Finnish children’s wear brand Reima has received a European Commission Product Safety gold award which aims to shine a light on companies who put children’s safety at the heart of what they do. Founded in Kankaanpää in 1944, Reima employs around 500 people and the company’s turnover in 2018 was €124m; 85% of net sales come from international markets.
The ceremony took place in Brussels and saw European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová, present awards to four large companies and four SMEs. The winners came from across Europe, including Austria, Denmark, Germany and Greece with Reima the only Finnish company to be awarded. Entries received were assessed by a high-level jury comprising experts from government and consumer organisations.
Since the company’s establishment in the 1940s, practical childrenswear has been a key focus and safety has grown to be an integral part of the company’s DNA. Besides making its products safe through non-toxic materials, PFC-free clothing and imitation fur, Reima has taken the safety of children one step further through ranges of protective clothing.
By the 1970s, Reima’s children’s wear with reflective details were commended and it continues developing new reflective products to protect children in the dark. In the summer months, Reima has developed a SunProof range which protects skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays as well as mosquito-repellent clothing. For spring 2020, Reima will introduce top-to-toe clothing that repels other insects too, including ticks – a global health hazard.
CEO Elina Björklund said, “Safety is an essential part of all our operations, and we have achieved this level of performance through a combined effort of many functions. Although our R&D and Quality team is ultimately responsible for product safety, also other functions like design, product management, merchandising and supply chain operations play a big role.”
Concentrating solely on children has provided Reima a competitive edge with the company now operating in over 70 countries. Thus, Reima claims to be the only global performance wear that produces only for kids. Reima’s R&D and Sustainability Director Shahriare Mahmood explained the reasons behind the company’s expertise in safety.
“Comprehensive knowledge in material and product development and trustable partners in the supply chain are critical to maintain product safety. We also work in different safety groups on both international and national level, e.g. CEN WG20, TEVASTA (children’s clothing & sleeping ambient safety), TEVA, and SIS.
“Most importantly, we have an extensive quality control procedure. We believe that product safety is a part of total sustainability, and unless a product is chemically and mechanically safe, it can’t be regarded as sustainable product. We want to spread this message in the industry.”
Companies often go above and beyond EU consumer safety requirements and, by showcasing these practices, the European Commission wants to inspire other businesses to do the same. The EU Product Safety Award helps to make consumers more aware of their right to find only safe products on the market.