Fighting child-labour and improving working conditions in the carpet industry
From the cocoa fields of the Ivory Coast to loom sheds in the Kathmandu Valley, the ILO estimates that 168 million boys and girls are put to work globally. In many manufacturing sectors, such as carpets, a lot of the production is outsourced from factories through a messy network of small producers, often in hard-to-find locations. While factory-level audits may show clean, safe, and compliant labour standards, behind the scenes many children are invisible, working as part of this subcontracted, unregulated workforce.
GoodWeave International is working to end child labour in the carpet industry and replicating its market-based approach in other sectors. Since its founding 20 years ago, GoodWeave has been certifying carpets against its no child labour standard. As of 2016, GoodWeave carpets are also certified as free of forced and bonded labour. Because GoodWeave verifies labour conditions through unannounced inspections at all tiers of production, down to the subcontracted homeworker level, the highest level of supply chain transparency is needed. Therefore, GoodWeave needs intelligent supply chain management solutions to monitor and verify all supply chain actors.
Using technology to fight child-labour
GoodWeave uses ChainPoint technology to visualize all data in the supply chain, giving more information on stakeholders and their relations. GoodWeave’s system reveals all tiers involved in manufacturing, from capturing information through interviews of the weavers, to following up on non-compliances by producers.
With even greater transparency at the bottom of the chain, GoodWeave is able to present data, proactively engage various actors, target producers enabling them to make quick adjustments, and work in collaboration with importers to improve workers’ conditions in a sustainable way.
The GoodWeave platform, built on ChainPoint technology, will offer the following functions:
- Mobile data collection through all tiers of production
- Interfacing with existing database systems
- Reporting and providing data analytics
- Supply chain mapping
A New Tool to Target Child Trafficking
Nina Smith, CEO of GoodWeave International:
“The GoodWeave programme will help us redefine the term ‘transparency.’ The Supply Unchained platform — in collaboration with USAID and co-funded by the Skoll Foundation — is a platform that will offer real-time supply chain maps and data down to the most remote production sites.”
Apparel Solution Paper
The challenges that GoodWeave faces in the carpet sector are similar to those in the broader apparel industry. Limited visibility, significant subcontracting, especially to homeworkers, child, forced or bonded labour are just a few challenges the industry as a whole is facing. In our solution paper: from cotton to counter, a number of these challenges are addressed.