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Fighting Greenwashing

Making claims is easy - changing your practice is not. That’s why many brands respond to the increased environmental awareness of the public with clever marketing campaigns to greenwash their dirty business models, rather than clean up their act.

This trend to carelessly throw around words such as ‘ethical’, ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ is one of the biggest threats to social and environmental progress. It confuses customers and gives a wrong sense of contributing to a better future when all that is done is to continue the status quo.  

Third party certification cuts through this by verifying our claims, all the way to the ground. We hope that this step will encourage more brands to clean up their practices - and make the public more critical towards the claims of fast fashion. Because it takes all of us to turn fashion into an industry that respects both women and the planet.

Paying our artisans and farmers a living wage is one of the cornerstones of SukkhaCitta and our #MadeRight standard. In fact, giving women in rural Indonesia access to a better livelihood was the very reason SukkhaCitta was founded back in 2016.

The way we calculate our Ibus’ fair wages has now been assessed and certified by Nest - a US-based 501c that strives to support sustainable and inclusive growth of the world’s craft industry.

This is a big deal because we’re the first clothing brand in Indonesia to successfully pass their tough assessment!

Compliance with 100+ Standards

Together with some of the foremost leaders of social compliance and labor rights, Nest has created a framework of 100+ standards for assessing ethical handcraft production practices - focusing especially on informal workshops and home-based artisans.

Among other things, their assessment required us to prove:

  1. Provision of fair wages, including how they are calculated and paid
  2. Strict No Child Labor policies
  3. Worker rights, such as regular breaks, the right to unionise, sick leave, etc
  4. Policies and documentation on anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies
  5. Workplace safety provisions, including fire extinguishers, first-aid stations, emergency exits, etc
  6. Wastewater management (no dumping in rivers for example)

Walking the Talk: On the ground verification

Nest does not simply ask for records and written policies. Everything is reviewed and verified on the ground: Following our initial assessment in 2022, a team member of Nest will visit our community production facilities every year—checking wage and production records and conducting interviews with artisans in our Rumah SukkhaCitta.

In addition, Nest requires annual trainings in First Aid, Emergency Procedures and the use of safety equipment such as rubber boots, gloves and goggles (e.g. when handling boiling water during the dyeing process).

What is a living wage?

A living wage is the minimum our craftswomen need to cover their basic needs such as housing, food, education for their kids and basic healthcare. To calculate it, we collect data from our village communities on their average household spending every month.

We convert this number into piece rates; We measure the average time it takes our Ibus to create a fabric—so we can determine how much a woman needs to be paid per piece in order to receive a living wage.

Nest reviewed our practices and verified that our living wage calculation consistently provides our Ibus with incomes above local minimum wages.

Why this matters

The opposite of poverty is not wealth. It’s dignity, the feeling of being valued and seen.

Craft is not just beautiful. In our village communities, we have seen again and again: Craft can be an incredibly powerful tool to promote women’s rights and boost their financial independence, especially for young mothers working from home.

Yet despite the growing market for handcrafted products, most craftswomen in Indonesia still live in poverty: Brands and workshops outsource work through multiple layers of middlemen, down to women working from home. Women who are invisible, and earn less than $2 (Rp30.000,00) a day.

That’s why the work of organizations like Nest is so important: We need clear standards and traceability to make sure artisans are paid fairly and treated with the respect they deserve. 

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