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Colombia: A partnership making a difference

I was given a guided tour of the Reckitt Benckiser Colombia factory today by Octavio. I finally saw how RB products are made and reviewed the improvements that have been made to the workplace environment. I had to put on safety boots, a hair net, safety goggles, and ear plugs, and wash my hands with soap (Dettol, of course) before entering.

Angel and me with all the health and safety equipment on for the RB factory tour

I got to see how Vanish liquid and soap are made. The raw ingredients are delivered in barrels, then stored in big tanks. Next they’re mixed together and then large technical machines fill the containers, and factory workers finish off the products and pack them. They are then put onto large pallets and stored, before being distributed all over the Andean Pact region.

Vanish in production at the Cali factory

The workplace improvements are great – a relaxation area for staff with sofas, tv, table tennis, table football, gym equipment, noticeboards in the factory with birthdays (they seem to be popular in Colombia judging by the desks I have seen decorated with Feliz Cumpleanos!).

Lunch with the HR Director Giovanni was in Granada (the Colombian version) then I met with the Finance Director Alenjandro to check the all important figures. I learnt that he’s passionate about the environmental programme, which involves generating revenue from recycling and the funds go towards a tree planting scheme.

RB has planted 12,000 trees this year with the aim of ensuring the quality of the water from the River Cali. RB sources its water for the production of products in the factory from the river.

The recycling scheme at RB Colombia, which funds the tree planting programme and the feeding centre


Making a difference

Earlier in the day, I met with 10 volunteers actively working on the Save the Children activities. We discussed potential fundraising initiatives that RB Colombia could do to raise funds for the Save the Children health programme in Cali and the feeding centres. The most popular seemed to be the garage sale to involve both factory and office employees. Employees at RB Colombia are passionate about social and environmental responsibility and really want to make a difference to their local community.

I have felt the passion in the three days that I have spent with everyone from the office. RB Colombia makes a clear contribution to the Million Brighter Futures Campaign and helping us to reach our £10 million pound global target.

Ana Giraldo (RB Colombia) and me overlooking Cali

Thank you to all at Save the Children Colombia and RB Colombia for such a fantastic programme visit.

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