INVESTING IN COMMUNITIES OF ORIGIN
We often spend years looking for the right partners and production communities. So when we do find them, we commit for the long haul, working with (helping) them to become the most ethical and sustainable suppliers they can be.
Part of our commitment to produce at origin means that a sustainable advanced supplier might not exist where we would like to produce. But we have made it our mission to invest in our communities of origin which means helping more suppliers become sustainable suppliers. We want to be a part of the expansion of sustainable production.
In India, where the garment industry is very developed, the producers we work with already had the necessary certifications and sustainability measures in place; like renewable energy sources, wastewater treatment, and rainwater collection systems. In contrast, when we started producing in Bolivia 15 years ago, the country did not have any industrial knitwear facilities. This meant we worked closely with our production partner in the construction of their facility to ensure everything was built to the highest standards of sustainability.
Similar to the beginning of our production journey in Bolivia, Nepal does not have a very established textile industry. While our handspun and handknit products are already made in a sustainable, non-industrial manner, we are happy to report that our machine-knit producer is working towards becoming the first SA8000 certified factory in Nepal.
All of our Indian suppliers are 100% GOTS certified.
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is a standard that covers the entire supply chain – from fiber to finished product – to ensure respect for people and the planet. GOTS-certified cotton guarantees that the raw material is grown organically and that each step of the supply chain upholds strict social and environmental practices.
Many of our Indian organic cotton suppliers are also fully Fairtrade-certified. However, Aiayu is not a Fairtrade member and cannot promote this certificate on our products.
SA8000 is a certification that encourages organizations to develop, maintain, and apply socially responsible practices in the workplace. There are zero tolerance policies on discrimination, child labor, or forced labor of any sort. They ensure a safe and hygienic working environment for workers throughout the supply chain. Employment is strictly contingent on merits and not determined by sex, caste, creed or religion. Furthermore, most suppliers have internal human resource departments which oversee that all these policies are implemented and respected.
In addition to GOTS, all of our Indian suppliers are certified by SA8000, ensuring that socially responsible standards are being upheld in the workplace in accordance with all national and international labor laws.
We are also currently in the process of getting our biggest Nepalese supplier the SA8000 certification, and we hope to have accomplished this by the end of 2020.
The Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) a social compliance certification that ensures safe and lawful manufacturing in the apparel and footwear industries. The certification is based on 12 principles which make sure manufactured products are produced under lawful, humane and ethical conditions. The WRAP certificate requires that suppliers get audited once a year to evaluate their compliance with the twelve principles.
We worked with our Bolivian supplier to become WRAP certified in 2015 to guarantee that our high social standards were being met. The company is now the only WRAP certified company in Bolivia and has become a leading example of socially responsible production in the country.
UN GLOBAL COMPACT
Aiayu is a signatory of the Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative that provides companies with a framework of principles to strive for in their business practices. Participation in the UN Global Compact requires a commitment to the 10 Guiding Principles, which address the private sectors need to protect human rights, labor rights, the environment, and good governance.
As an active member of the UN Compact, Aiayu submits an annual report which details how we are upholding our commitment to the Guiding Principles in our everyday business operations. Read the latest report here.