Ethical Trading 

There are 17 United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Nine of them fit particularly with our business:

1. No poverty (UN Goal #1)

2. Zero hunger (UN Goal #2)

3. Good health and wellbeing (UN Goal #3)

4. Quality education (UN Goal #4)

5. Gender equality (UN Goal #5)

6. Clean water and sanitation (UN Goal #6)

7. Decent work and economic growth (UN Goal #8)

8. Reduced inequalities (UN Goal #10), and

9. Responsible consumption and production (UN Goal #12)

 

Our company is B Corp Certified, which recognises our commitment to the highest social and environmental standards.

 

Employment

We employ hundreds of women who have never been to school or had minimal formal education. These ladies were unemployed and tied to domestic duties before they came to work at our handknitting hubs.

When we set up a handknitting hub in a new village, ladies come to us seeking work. We talk with potential new handknitters on what they will be doing and learning with us. Most ladies then must seek their husband’s permission to work.

Our ladies start work, full-time on an above average wage. Education starts from day one – learning mathematics, reading English and how to handknit to an exacting artisan standard.

We are building a strong business of women producing artisan quality handknitted garments for the fashion industry. Moreover, we are building a business of strong women. In future, we will be the largest, all-girl company of this kind in India.

Ongoing training is provided to all members of our company to continue to grow and develop us all. For example, in India regular education is provided by the company bringing world-class handknitting teachers to each hub to pass on the latest techniques, and trainers to provide financial counselling. Each lady can continue to build skills in handknitting and management if they choose to grow their career with the company.

Our ladies in Australia work remotely and education includes various workshop attendance, online research and courses relevant to each person’s skill set.

When starting the company, our handknitters chose their working hours to suit their family life. They are employed full-time and work from 9am - 4pm, with an hour for lunch, six days a week.

All our ladies receive paid holiday leave and other employee benefits. An optometrist visits our hubs regularly for eye check-ups.

Within our hubs, ladies knit in groups which has built strong teams, great social communication, and skill sharing. Our ladies also take walk breaks and drink plenty of water. Drinking water is provided and delivered daily to all our hubs. The hub leader ensures everyone’s water bottles are filled and consumed throughout the day.

Our employment practices align with the following UN sustainable development goals:

1.      No poverty (UN Goal #1)

2.      Zero hunger (UN Goal #2)

3.      Good health and wellbeing (UN Goal #3)

4.      Quality education (UN Goal #4)

5.      Gender equality (UN Goal #5)

6.      Clean water and sanitation (UN Goal #6)

7.      Decent work and economic growth (UN Goal #8)

8.      Reduced inequalities (UN Goal #10)

 

When issues arise, we brainstorm solutions. We are a united team.

We facilitate the development of emotional growth and independent thinking in our handknitters. We are growing leadership muscles in our ladies which will empower them to negotiate their needs both at work and at home. Most of our ladies have grown up in families where women have no voice. As children their parents, particularly fathers, made all the decisions. As adults their husbands make decisions for them.

When issues arise at the hubs, anything from production hurdles to personal problems, we encourage those involved to discuss possible solutions. The hub talks together to work out which solution brings the greatest benefit to those involved, our work, and the company to move forward.

This process can take time as the ladies learn to think for themselves. The benefit of patience in this method is manyfold: if the same issue arises again, the ladies can quickly solve it; they can apply the same method to new issues thereby streamlining future situations; teach this method to new knitters; and negotiate within their family to ensure their point of view is heard.

We are open and transparent to all visitors, whether brands, industry representatives, or volunteers who come to offer additional education. We welcome anyone interested in seeing our hubs in action to get in touch.

Our negotiation practices align with the following UN sustainable development goals:

1.      Quality education (UN Goal #4)

2.      Gender equality (UN Goal #5)

3.      Decent work and economic growth (UN Goal #8)

4.      Reduced inequalities (UN Goal #10)

 

Working conditions are safe and hygienic

We provide drinking water, clean bathrooms, and food areas in our handknitting hubs. We take all measures to ensure the safety and hygiene of our ladies.

Our training and induction program cover safety in the workplace, safe use and storage of fibres and needles for knitting. Our supervisors regularly check the work environment and deal with any repairs with landlords.

Providing clean drinking water and hygienic food and toilet areas aligns the following UN sustainable development goals:

1.      Good health and wellbeing (UN Goal #3)

2.      Clean water and sanitation (UN Goal #6)

 

Child Labour

We do not employ anyone under the age of 18 years nor have anyone work for free.

This employment practices align with the following UN sustainable development goal:

1.      Decent work and economic growth (UN Goal #8)

 

Living wages

We pay wages and benefits above the living wage.

We want our ladies to be the best version of themselves and that means we look to support them by, for example, ensuring regular eye tests at the hubs.

Our ladies take pride in their work and, as they progress in their skills, they take pride in themselves. With their growing self-esteem and financial independence we notice many changes in our ladies: the way they hold themselves changes, it’s like they walk with a sense of self confidence; their presentation changes, they take great care in the way they wear saris or make up; some are getting dental treatment to straighten their teeth. The transformation we see is both internal and external.

Our wage practices align with the following UN sustainable development goals:

1.      No poverty (UN Goal #1)

2.      Zero hunger (UN Goal #2)

3.      Decent work and economic growth (UN Goal #8)

 

No discrimination

When people apply to work with us, we don’t ask for their race, caste, gender, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, or sexuality. Asking such questions is culturally insensitive, no matter where you are in the world. We are concerned with a person’s values and passion for working with us. Our ladies are responsible for engaging and dismissing their own team members. They base their decisions on the person’s values and passion for wanting to embrace our culture and our sisterhood.

Our hiring practices align with the following UN sustainable development goals:

1.      Gender equality (UN Goal #5)

2.      Reduced inequalities (UN Goal #10)

 

Regular employment

Our ladies in India work full-time to ensure a stable income for their families and a stable workforce for our customers. We do not practice labour-only or sub-contracting.

We support home-working arrangements for our ladies in Australia as they live in various locations and sometimes work internationally. We hold regular meetings using Zoom or WhatsApp to keep in touch.

Providing stable, regular employment aligns with the following UN sustainable development goal:

1.      Decent work and economic growth (UN Goal #8)

 

No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed

We do not tolerate verbal or physical abuse. Our whole team communicates respectfully. In many cases, our ladies have been raised in environments where communication is physical rather than verbal. Respectful behaviour and communication is role modelled.

Communicating with effect aligns with the following UN sustainable development goals:

1.      Gender equality (UN Goal #5)

2.      Reduced inequalities (UN Goal #10)