Fashion United asks why is it so common for garment factory workers to be paid less than a living wage?
Part of the answer is the West’s appetite for cheap clothing. In short, if consumers are not paying for it, somebody else is. But Keren Pybus, co-founder of Ethical Apparel Africa (EAA), doesn’t think ethical production and cost-competitiveness are mutually exclusive.
USAID and EAA welcome USA companies to Accra to highlight Ghana and Benin’s growing apparel manufacturing industry and sourcing opportunities in apparel exports. The three day conference, led by EAA at the Movenpick Hotel, will enable brand sourcing executives from the U.S. to visit factories in Ghana and Benin, meet factory owners and engage with logistics and trade and export specialists in order to understand the benefits for their organization.
West Africa Sourcing Summit - Ghana’s growing apparel manufacturing industry attracts U.S. brands
February 11, 2019
Alongside private sector partners DTRT, Gerber and Groz Beckert, EAA has collaborated with GIZ to launch a new develoPPP program to address vocational training needs for skilled managers and workers to drive the industry forward. This $2.4M project will establish a public Center of Excellence in Ghana for training in critical skill areas such as digital pattern-making, industrial engineering, and QC.
Carly Beischer, EAA Partnerships Director, spoke on a panel regarding building long-term mutually beneficial partnerships with brands. The President of Ghana gave the keynote address focused on the investment case for Ghana and his “Ghana Beyond Aid” vision.
EAA works with DFID and the UK Ghana Chamber of Commerce to invite select apparel stakeholders to an Investment Summit
April 4, 2018
EAA partnered with ANSI, USAID and the Standards Alliance to organize a training series in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire on apparel testing standards. More than 100 people attended, including national standards bodies/labs, manufacturers, and ministries of trade.
Textiles & Apparel Standards Training in Ghana & Cote d'Ivoire
November 9, 2017
Paloma Schackert spoke alongside Oxfam, Center for Global Development and others at the annual Harvard LIDS conference on the theme of "development beyond aid" and the key role of social enterprise in catalyzing more sustainable supply chains.
EAA COO speaks at Harvard Law & International Development Symposium
September 20, 2017
In a review of initiatives to slow and close the loop in the fashion industry, Ethical Apparel Africa is one of the examples showing that a sustainability strategy can deliver on both social and environmental objectives and ethical manufacturing can be tackled at supplier level. The report applauded EAA's focus on "waste reduction initiatives, use of renewable energy, lean (efficient) production processes, versatile production capabilities and rigorous quality systems."
EAA highlighted in Greenpeace report “Fashion at the Cross Roads”
March 10, 2017
EAA's model was highlighted as a model to promote positive supplier relations through dialogue: "Ethical Apparel Africa (EAA) is working to create a network of exceptional factories that deliver quality, cost-competitive products while empowering employees across Africa -- proving that ethical and cost-effective production are not mutually exclusive."
EAA featured in BSR report "Recommendations for the Apparel Sector"
July 22, 2016
Brooklyn Industries highlighted the successful partnership, emphasizing:
"providing regular, secure and fairly paid incomes for women is at the forefront of the project that Brooklyn has supported with its Africa range." Through their production, they have supported Linda Ampah's vision to give back to her workforce: "I seek to empower women at the fringes of society and have trained and employed dozens of homeless women"
Brooklyn Industries features their partnership with Ethical Apparel Africa and KAD Manufacturing
May 11, 2016
Ashoka profiled Ethical Apparel Africa's innovative model for change, emphasizing: "Ethical Apparel Africa (EAA) is a social enterprise that’s taking the best of lean manufacturing principles and efficiencies and applying them not just to cut costs but to create sustainability and ethical employment...Brands are always looking for ways to save money, but increasingly they are looking to do that whilst investing in CSR activities and in 'doing the right thing'. EAA offers a trusted route to exploring a new continent while accomplishing both."
Drapers explores why more fashion retailers are tapping into Africa’s sourcing opportunities.
African countries are vying to become global sourcing hubs. Government investment in new textile sectors, along with their low costs and proximity to Europe, make these appealing. High-volume retailers that can make long-term investment in the local area will make the most of the continent’s sourcing opportunities
EAA was recognised at the Fair Fashion in Africa event in London for their commitment to Women's Empowerment. In addition working with the UN Foundation's Women Deliver conference on gender equality and women's health, rights, and well-being.
Baroness Sugg discusses how the fashion industry can be a force for good in women's economic empowerment.
January 16, 2019
The LSEG report celebrates "the leading private companies operating in Africa, which have the most inspiring stories and the strongest growth potential" to power African development. EAA was one of 360 companies honored out of 4000 applicants. The report was produced in partnership with the ADB, CDC, PwC and Asoko Insight.
EAA speaks at SICOT, international forum to catalyze investment in the West African cotton value chain
March 13, 2018
Keren Pybus delivered a keynote speech to the 600+ delegates attending SEDEX's 2018 conference. SEDEX described the speech as "an inspirational keynote discussing how impact has been achieved in the evolution of the apparel manufacturing industry in Africa." The keynote included video excerpts from EAA partner factory owner Linda Ampah.
