Comercializadora Internacional Miguel Caballero S.A.S.
Comercializadora Internacional Miguel Caballero S.A.S. is a Colombian manufacturer and vendor of personal protective apparel and accessories. Created in 1992, the company commenced operations with the sale of products primarily in Colombia. Over the past five years, it has been implementing a strategy for regional expansion, chiefly to other countries in Latin America. Miguel Caballero currently sells to 30 countries, with exports accounting for 40% of its total sales. Its products are of certified quality in terms of design, technology, and innovation.
Through this operation, the IIC would partially replace the Company’s short-term debt with medium-term debt and finance its working capital needs.
Environmental and Labor Issues:
This is a category B project according to the IIC’s Environmental and Social Sustainability Policy because it could produce certain effects that may be avoided or mitigated by following generally recognized performance standards, guidelines, or design criteria. The main environmental and labor considerations related to the project are efficient resource use and pollution prevention, workplace and labor conditions, and community health and safety.
Miguel Caballero’s product line ranges from military, police, and security company uniforms to civilian apparel conceived with design and comfort in mind. The Company also has a line of protective clothing for motorcyclists and other special projects such as helicopter armor.
The Company has a factory in the La Florida industrial park, in Cota, where it designs and manufactures its products. It also subcontracts to Fundación Miquelina, a nonproft social agency in Bogotá that trains and employs socially marginalized, vulnerable women who are referred by the Comunidad de Religiosas Adoratrices, a religious order. The Company employs 174 people directly and 36 through Fundación Miquelina.
Miguel Caballero products have ISO 9001, BASC, and U.S. National Institute of Justice (NIJ) certification, CE accreditation, and certification from other such agencies in Argentina, Uruguay, the Netherlands, Bolivia, France, and other countries. Fundación Miquelina has ISO 9001 certification.
Liquid Waste Management: The factory obtains its water from the network that supplies the industrial park, which belongs to the municipality of Cota. The water is not for industrial use but is used mainly for the facility’s bathrooms. Wastewater from the bathrooms is channeled to the industrial park’s sewerage system, which is connected to the Cota municipal sewerage system. Hazardous liquid waste consists of the remains of paint and solvents, which are processed by a specialized company (Logística Ambiental D.F.V. Ltda.).
Air Emissions: The main air emissions from the Miguel Caballero factory come from the paint booths and curing ovens. Polyurethane and epoxy paint are used. The curing ovens run on gas. The booths are equipped with acrylic and foam filters; air from the booths passes through the filters and is discharged into the environment. Solvents are also used for glues and as degreasers. The workers who use these products are provided with the necessary personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, protective clothing, etc.), and the factory has a ventilation system that discharges directly into the atmosphere. Environmental air quality is monitored by the occupational risk administration (Administradora de Riesgos Laborales—ARL).
The factory’s new ultrasonic sealing equipment produces fiber emissions. The Company is working with ARL to find a solution to this problem. In the meantime, until a solution is found, workers using protective equipment are operating one machine at a time during special shifts.
Noise: Installation of the ultrasonic sealing equipment resulted in high noise levels. As with the fiber emissions, the Company is working with ARL to find a solution. This sealing equipment yields good results in terms of manufacturing quality and efficiency; the Company therefore wants to be able to install additional units. However, the issues of noise and fiber emissions must first be resolved and the solutions included in the Environmental and Social Action Plan for the IIC.
Waste Management: Most of the solid waste is nonhazardous and consists of manufacturing waste (mainly textiles) and packaging materials. Recyclable materials (cardboard, plastic, etc.) are separated from nonrecyclable materials; the latter are sent to a sanitary landfill by the industrial park’s services. The hazardous waste generated consists of the paint and solvent containers. These, along with the discarded products (vests) sent for destruction, are disposed of by Logística Ambiental.
Personal Safety and Emergency Response: Miguel Caballero’s industrial health and safety regulations indicate the types of risk to which workers could be exposed (physical, chemical, ergonomic, biological, mechanical, electrical, fire, psychosocial, etc.) and stipulate both the Company’s obligation to promote good practices and introduce adequate means of protection and the workers’ obligation to follow the procedures spelled out in the Company’s occupational health program.
The occupational health program details the processes, responsibilities, organization of the work, and available resources and defines the preventive medicine and industrial health and safety programs. It also includes policies and definitions related to alcohol, drugs, and environmental impact. In compliance with Colombian law, the Company has a joint occupational health committee (COPASO) that monitors and oversees the management of occupational health.
The Company has an emergency plan developed jointly with ARL, whose purpose is:
• To identify and assess risks
• To establish preventive measures
• To organize the human and material resources for emergency response
• To implement predetermined procedures
• To provide tools for safe evacuation
• To define safe locations
• To fulfill legal requirements
The plan defines the responsibilities of the emergency committee, the brigade chief, and the emergency brigade. The brigade is tasked with fire control, evacuation, and first aid. The emergencies it covers include gas leaks, bomb threats and bombings, earthquakes, fires, and spills. There is also a training plan for all sectors of the Company that covers risk prevention and emergency response.
Labor Practices: Miguel Caballero complies with national labor laws. Core labor standards include social security contributions and health insurance benefits, freedom of association, organization of workers’ unions, prohibition of forced labor, elimination of exploitative and abusive child labor, and nondiscrimination in the workplace. The minimum working age is 18, with the exception of apprentices, who do their practicums under an agreement with the national apprenticeship service (Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje—SENA). In addition to ARL coverage, all workers have medical coverage through a health insurance plan.
The purpose of the labor relations committee (Comité de Convivencia Laboral) is to promote fair and decent working conditions, fostering harmony and a good work environment. The committee, which has preventive and remedial functions in matters related to workplace harassment, the work environment, and workers’ mental health, is comprised of representatives of the workers and the employer. It meets periodically or in special session when an issue requires it.
Social and Community Issues: Miguel Caballero has signed a three-year agreement with Fundación Miquelina to hire skilled labor for manufacturing personal protective apparel. Through this agreement, the foundation improves the ability of the women rehabilitated by the Comunidad de Religiosas Adoratrices to enter the labor market. This order carries out its social mission by reeducating women involved in prostitution, enabling them to reenter society with dignity. The training is conducted jointly with the national apprenticeship service (SENA), which awards the graduates diplomas in dressmaking, embroidery, pastry making, cooking, cosmetology, hairdressing, and other skills. Fundación Miquelina manufactures sports apparel for Páramo, a United Kingdom concern, and has its own brand of school uniforms (Quiz), work uniforms (Que Camello), sports apparel (VIP), and embroidered goods. The foundation has a design department where its own brands and those of Páramo are developed.
Monitoring and Reporting: Miguel Caballero shall prepare an Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP) satisfactory to the IIC to ensure compliance with domestic regulations and the IIC’s environmental and workplace safety and health guidelines. The ESAP shall include the obligation to adopt measures to reduce fiber emissions and noise from the ultrasonic sealing equipment. It shall also include the preparation of an annual report with information on the implementation of these changes and the monitoring of environmental and workplace safety parameters.