Koolskools Ethics and the Factory Workers
Does the Koolskools approach really benefit employees working in clothing factories?
Koolskools has secured assurances from its manufacturers that their working practices meet universally accepted World Trade Organisation standards.
Koolskools has also conducted independent assessment visits to ensure that these standards are met in practice.
We interview not only the factory management but also the workers, independently of the factory management, to get the most accurate picture possible of the prevailing working conditions from the workers themselves.
So we are working hard to achieve our goal that all of the people in the developing countries where our garments are manufactured receive a fair wage and optimum working standards.
When we say we are building an ethical clothing project, we mean that we want to create an environment where everyone in the chain benefits - producers, manufacturers and customers alike. We are trying to generate a true team ethic throughout our manufacturing chain, where the workers know that if they work as part of the Koolskools manufacturing process they are part of a family that cares about their working conditions and pro-actively checks that they are receiving a fair wage for their work.
The practical demonstration of Koolskools' determination to help the workers in its manufacturing chain is reflected in the establishment of a Koolskools staff welfare fund, which is being used for the sole purpose of benefiting the staff working in the factories. The fund provides medical help, recreational trips, further improvements to working conditions, and other benefits.
We also want that team ethic to feed through to our customers. This is why, for example, we are involving the students and teachers in our client schools in the project. By way of our unique Koolskools presentations to schools we are inviting them to learn all about our manufacturing chain.
But as we develop the project we are going several steps further. By working in close educational partnership with the schools, we are getting the students themselves involved in helping to build the Koolskools relationship with the factories, all to the benefit of the workers. Already the teachers and students in Koolskools UK client schools are talking to the factory workers by skype. They are also having factory representatives visit their schools during their overseas marketing trips so that the students can ask them in person about their employment policies, the conditions in the factories, etc. So, in effect, our customers are testing our ethical undertakings to the full, and our manufacturing chain workers can only benefit.
Koolskools manufacturers undertake to:
- Prohibit the use of child labour. Specifically do not hire any employees under the age interfering with compulsory schooling. Comply with any other law that is required by the relevant countries' law for Child Labour;
- Comply with internationally accepted laws and workplace regulations in all locations where it conducts business;
- Not use involuntary or forced labour - indentured, bonded or otherwise;
- Provide a work environment free of harassment, abuse or corporal punishment in any form;
- Pay at least the minimum total compensation required by local law, including all mandated wages, allowances and benefits;
- Ensure that the number of hours worked each week do not exceed the country's legal limitations;
- Provide a safe and healthy work environment;
- Comply with environmental rules, regulations and standards applicable to its operations, and strive to observe environmentally conscious practices in all locations where it operates.
The Koolskools supply chain
If you haven't already had chance, then take some time to explore our Fairtrade cotton supply chain