 300 suppliers, some negative effects occured during the year.
In particular, the production workforce was reduced by around 7% and during lockdowns there were delays in the payment of wages for around 11% of the workforce with an average delay of around 10 days (with peaks of 100 days).
As a further impact on the supply chain, we note an average reduction of around 8% in FOB costs, due to the redefinition of the product mix induced by the different purchasing trends of our consumers, who over the last 12 months have reduced their shopping of outerwear products and privileged product categories linked to homewear.
Solidarity and support for the local community
In this historic period with a global health emergency, OVS took action to support the community and the most vulnerable groups in the fight against Covid-19.
OVS has an unbreakable bond with the city of Venice and its community, where it has its headquarters, and immediately reacted with donations and clear choices in deciding to give a significant sum of 120,000 euros to the SS. Giovanni e Paolo Public Hospital to purchase equipment to expand the ICU.
Additional donations of underwear and pyjamas were made to medical staff and patients in the hardest hit hospitals in Lombardy.
OVS has also established an internal solidarity fund financed by its managers to help employees and partners who have been the hard hit by the extraordinary crisis.
Consistently to the sacrifices made necessary, no dividends were distributed by the Company in FY 2020.
Partnerships & Collaborations
OVS has remained in constant contact with its suppliers through the employees in the sourcing offices that monitor the situation on the ground.
In this historic period OVS considers its adoption of the HIGG platform, developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, highly strategic in guaranteeing the effective monitoring and management of the social and environmental impacts of suppliers, at a time when there are severe limitations on movement.
Finally, to respond to the crisis proactively, OVS has joined the Circular Fashion Partnership promoted by the Global Fashion Agenda that has among its objectives, alongside the promotion of a circular production model, the creation of an optimization system for the fabric stock in Bangladesh caused by the lockdown and the general reduction in orders by some brands.
We are aware of the role that we can have in taking care of a more sustainable future for the environment.
Shops are our window onto a better world, built on respect for the environment and care for the people around us.
With this inaugural sustainability report, OVS begins an important journey of sharing.