SUMMARY: Nest's Artisan Advancement Project is an industry-wide initiative bringing unprecedented transparency, social responsibility and sustainability to supply chains employing millions of homeworkers. Through training, assessment, and remediation designed for the informal economy and building scalable solutions to barriers facing the sector as a whole, Nest is creating inclusive supply chains.
PROBLEM SPACE: Up to 60% of garment production is subcontracted from factories to decentralized or home-based workers. The true size of this workforce is estimated to be 300 million workers, primarily women. While factory transparency has increased since the Rana Plaza collapse, home-based workers remain invisible and at-risk. These women are among the lowest paid of the world's workforce, earning a $1.80/day, an estimated 50% less than their factory counterparts. Operating in the informal, cash-based economy means they are outside of traditional labor laws, lacking protection and having little bargaining power. Given the invisibility of their work, these men and women are also at extreme risk of slave labor and indentured servitude. Homework, however, has enormous economic and social impact potential. It reduces urban migration and allows women to earn an income while remaining at home to care for children and other dependents. It gives opportunity when gender discrimination makes traveling to work dangerous or when physical or mental disabilities make it difficult to leave the home. However, with no model for assessing and remediating these decentralized producers, brands lack the confidence in sourcing from these workers making this comprehensive effort a crucial component for stronger supply chains that work for women.
SOLUTION: Nest is launching the first-ever set of industry-approved Ethical Compliance Standards and accompanying assessment and remediation tools designed specifically for the nuanced environment outside of factories. This model focuses on a proactive approach for ensuring that increased transparency is a springboard for change advancing workers at the very bottom of the pyramid and creating a way for brands to comfortably increase sourcing of product from there workers, thereby ensuring fair wages and business growth to end the cycle of poverty through increased economic opportunity. The model is a training-first approach that engages business management, all subcontractors and homeworkers in an on-site program on the expectations and policies needed to create an ethically compliant operation. Over a 6-month period, Nest works with the business to ensure implementation and adoption of the new policies. The formal assessment is then performed which measures compliance through all layers of subcontracting and includes performance of randomly selected visits to home-based workers. The assessment results in a formal Corrective Action Plan outlining strategy and responsibility for necessary remediation. For areas where remediation solutions do not yet exist, Nest will play a leading role in identifying the right partners to help build applicable solutions.
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