New Australian Legislation and Leading Carpet Brands Lead the Movement Against Modern Slavery

August 6, 2019

 

Australia’s Modern Slavery Act of 2018 heralds a robust step in the fight against the egregious global practices of child labour and slavery. Many consumers and businesses have welcomed the law. Among its supporters are 10 GoodWeave licensed Australian rug companies, already the country’s business leaders in the movement for establishing ethical supply chains.

The law requires certain businesses to report on the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, as well as the actions they are taking to address those risks. Jenn Morris, CEO of anti-slavery group Walk Free says, “For businesses, the scale of the problem is huge. When they try to tackle it, it’s overwhelming to know where to start. Partnerships are essential, and industry-specific initiatives like GoodWeave can be an important resource to businesses – the learning is valuable to them. They need to know how and where to look, what it really costs to know the whole supply chain.”

GoodWeave’s holistic and authentic System maps supply chain production from the factory down to the home. With 25 years of experience and proximity to marginalized communities, GoodWeave’s System leverages the power of the market, and incorporates remediation and access to education to address the root cause of child labour.

Ten Australian carpet companies have already partnered with GoodWeave to end child labour in their supply chains; these include Freedom, Cadrys, Robyn Cosgrove, ARCC, Ruthie L Designs, Oh Happy Home, Aussbond, and Amigos de Hoy.

Jared Cadry, Cadrys’ Creative Director remarked, “Signing on in 2008 and becoming GoodWeave founding Australian member, we not only felt a responsibility to prove that our productions are ethical & sustainable, but it would set the tone for what every rug company in Australia & New Zealand must use as standard practice. There is no excuse to not be certified. We are proud to be continuing our relationship with GoodWeave well into the future.”

Freedom’s Senior Homewares Buyer, Abbey Hart says that, even without the new legislation, “Our motivation as a business is less about worrying that bad news will come out about our own supply chain as we work with transparent and responsible manufacturing partners, and more about just doing the right thing as a large player in the rug market and offering our customers the peace of mind to know their purchase was created by adult artisans.” She hopes the new law will help shine a light on the issue of modern slavery. “Creating awareness about the presence of children in the carpet industry is important, as most people have no idea just how widespread it is.”

The actions of leading brands such as Freedom and Cadrys, coupled with legislation, the growing conversation, and data realized by Walk Free Foundation, have created a momentum to end modern slavery in Australian supply chains.

 

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About GoodWeave International

GoodWeave, the nonprofit organization founded in 1994 by Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, is the leading global institution with a mission to end child labour, and forced and bonded labour in global supply chains, through a market-based holistic and authentic system. It brings visibility to global supply chains, respects the rights of workers, provides assurance that certified products are free of child labour, and restores childhood to vulnerable children so they can laugh, learn, and play.  Look for the GoodWeave label.

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Additional information for editors:

Despite child labour being illegal in many countries, it is known to be widespread. The ILO (International Labour Organization) reports more than 152million, of which around half are under 11 and approximately 12% are in the manufacturing sector. The ensuing problems are well-documented, including children becoming stuck in a cycle of poverty with no education, poor health, reduced life expectancy and depressed wages for adults.  *Global Estimates of Child Labour, Results and Trends, 2012-2016, ILO

Over 25 years of harnessing market power through its work with brands, licensees, and exporters, GoodWeave has rescued over 6,800 children from labour, provided quality education to almost 26,000 rescued and vulnerable children; it positively impacts millions more children and reaches more than 80,000 workers in India, Nepal, and Afghanistan.  Most recently, GoodWeave has expanded into apparel, home textiles, fashion jewellery, bricks, and tea where its reach and impact continues to grow.

GoodWeave’s impact goes beyond reach numbers as it has been a leading voice in positively influencing societal norms and behaviors to eliminate child and forced labour.