There’s no two ways about it. To enjoy coming to work every morning we have to do it with common sense and in line with our values. Besides, it is also what sets the foundation of our sincere and strong relationship with our customers, our suppliers and our employees.
Our commitments are simple but essential: let every voice be heard, share our passion, maintain a direct and transparent relationship and preserve our environment.
Among these commitments, the environment side is a major concern since the GONG staff brings together nature enthusiasts, starting with its founder. Nature preservation is therefore systematically part of the decision-making process and every part of our activity is concerned. For example, we apply strict rules for sorting and recycling all our waste, the packaging of our major products contains little to no plastic, and the workshop waste is reduced as much as possible. But above all, we produce long-lasting boards thanks to the most resistant technologies for each program and the possibility of infinite repairs.
OUR FOUNDING PRINCIPLE
GONG was created as the way to give access to the sports we are passionate about. Allowing you to have more for the same price is to ensure more pleasure in nature. Allowing you to have just what you need for a lot less is opening access to a previously elitist pleasure.
More people on the water, more sharing, it does not please everyone. But we do it with pedagogy and responsibility. We don’t throw people on the water. We immerse our new customers in a marine and surf culture. Because the interest of our sports is not for us to pretend to practice them, but to live it in our guts.
So, we make a lot of people happy, and we do everything to preserve our beautiful planet as much as possible, obviously without any naïve optimism.
DECENTLY PAID SUPPLIERS
To make quality products, you have to maintain a lasting and balanced (win-win) relationship with your suppliers. At GONG, most suppliers have followed us since the beginning of the adventure, and we even contributed to creating some of them. There is no secret, to succeed in a professional relationship you need respect, good communication and to progress together. These are our commitments with our suppliers and they repay us well with products that meet the extremely high specifications of our product division.
Our strength is to be designers. We design products but also manufacturing processes. Our control is total, to the nearest gram, to the tenth, etc. So when we offer a supplier to manufacture a particular range, we know in advance what he will gain. And since we sell online, he also knows exactly what we are going to earn. So the basic rule is very simple: 50 for him, 50 for GONG, plus tax. This is what our customers pay. We believe that making a product is worth as much as imagining and distributing it. So it’s 50/50, plus the share for the community through taxes. Simple and balanced.
Quality is paid for at its fair price and we do not play at crushing production costs, and therefore the remuneration of work. Our subcontractors pay their workers with dignity, with wages well above the local standard of living of a French minimum wage. A sander can receive up to $2,000 per month, fed and housed in a country where the standard of living costs 6 times less.
Our prices are therefore solely explained by our direct sales model. The loyalty of our suppliers is the best testimony to this.
WHERE TO PRODUCE?
We have always made boards locally, in France.
Unfortunately or fortunately, the sharp increase in demand has coincided with a drop in the number of people willing/able to do this job locally. France then Switzerland, Tunisia, Asia, Portugal, France again, we have and will have production sites according to the opportunities allowing us to make the quantities of boards necessary for your leisure activities. Our problem is not the cost, otherwise we would go to truly low-cost countries, our problem is the quantity.
You have to keep in mind that GONG is a global brand because it delivers every week to 40 countries around the world, 60 over the year. Our core market is obviously Europe. But producing in Europe is currently impossible in our volumes. And less volume would drive prices up strongly.
The cleanest solution we had was to transport the containers by train on the Silk Road. Relatively ecological because it produces little CO2, this rail solution costs more than twice that of the sea. At the same time, shipping reduced its consumption by 30% by slowing down the fleet and gasifying their engines.
When the Covid hit, the train stopped. Since then we have had no other choice but the maritime way and we regret it. Anyway, we adapt and will continue to adapt to the best solutions of the moment.
TOWARDS ZERO DISPOSABLE PLASTIC
Like any manufacturer, we have a moral responsibility for the waste produced by our packaging. Each product is thought out and a reflection is carried out on its packaging.
Several years ago, we were the first brand in the world to replace all the plastic packaging that protected rigid boards during transport with a more expensive but 100% recyclable solution: Flexi-Hex. This intelligent recycled cardboard completely eliminates plastic from our packaging and guarantees very effective protection during transport. The implementation of this solution allowed us to avoid a considerable consumption of plastic in the form of bubble wrap, polystyrene blocks and tape. Your boards are better protected and the packaging is reusable and also recyclable. It has also facilitated the work of the preparers, which is now less painful and more rewarding when you know that you are doing less harm to the planet.
