The textile industry is saturated with social and ethical challenges going under the radar. Unfair labour practices, brands not paying for their goods, inadequate working conditions, and environmental neglect are way too common practice and although there have been improvements since the factory fire in Pakistan in 2012 and the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, there still a long way to go.

Corona times showed us just how bad things were with extremely vulnerable businesses and people, pressured by price demands from bigger brands in the richer countries. But although most of us are not thinking too much about COVID-19 today, the underlying problems still persists. Bigger brands are using their power to pressure suppliers on price and recent examples brands denying paying is emerging. In light of this, we all must reflect on how we want to drive our businesses.

The Role of SA8000 in Ethical Manufacturing

There are many certifications that are concerned about working conditions and social welfare of workers. Almost all of them refer to the conventions of the International Labour Association. This is great because the conventions address really fundamental issues and sets the standards for what is ok and what isn’t in the realm of social conditions.

SA8000 stands out here, though. Not because of a different standard, but because of its focus on prevention and due diligence. Where other certifications point to the standards and demand that they are not violated, SA8000 requires procedures and processes to ensure that no violation happens. This means that even if no violation has occurred one can fail the SA8000 audit for not having systems in place to prevent violations from occurring.

By demanding processes and due diligence, SA8000 ensures we’re not just compliant but actively preventing issues from occurring and assuring our people’s welfare. This is a step beyond. To date, this is the most rigorous social certification we have come across.

– Alexander Mygind Andersen, Owner

Beyond this, SA8000 demands continual improvement. Learn more about the specifics of SA8000.

Beyond Certification

Yet, there are some elements that are not certifiable. You cannot certify heartfelt care. The essence of our commitment to our workforce stretches far beyond what any certification can gauge. It’s the unquantifiable elements—like the monthly birthday celebrations, 300 people singing in unity, or the creation of a community book by the workers —that truly embody our spirit.

These moments of genuine care and connection underscore a culture that cherishes each individual not merely as an employee but as a valued human being.

“We are a Danish company that owns the production, we’re not just renting a line. This allows us the freedom to truly invest in our people and practices”.

– Alexander Mygind Andersen, Owner

In an industry overwhelmed by overproduction, we continuously reflect on our purpose and contribution. The essence that we keep coming back to is that we should do what we do mainly for the people that we can positively affect. We believe that we can truly make life richer for the people working for us and for the community in which we operate. This is something that is very close to our hearts and therefore also something we have talked about in a previous blog post.

However, a particularly illustrative example of this is our initiative to provide English language training. The work that we do requires a high level of skill, giving our complex products. This makes each worker invaluable. From a strict business logic perspective, our incentive would push us towards giving them comfortable working conditions and limiting their opportunities so that they would stay with us. We do the first one, but not the second.

Despite the workers being invaluable, we choose to endow them with new skills that could open doors to opportunities beyond our company. We do this because we believe in nurturing our employees’ broader life prospects, not just their immediate roles within our operation. For us, investing in people is a declaration of our belief that ethical business is indeed good business, recognizing that a company’s true value is in its people.

An interesting side-effect of this way of working is that the opportunities also foster a more innovative, resilient, and reliable company culture. It makes us better at handling unexpected blows.


Embracing Rigour, Exceeding Standards

We submit to the strictest social standard we know, and we truly care and prioritise caring for our workers. Each of the two is not enough alone. On the one hand there are things that cannot be certified and on the other we believe that critical third-party eyes can point to our blind spots and make us better.

This has turned out to be a huge strength for us. This commitment has not only cultivated a workplace that draws and retains talent is also continuously fortifying our resilience and reliability, proving that true strength in business is achieved by adhering to and exceeding the highest of standards.

For us, the ultimate evaluation lies not in auditor reports, but in the legacy we leave. What will be the echo of your practices?

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