Protec – A Social Enterprise in Vietnam
Protec is a social enterprise in Vietnam producing ethically-sourced helmets and face masks. Established in 2000 by U.S. NGO AIP Foundation (a US 501 (c)(3) organization), its profits are reinvested back into the local community to improve people’s lives and safety.
In response to the overwhelming demand for Personal Protective Equipment during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Protec has transformed a portion of its factory operations to produce certified face masks. The protective equipment will be distributed in the U.S., Europe and Africa with a priority focus on hospitals and healthcare workers on the frontlines of emergency response.
By remaining affordable for people of all walks of life, Protec significantly improves the accessibility to quality motorcycle helmets for those who need them most. Protec has been awarded the Government commendation from Secretary Hillary Clinton with the U.S. Secretary of State’s Award of Corporate Excellence. In addition to saving lives globally, Protec contributes to the local economy by purchasing local supplies, providing jobs for factory workers and staff, improving livelihoods and supporting fair employment.
In 2019, Protec opened a second 20,000m2 factory in Vinh Phuc Province, Vietnam. Its in-house testing laboratory is capable of testing helmets to international standards, ensuring highest quality and safety. The new facility also produces helmets for bicyclists, making eco-friendly transportation choices more accessible. The new factory utilizes a ‘clean room’ making it possible to manufacture the highest quality products while ensuring workers’ health and safety.
A ‘clean room’ is a rigorously controlled environment that maintains a low level of environmental pollutants such as dust, airborne microbes, aerosol particles and chemical vapors. The air entering the clean room is filtered and continuously circulated through a double high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) system and an ultra-low particulate air (ULPA) system to remove internally generated contaminants. The entire room temperature and humidity is controlled through a computer system to ensure a safe environment for workers, and consistent quality in production. Staff wear Protective clothing to enter and exit through special airlocks, while equipment and fixtures inside the ‘clean room’ are specifically designed to produce minimal particles. All raw materials are stored in separated areas to avoid contamination.
Fostering a socially inclusive workplace, Protec employs 150 workers at its factory, a significant portion of whom are living with disabilities. To accommodate workers in wheelchairs, Protec modified its assembly lines to meet their working needs. Protec additionally strives for gender equality; females represent 70% of the factory’s workforce and 90% of senior management positions. Protec also provides free amenities to its workers including meals, education, training, and recreation.
The environmental, health and safety conditions at Protec exceed the legal requirements by the Government of Vietnam, and reference all U.S. and European safety and environment standards requirements. The factory is equipped with an advanced fire safety system to protect the workers and the factory.