The very good results of Flexi-Hex have redoubled our motivation to move towards zero plastic solutions on our entire offer. We have therefore switched almost all of the foil packaging to “smart” boxes. Smart because they avoid plastic, and smart because they take up less space and reduce the number of containers.
This dynamic is fundamental for us and is a daily concern.
All of our facilities run on green electricity. Our energy supplier guarantees that for 1MWh consumed in our offices, the workshop and the various storage sites, 1MWh of electricity of renewable origin is produced. This is a significant additional cost for GONG but we consider this gesture necessary. We want to be part of a dynamic that allows the development of green electricity supply.
In the same dynamic, we designed and purchased a very low consumption building. Exceeding the current insulation standards twice over, with high-quality glazing which considerably limits the use of heating or air conditioning, and our covered stock with huge openings of natural light, we have designed the project down to the smallest detail to save energy.
In order to encourage good practices, we are equipping our car park with fast charging stations for electric vehicles. Most of our employees live less than 20km away. Encouraging them to drive electric makes us happy.
Solar is under consideration. It will be present on the next extension and probably on the car parks.
We are not naive about our environmental impact and energy issues. Our approach is to adopt a consistent behavior that brings concrete and measurable benefits. Green electricity is only a step, we are constantly pursuing our research in this area, we like to go in this direction.
A GREEN SITE
Our GONG Space Center is located in an industrial area. No trees were cut for its construction. To go further in our approach, we bought the forests around the site to preserve them. These forests are managed by an organization that ensures the good health of this ecosystem. GONG remunerates this organization which offers useful solutions. We have a project to preserve pipistrelles (bats), help xylophagous insects to feed on dead wood, protect hedgehogs and all small local animals, open small passages for them in the ground in the fence to let them live freely. etc… It’s really a great project.
We also refused to plant grass. Thus nearly 4,000m2 are planted in flowery meadows to the delight of bees and other insects. It will sometimes be less pretty, but so much more fun to see all these living beings around us.
The woods around our site are home to larger animals, including deers and wild boars. And hearing a green woodpecker is commonplace on the terrace where our employees can have a break.
We have created a retention basin, mandatory to absorb heavy rains. But we have redesigned it so that filter-feeding plants can grow there. The water that flows into it is treated as it should be beforehand, and we hope to see the development of life forms already present after a few months: amphibians, dragonflies and other water insects. The evacuation of the excess water is not done by a pipe, but by a small surface stream that we have created to make the place bucolic for us as for the other inhabitants.
To vegetate the site, we have chosen not to plant species that could harm the local flora. Ornamental “exotic” species are not invasive and are isolated from local species in small dedicated islands. The pride of place is given to the local essences that we adore, and these are not extraordinary things: simply what was there before us. No more no less.
WE TAKE CARE OF US
The advantage of having a boss who started his company on his own is that he has done all the jobs in the company. His understanding of the constraints of each position is total. Thus, everything that can be implemented to improve each job is put in place to the extent of our means.
The list is long, but here are a few examples:
- friendly co-workers. Good humor, kind and super competent people, that’s essential to start each day in good spirits.
- a decent salary, nice bonuses, social benefits (good health insurance, restaurant tickets).
- a real opportunity to evolve and make a career. Some have been with GONG for over 20 years!
- passion as a driving force and as a link between all of us.
- time and gear to sail or surf with flexible hours depending on the weather.
- an understanding and accommodating management for unforeseen absences and other planning concerns.
- very high-end computer equipment (100% Apple).
- tools to work more easily.
- anything that can improve workplace safety.
- incredibly pleasant and practical premises in our future GONG Space Center.
- a living environment by the water in a rich and varied region.
Collective activities are organized regularly: birthdays, pizza evenings on the beach, fun sessions, and others… There is an atmosphere of camaraderie between employees who are often buddies outside of work.
Executives have personalized sports coaching twice a week to keep in shape and let off steam. And all the staff have free access to our fitness room, our changing rooms after returning from the sea with private showers, etc.