INDIGENOUS actively workers with over a dozen fair trade filed organizing teams and quality control centers that coordinate over 300 knitting and hand-looming artisan work groups like this one.

“No one should suffer or die to make clothing. Just the opposite, they and their families should prosper. That’s how it is with our supply chain,” asserts Scott Leonard, co-founder and CEO of California-based clothing manufacturer INDIGENOUS. “That’s how it can be with others. Let’s not make this harder than it is. And let’s not wait. Lives are at stake.”

For almost two decades, INDIGENOUS has led the way in fair trade and organic fashion. Over 1,500 artisan knitters in some of South America’s poorest regions participate in the INDIGENOUS supply chain.

“Accidents like the one that happened in Bangladesh simply would not happen in our supply chain,” said Leonard. “We independently survey workers every 6 months, require participatory and fair labor practices, personally tour workshops and pay prices that make safety, benefits and fair wages easy to achieve.”

Co-founder and President Matt Reynolds claims the INDIGENOUS model is readily replicable, adding that despite potentially losing “a distinctive competitive advantage,” the company is ready to share it “to help save lives and promote the well-being of artisans and garment workers everywhere.”   

INDIGENOUS independently collected data that shows that 75 percent of artisans in its supply chain are no longer at risk of poverty. Many are achieving milestones of financial security, even growth as some start their own artisan workshops. Workplaces are safe and provide benefits. A full 85 percent of workers say they are better off since participating in this supply chain.

California Company Is a Model for Responsible Fashion Supply Chain Ethics
EHS Today