Imagine if whenever you went to buy a product, every person who worked toward its creation was waiting there to present it to you. Some of them are in crisp business suits with slicked hair and shaved faces. Others are more casual and look a lot like you. But then, there are some with dirt-creased hands and exhausted faces. They tell you they haven’t been paid in months—that they only have time to sleep for three or four hours a night. They stare at the floor and mutter that they thought they were going to be taken to school, but somehow they never made it there. Now they’re slaves, and their work is literally their life.
If these people handed you your product, would you still buy it?
How can we stop slavery when it’s so difficult to see? The answer is unquestionably complicated, but one organization is trying to make a difference. Made In A Free World is committed to empowering businesses and individuals to use the greatest power available to them—their consumer dollars—to eradicate slavery through total global supply chain transparency.
Is this a lofty goal? Certainly, which is why Made In A Free World is starting at the roots. They offer companies a new and easy-to-use software called FRDM™ (Forced Labor Risk Determination and Mitigations). The software mitigates the risks of investing in a suppliers that use forced or child labor. Cotopaxi is proud to be one of the first nine companies using FRDM™. We firmly believe it is a strong step toward globalizing market transparency.
But what can you do? How can you personally fight slavery? Should you boycott every major manufacturer? Sew your own clothes? Harvest your own food? Maybe, but we propose another solution: support businesses with transparent supply chains.
Spend more on less. Make long-term investments in quality products. This holiday season, please think carefully about what you choose to buy. If you’re looking for a place to start, try shopping from one of the nine Made In A Free World companies you can see on madeinafreeworld.com/members.
To learn more about why each company joined the movement, watch the video below.