I often get asked how does Deidaa qualify as an ethical manufacturer? How is Deidaa fair wear? What is SEDEX certification? Is Deidaa SEDEX certified? The answer is, Deidaa's manufacturing is GOTS certified for organic textiles and SEDEX certified for ethical production.
To begin with, let me talk about SEDEX. SEDEX ' is one of the world’s leading ethical trade service providers, working to improve working conditions in global supply chains.' (definition courtesy SEDEX) SEDEX conducts annual Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) audits at workplaces. The audits encompass labour, health and safety, environment and business ethics. Nearly 20,000 SMETA audits are uploaded to the SEDEX platform every year. Each audit carries a unique reference code. The audit is conducted in the presence of senior management, workers' and union representatives, where applicable.
A SMETA audit measures a factory against the nine principles of the ethical trade initiative (ETI) Base Code:
- Employment is freely chosen. No forced labour or bonded labour practices are involved.
- Freedom of association and the right for collective bargaining are respected. Workers may elect to form or become members of unions, if applicable.
- Working conditions are safe and hygienic. Workrooms are, uncluttered, well lit and ventilated. Fire safety rules are followed. First aid is available. Machines and electrical equipment are safe and used by trained operators.
- Child labour is not used.
- Living wages and benefits are paid
- Working hours are not excessive. Adequate breaks and holidays are in place.
- No discrimination is practiced
- Regular employment is provided
- No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed
- In addition to the principles in the ETI Base Code, SMETA reviews performance against the right to work of migrant workers, management systems and implementation, sub-contracting and home working and environmental issues.
Other certifications include Fair Trade, GOTS for organic textiles and Oeko-Tex for the exclusion of harmful chemicals.
The cultivation of organic textiles is free of toxic chemicals. Crops are rain-fed. Soil is nourished by natural techniques like crop rotation. A GOTS certification ensures compliance with all aspects of organic cultivation. GOTS certified organic textiles are safe for humans and safe for the environment.
International standards and certificates validate the credentials of an ethical employer and manufacturer. But what really matters is good intent. I have worked with artisan communities since I was a rookie designer. So much so, I have become a part of their social fabric. I do not say I am helping them, and if I am, they are helping me in return. The love and affection I receive from the people I work with, keeps me going when the going gets tough.
If you feel responsible for the people you work with, you will laugh and cry with them, celebrating their victories and feeling their pain. As a designer, incorporate, artisanal techniques in your work. Whatever you do, do not violate their social norms or mutilate their craft. Collaborate and give back. Trust me, you will get back more than you give.
As a consumer, buy artisan. Without your support these ancient crafts will disappear, never to be seen again.