EAA was founded based on the core belief that all manufacturing can and should be done ethically. In 2015, while working together in West Africa, we realized if ever there was a place to prove this it was here.
Against the backdrop of rising prices in Asia and industry pressure to find its next manufacturing hub, we saw the fundamental advantages West Africa could offer: quick shipping times to the US/EU, duty advantages, low cost of living, and labor availability.
The business opportunity was clearly there, but what inspired us to start EAA was the opportunity to do things differently: To get it right from the start, building a model of manufacturing that prioritizes both profit and people.
For us, this starts with partnership. We met factory owners in Ghana and Benin who showed deep commitment to their workers and communities, but who struggled to expand due to lack of volume orders. We built our business model around enabling them to achieve their visions of worthwhile job creation at scale.
We know that cost competitive and ethical production are not mutually exclusive. We work with our partner factories every day to continuously improve: to increase efficiency, go beyond compliance, and meaningfully impact workers’ lives.
In addition to improving the quality of existing jobs, we measure ourselves on our ability to create new ones. We believe the creation of stable employment, particularly for women, is an incredibly powerful driver of sustainable change.
By 2027, we aim to create 5,000 high quality manufacturing jobs in West Africa.
We focus on driving operational excellence at the factory level, reducing waste and steadily increasing efficiency. The resulting savings are invested in workers - through benefits, empowerment programs, and steady progress towards living wages.
BEYOND COMPLIANCE APPROACH
We believe compliance should be a process of continuous and sustainable improvement, not an exercise in tick boxes and one-off audits. For us, compliance is only the starting point. We are developing our partner factories to sustainably implement living wages, benefits, and empowerment programs. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s also good for business - leading to lower staff turnover, reduced absenteeism, and better productivity.
We are an active member and proud signatory of the Social & Labor Convergence Project (SLCP), a coalition of brands and suppliers focused on developing a converged global assessment to reduce audit fatigue and redirect resources towards improving workers’ lives.
All EAA partner factories commit to working with us in complete transparency towards continuous improvement on compliance. Our team works in our partner factories on a daily basis to ensure steady progress is made. We also conduct rigorous formal assessments against our Social Compliance Improvement tool, which integrates input from a range of standards (ILO, ETI, SMETA, WRAP, SA8000, BSCI, Higg) into 100+ criteria with 4 phases. These assessments are shared with our clients on a regular basis and periodically validated by external bodies.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Through our commitment to ethical manufacturing and to catalysing the sustainable growth of the apparel sector in West Africa, we are making meaningful progress towards many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals including in particular Goals 1, 5, 8, and 9.
SDG 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
MODERN SLAVERY STATEMENT
EAA has zero tolerance for any form of forced labor, and all EAA partner factories adhere to the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) base code. In accordance with the UK Modern Slavery Act, we have developed a formal statement specifying our commitment to implementing and monitoring policies, procedures and continuous training across our factory network. Click here to read our statement.