Latest Update August 2015: This year Goodweave signed a $72bn US company as a licensee – the largest licensee in their history. Is this a sign that Goodweave is making headway among mainstream carpet and rug sellers? We certainly hope so, this would be a massive achievement.
India, Nepal and Afghanistan produce some of the world’s most sought after handmade carpets. In 2011, the total market for handmade rugs was valued at over $200,000,000, with India and Nepal alone comprising 30% of this market.
Rugs are central to these economies, but are typically made by virtual slaves, most often children. It is estimated that around a quarter of a million children work in the handmade rug industry. Many boys in India are trafficked into factories and loom sheds as workers. In Nepal, carpet factories are a magnet for traffickers to buy girls to sell across the border into Indian brothels.
TRAID is funding GoodWeave to introduce a new certification standard for handmade rugs to expand its existing ethical labelling system to end child labour by improving labour conditions, workers’ rights and environmental standards.
While GoodWeave remains focused on its no-child labour requirement, the new Standard recognises that child labour will not be eradicated without addressing adult working conditions. This includes the important issue of replacing adult workers with cheap unskilled child labour which perpetuates inter-generational poverty, removes children from school and devalues artisan products like handmade rugs. In return, manufacturers bearing the GoodWeave mark benefit from new markets for their ethically approved rugs.
During the last two decades, GoodWeave has made significant progress to reduce the number of child labourers in the South Asian carpet industry bringing the number down from 1 million to 250,000.