Today, corporations and businesses are more aware about their role in eliminating human trafficking and exploitation. They adopt a corporate strategy to prevent exploitation, take measures to clean their supply chain, train their staff, share their expertise to support anti-trafficking projects, take part in community initiatives, contribute to awareness-raising campaigns, support shelters for victims and so on. The Business Leader’s Award acknowledges the vision, creativity and contribution of businesses leaders in identifying, combating and preventing trafficking in persons.
The award is supported by the United Nations Global Compact, End Human Trafficking Now and the UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, and FLA President & CEO Auret van Heerden serves on the advisory committee for the award. Nominate a business leader at www.businessleaderaward.org.
On May 27, School House CEO Rachel Weeks visited FLA headquarters in Washington, D.C., to update staff on the development of her business and share lessons she learned while working in Sri Lanka to help ensure women were paid a living wage while producing School House apparel. School House was the first company to visit FLA’s new headquarters location, and staff gathered to hear Weeks’ story.
In 2007, Weeks traveled to Sri Lanka as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar with the goal of launching her own ethical fashion line and bringing more stylish and customized collegiate apparel to Duke – her alma mater. In a short time, Weeks hired a designer, found a factory, and started producing her clothing line. The most important part of her business? Paying premium prices to the factory to provide a living wage for the workers producing School House apparel.
“Students don’t often stop to consider that they can have their cake and eat it too – they think that they have to choose between being ethical and being fashionable,” Weeks said during her visit. “It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. My goal with School House is to create clothes people want to wear while ensuring a living wage is being paid during production.”
Although Weeks started her company with ethical sourcing in mind, she recognizes that many of the big brands are working to overcome huge barriers to ethical production. “Consumers should be willing to recognize companies’ efforts to improve. Sometimes we don’t realize the enormous challenges companies are up against in managing global supply chains,” Weeks said. Read the rest of this entry »