FOUNDING STORY

  • The frontier of apparel manufacturing is shifting to Africa, bringing with it opportunity to create millions of jobs for women but also risk of repeating these patterns of exploitation. 

  • West Africa has the potential to be different. The region offers significant advantages to US buyers – competitive costs, duty-free status (15-32% saving vs Asia), and favorable logistics. 

  • We founded Ethical Apparel Africa with the vision of shaping the industry in Ghana to ‘get it right from the start’. 

  • We work with local women-owned factories and support them to make the leap to export while prioritizing the well being of their workers. 

  • To do this, we leverage technology and lean management to create a virtuous cycle of productivity and investment in people. 

  • We are on a mission to empower people and protect the planet

  • By 2030, will aim to create 10,000 sustainable jobs, over 70% for women

OPERATING MODEL

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.

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We select African factory partners with aligned values and a vision for scale.

We support factories to continuously improve operations through training by our on-the-ground technical and compliance experts.

We support factories to continuously improve operations through training by our on-the-ground technical and compliance experts.

We support factories to continuously improve operations through training by our on-the-ground technical and compliance experts.

We ensure a portion of the profit from these orders is reinvested into workers - through benefits, empowerment programs, and making steady progress towards living wages.

We measure the resulting benefits in productivity (through decreased absenteeism / turnover), and continue to support factories to improve, grow, and create jobs.

We deliver high quality, cost competitive, and ethically manufactured product for our clients.

We manage volume orders from our US/EU/UK partners from product development to ex country, enabling factories to increase efficiency.

Our passionate, experienced team drives this Operating Model forward on the ground in Ghana and Benin. Read more about our people here.

ETHICAL COMMITMENT

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 to increase workers’ satisfaction. 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 a 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 factories of that we either own or partner with commit to 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 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


 

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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.