GoodWeave envisions a world where all children go to school, not to work. Where they hold pencils and not tools. To get there, we need to tackle the root causes in the marketplace and producer communities that now have 168 million children toiling in the global economy.
Since 1995, we've been working to tackle these root causes, particularly in the handmade carpet industry where child labour was once rampant. The GoodWeave certification label on the back of a rug is one way of assuring the end consumer that their purchase is child-labour-free.
We partner with brands and retailers selling carpets and encourage them to become licensees. These brands and retailers then ask their suppliers to comply with the GoodWeave standard. If they don't, suppliers are at risk of losing their business. This is how we change the game and create a market that says: “We won't tolerate child labour or forced labour.” Today there are 140 licensed brands and thousands of retailers worldwide, including Otto Group, Harrod's, Macy's and Target.
To ensure standards on the ground, GoodWeave have a rigorous monitoring system. We map a company's supply chain and then conduct unannounced supplier inspections. If there's evidence of child labour, our team of inspectors and social workers step in. We remove the child and provide immediate care and long-term education opportunities.
GoodWeave is different to traditional corporate compliance schemes. Our system reaches deep into supply chains – from factories in the city centre to a remote village loom shed. We use economic incentives to deter exploitation and dismantle social norms in communities. These things are at the root of the problem.
We've come a long way in realising our vision. Nearly 10% of all carpets produced worldwide now carry our label and the prevalence of child labour in South Asia's carpet capitals has declined by 80%. We've rescued over 3,600 “carpet kids” and supported education for more than 15,000 children. And much of this social change has been funded by the sales of certified rugs, which has generated $1.5 million to reinvest in weaving communities.
Now, we're working with C&A Foundation to bring this approach to the apparel sector.
We're launching a pilot with C&A Foundation and C&A focused on home workers in North India who provide the embroidery that you find on clothes. The vast majority of these workers are women and children, and they're at the mercy of a competitive business environment that relies on highly decentralised supply chains.
With the support of C&A Foundation, we're going to work with three C&A suppliers, map their supply chains and conduct rigorous inspections, ensure children in worker communities are attending school and that adult stitchers are offered decent working conditions. We'll also create a training programme to help women regain control of their business.
Ultimately, we hope this work will go further than C&A suppliers. We want to create something that other brands can get behind. The more market leverage we have, the bigger our impact, the more children who can pick up those pencils.