I am consistently on the lookout for companies with a conscience. I first heard of GoodWeave back in April when it was featured on the CNN Freedom Project. After a bit more research, I found that this organization is gaining momentum, and with good reason.
GoodWeave has a straight-forward mission: “to end illegal child labor in the carpet industry and to offer educational opportunities to children in South Asia.” The organization’s goal is to end modern slavery and other forms of human exploitation in the rug industry. The One in a Million Campaign raises awareness about children toiling in rug companies in South Asia; in 1994, it was estimated that over 1 million children worked on the looms. GoodWeave’s efforts have helped to decrease that number by 75% but the organization isn’t stopping there.
Next year, the public will begin to see the changes implemented by GoodWeave’s International Standards Committee. The new standard includes new environmental, transparency and labor criteria.
Labor The organization has broadened its certification standard to add mandates that protect children and adults from exploitative working conditions. GoodWeave aims to reduce poverty levels and improve the standard of living for weaving communities.
Expansion For more than a decade, GoodWeave has concentrated its efforts on Nepal and India. The organization has recently announced it will expand its certification program to Afghanistan. GoodWeave’s work in Afghanistan is part of a larger economic development project establishing rug finishing facilities with the intention of decreasing the 40% unemployment rate that the country now faces. GoodWeave will continue working to eliminate child labor in the existing weaving communities, which will ultimately open the door for more adult employment.
For more details regarding the new standard, click here.
To make GoodWeave certified products available to a broader base of US consumers, the organization has worked with Macy’s to release several special certified rug collections, initially available in Macy’s rug departments throughout New York and New Jersey. The Cascade, Good Life, Miramar and Safari collections provide an array of styles and sizes for any design palate. Consumers will enjoy the benefits of these hand-crafted certified rugs at modest prices.
The collection will be accompanied by an exhibit called Faces of Freedom, a photo documentary that takes viewers behind the scenes of carpet factories in South Asia. The exhibit will be on display on the 8th floor of the Herald Square Macy’s June 28 – July 22, 2011.
GoodWeave’s domestic and international efforts have not been ignored. The organization has received the Best in America Seal. This elite designation is awarded to less than 1% of American non-profits and charities. Recipients are evaluated based on cost effectiveness and public accountability.