Keren Pybus led a discussion of the EAA model and theory of change to a group of postgraduate students and industry professionals, as part of Cambridge's course in Sustainable Value Chains, "a globally influential Institute developing leadership and solutions for a sustainable economy." EAA has also collaborated with Cambridge's Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) Senior Researchers on innovation thought leadership delivering social and economic benefits in manufacturing.
EAA CEO speaks at Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership
September 1, 2017
EAA is now a signatory and active contributor to the development of the Social and Labour Convergence project (SLCP). The SLCP is a 2-year project aiming to develop an industry-wide effective assessment framework: a tool and verification methodology for the collection of unified data on social and labor performance in apparel and footwear supply chains. This will enable the industry to reduce audit fatigue and redirect resources towards improving workers' lives.
EAA has joined the Social & Labor Convergence project
February 16, 2017
Jeanswest, one of Australia's leading lifestyle fashion brands, collaborated with EAA on a beautiful capsule collection influenced by local design. The Herald reports: "Jeanswest has no problems telling the world – and therefore its competitors – about EAA and their factory partners. Davies says she hopes more brands will make collections this way, with more transparency. And shout about it on their labels."
EAA production for Jeanswest highlighted in Sydney Morning Herald
May 11, 2016
The main-stage panel at Planet Textiles explored the role that social entrepreneurs can and are playing to nurture a future where prosperity is within reach for everyone in the fashion value chain. EAA's Co Founder spoke to the 300 person audience alongside two other members of Ashoka's Fabric of Change cohort.
EAA's Paloma Pineda speaks on social entrepreneurship at Planet Textiles
February 18, 2016
EAA was selected as a top-ten finalist out of more than 300 entries from 55 countries. The Challenge honored organizations that demonstrate innovation, impact, and sustainability in driving solutions forward at every step of the fashion value chain. EAA is proud to be part of the Fabric of Change cohort alongside other innovative businesses and nonprofits tackling different challenges, from environmental impact to working conditions to conscious consumerism.
EAA was honored alongside nine other businesses, chosen among over 700 applicants. The CO Leadership Awards champion trailblazing apparel businesses that are pushing the boundaries of creativity, combining great products & services with business practices that change lives and solve environmental challenges.
EAA has been selected as a CO 10 winner for the CO Leadership Awards 2019
January 3, 2019
Launched at the United Nations, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models. In becoming a BCtA member EAA joins a cohort of over 200 market leading enterprises contributing to global development efforts.
EAA's commitment to social responsibility recognized by Business Call to Action at the UNDP
April 25, 2018
Ethical Apparel Africa partnered with Alfie Designs to celebrate the #FashionRevolution. Watch the video to learn more about our work to advance ethical manufacturing in Ghana and to hear directly from workers.
EAA and Alfie Designs celebrate the #FashionRevolution
December 20, 2017
US company PAW5 specializes in products to stimulate dogs mentally while feeding them. PAW5 is committed to building a sustainable supply chain and has developed a strong partnership with EAA and KAD Manufacturing. Their recent order enabled KAD to hire and train 60 additional people and provide incentives, resulting in higher productivity and 1.5X take home pay.
EAA Partner Factoy KAD produces innovative product for U.S. pet market
October 2, 2017
With the export of a container of 15K clergy wear products to Hurley's Religious Goods in the USA, EAA partner factory ANC achieved a major milestone. US Ambassador to Benin, Lucy Tamlyn, remarked “I congratulate Benin on the country’s first apparel AGOA shipment and ANC for its first export to the United States. I’m also pleased to note that the growth at ANC is being achieved alongside a strong commitment to ethical standards. The jobs that are being created will empower employees to support their families and communities.”
EAA supports partner factory ANC to complete first-ever apparel export under AGOA from Benin to the USA
August 21, 2017
Ethical Apparel Africa was highlighted in the weekend edition of the Times (UK) for our long-standing partnership with luxury floral shirt company Irvine.
Founder Al Irvine says of EAA: "This is exactly what I was looking for: an expert who can provide not only superlative quality products but also guarantee that those who create my shirts are getting good wages and the highest standards of working conditions, training and educational opportunities."
The UK luxury nightwear company Tales of Thread feature in the Huffington Post focused on their ethical sourcing partnership with Ethical Apparel Africa, manufacturing in woman-owned factories centered on providing education and empowerment opportunities for their (predominantly female) workforce.
"Africa is fast emerging as the newest hub for apparel sourcing, but the risk is that brands will migrate there in search of lower costs, and supply chains will develop the same unethical and unsustainable characteristics that already exist in other parts of the world. Despite the risk, African apparel manufacturing presents a huge opportunity to reimagine the apparel supply chain and design it from scratch with sustainability at its core. Ethical Apparel Africa is doing just that."
EAA featured in Ashoka Forbes article on making the fashion industry 'a force for good'
February 12, 2016
In partnership with USAID and the West Africa Trade & Investment Hub, Ethical Apparel Africa led a coalition of four factories from Ghana and Benin to exhibit at MAGIC. The West African factories showcased their production capabilities and emphasized the advantages of manufacturing in the region.