GoodWeave Secures UK Government Funding to Spearhead New Programs to End Child Labor

May 23, 2017

GoodWeave has been named as one of ten successful bidders for a share of the first Modern Slavery Innovation Fund, totaling up to £6m (approximately $7.8m), initiated by the UK Government. This investment will fund expansion into new product sectors and directly help more UK companies to effectively tackle modern slavery in their supply chains.

May 23, 2017

Press Release

GoodWeave International (GoodWeave) has been named as one of ten successful bidders for a share of the first Modern Slavery Innovation Fund (MSIF), totaling up to £6m (or approximately $7.8 million), initiated by the UK Government. GoodWeave, the anti-child-labor and anti-forced labor labeling initiative, has made major in-roads in reducing child labor by 80% in the South Asian rug industry, since its inception in 1995. This investment will fund the expansion into new product sectors and directly help more UK companies and leading “high street” brands to effectively tackle modern slavery in their supply chains.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates 168 million children and 21 million forced laborers toil in the world today. Standard corporate compliance and auditing programs fail to help the vast majority of victims, because their reach remains within factories. Meanwhile, the most exploited workers are virtually invisible at the bottom of the chain in difficult-to-trace locations, including cottage industries and home workers. This situation is typical of the handmade rug sector in India and Nepal, where GoodWeave already operates. The grant will allow GoodWeave to fast-track developments into other manufacturing sectors in India and Nepal and help more UK companies establish a real-time map of their supply chains, from factories right down to home-workers.

Over the coming two years, the NGO has set out in detail how it plans to spend the Modern Slavery Innovation Fund money, specifying three key areas, which will directly help partnered companies to reduce modern slavery from their supply chains:

  1. To expand engagement with leading UK companies and brands in the rug, embellished apparel (garments), home textiles and jewellery sectors, and spearhead the setting up of accurate mapping of their supply chains, right down to home-workers. This will highlight where child and forced labor exists amongst their existing producers and subcontractors.
  2. To advance the adoption of the GoodWeave label amongst producers in India and Nepal and encourage the roll-out into new consumer goods sectors, either under the GoodWeave umbrella organization or as an industry-specific initiative.
  3. To introduce a digital platform to collate and present the results of audits and inspections to GoodWeave partners, and so provide timely, confidential and accurate information. This real-time window will allow speedy analysis and decision-making by GoodWeave staff

Nina Smith, CEO, GoodWeave International explains the funding will have a major, positive impact on the most exploited workers and encourages UK retailers and companies to get involved: “The power of our model comes from partnering with business to reach bottom-tier workers who are ordinarily hidden from sight. More than 90% of the children we rescue are identified in cottage industry settings. The MSIF funding will enable us to reach into more supply chains and implement programs to protect children and adults from forms of modern slavery.”

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Notes to Editor

  • The successful bidders of the Modern Slavery Innovation Fund were announced by Amber Rudd, Home Secretary, on March 15. It is specifically to help pay for projects to stop child slavery in factories supplying products to the UK and work to identify and disrupt key human trafficking routes to the UK used by organized crime gangs. The Fund follows the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, which firmly places the responsibility on companies to root out and eradicate child labor from their supply chains. For further information contact GoodWeave International +1 (202) 234-9050.
  • GoodWeave partners with brands and importers (licensees) who require full transparency from their suppliers to earn the right to feature the GoodWeave certification label on their products. GoodWeave then maps their supply chains and conducts unannounced inspections at all production sites, whether at a factory or inside a home. Producers found exploiting children or adults risk losing their customers, therefore making the issue of child and forced labor unprofitable. Without this market leverage and deep supply chain access, it would be impossible to locate victims or prevent exploitation. Child laborers are rescued and provided with free counselling, education and even a home, if needed.
  • GoodWeave works in partnership with over 140 brands worldwide, including The Rug Company, Macy’s and Target. In the UK, there are 23 licensees including The Rug Company, Jacaranda Carpets, Deirdre Dyson, Matthew Wailes and Namaste UK.
  • GoodWeave is a full member of the ISEAL Alliance, having demonstrated adherence to best practices in certification and sustainability standards.