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Meet Francesca Giometti: Championing Safe & Ethical Apparel Production

Francesca Giometti, Senior Environmental Advisor & Training Manager, is the lead instructor of the Eurofins | AQM Covid-19 Prevention in the Workplace online course.

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M Hi Francesca, tell us a bit about yourself! How did you become an expert in environmental and social issues in the textile and apparel industry?

F After graduating in Environmental Sciences and Policy from the University Sciences Po Paris, I started working for a French retailer in the CSR department at the head office in Paris. Even if it was interesting to understand how a CSR strategy is shaped and communicated internally, I was much more excited when I arrived in Bangladesh where I could visit the production sites and understand the real CSR challenges faced in the supply chain! In Bangladesh, I joined the company AQM, a service provider in auditing and inspection for the textile industry acquired by the group Eurofins in June 2019. 5 years ago I was in charge of the environmental audit service. We were starting from scratch with environmental audits. I had to build-up a standard and audit protocol, test it on-site and improve it with the experience visiting factories in Bangladesh, India, China, Cambodia and Turkey! Along with our environmental audit service, we decided to develop as well a training service to support the industry in understanding the environmental challenges specific to textile production.

M  You will be teaching 2 courses on MOTIF,  “COVID-19 Prevention in the Workplace” course and “Wastewater Management and Introduction to ETP”. Why did you want to create them?

F When I was visiting the factories with wet processes in Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, etc. I rapidly noticed that one of the most critical environmental challenge was the treatment of the wastewater. Many factories have their own Effluent Treatment Plants (ETP) but still many of them are not operating properly their treatment plants. The operators are not always well qualified, the factory tries to reduce the expenses related to the treatment, there is no testing process for the water quality after treatment, the ETP is not maintained regularly, etc. Other factories are switching from chemical to biological treatment but this transition requires an important investment and commitment from factories: more land, an increased energy supply, more qualified operators, an accurate monitoring of this advanced treatment process, a continual treatment plant operation 24h/24 and more. Therefore I wanted to create a dedicated advanced course about understanding the wastewater challenge in the textile industry and provide guidance about how to implement good practices for the ETP operation and management.

Regarding the “COVID-19 prevention in the workplace” course, as soon as the crisis started, at Eurofins | AQM we considered it was a priority to develop learning material to help the industry to resume operations safely on six aspects:

  1. 1. Readiness for reopening and legal compliance
  2. 2. Infection disease preparedness and response plan
  3. 3. Implementation of preventive measures and workplace controls
  4. 4. Policies and procedures if any employee is suspected to be infected
  5. 5. Employee awareness and training
  6. 6. Business continuity planning.

M What are the benefits of taking these courses?

F Taking the Wastewater & ETP Management course will enable leaners to understand why the water pollution and wastewater treatment is a critical challenge for the textile industry and will help them clearly identify the key requirements for the implementation of a robust management system to operate the ETP.

The Covid-19 Prevention in the Workplace will provide learners with a very detailed and exhaustive list of actions and approaches to be adopted in terms of health & safety precautions to prevent the spread of the virus in the workplace. From the “Premises cleaning and disinfection” process to the “Action plan in case a person is or might be infected”, the learner gets a comprehensive understanding of the scope of a virus prevention strategy in the workplace and helps ensuring no aspect remains overlooked in ensuring the safety of workers while enabling the business to still operate.

M Are your courses best suited for individuals or teams? For which type of organisations?

F The Wastewater & ETP management course is aimed at textile factories’ compliance managers, environmental managers, ETP (Effluent Treatment Plant) managers and operators – retailer & brand compliance /CSR managers.

The COVID-19 Prevention in the Workplace is geared to a broad audience. It is particularly well-suited for factories general managers, health & safety managers, compliance managers, team / line supervisors, production managers and brands / retailers’ employees.F

M What is special or unique about them?

F These courses are based on Eurofins | AQM in-depth knowledge and experience of the factory environment. In particular, we want our courses to be very pragmatic and concrete. We focus on showing case studies and good practices observed on-site in different textile production countries. We definitely want to be as much as possible close to the reality faced by the production sites.

M How did you build the course? In what ways did you work with MOTIF?

F Eurofins | AQM brings deep expertise and knowledge about specific topics such as the wastewater treatment in the textile industry and the identification of relevant health & safety precautions to be implemented on-site to face the virus threat. MOTIF guided us to shape this learning material in the right way to optimize the learner’s retention of knowledge and their experience taking the course.

M Could you share any advice to learners taking your courses so they make the most of it?

F I suggest to try to finish the whole course before a certain deadline of a week or 2 maximum in order to stay focused on the topic and to help yourself try to go through the whole course in a given time for a more efficient learning experience. In particular, we suggest the learners to “use” the learnings/checklists provided in the courses when they visit factories as this will reinforce their knowledge and understanding of the topics.

M A word of conclusion or food for thought for our readers? 

F I am convinced every single effort to learn about the social & environmental impacts of the textile industry and to take action – whatever is the scale of this action – is an important step for the whole industry shift to a better future!

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