Look carefully when buying carpets
The work of the NGO GoodWeave aims to end child labour in global supply chains - from the manufacturer to the end customer. The corresponding seal of quality is therefore one of the best assurances that a carpet has been produced without child labour.7 Dec 2022
If one follows the accounts of those involved at the time, the origins of GoodWeave lie in a live talk show broadcast in Germany in the early 1990s. In it, the Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi reported on grievances and circulating illegal child labour in the carpet industry. An elderly lady, rightly agitated by what she had just heard, called the broadcasting station to express her indignation and to announce that she wanted to throw away her own carpet, which might have been produced by children's hands. Moreover, she said, something absolutely had to change in the future. Turning to Kailash Satyarthi, she said, "I am very old, I have at most ten years to live. I can't wait any longer, but you look young and can cause me to buy a new carpet without child labour." This was the initial spark for the founding of GoodWeave in 1994, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), which - along with many other initiatives to end child labour - earned Kailash Satyarthi the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, among others.
Today, the GoodWeave seal of quality is one of the best guarantees that a carpet has been produced without the involvement of children. The seal of quality is only awarded to manufacturers or exporters who adhere to contractually binding production standards - especially with regard to the outlawing of child labour. To guarantee the contractual obligations, local GoodWeave inspectors have and use the right to make spontaneous, unannounced visits to the licensed companies. The use of the GoodWeave label is also linked to the payment of a licence fee, which is used to support the NGO in terms of monitoring production through inspections as well as training programmes.
According to GoodWeave, more than 6,700 children have been freed from forced labour, more than 26,000 rescued and threatened children have received quality education, and hundreds of thousands of children have been prevented from working illegally. GoodWeave has also expanded its traditional work in carpet production to other areas such as linen, home textiles, costume jewellery, bricks and tea. The positive effects of this work in the new areas are already making themselves felt. However, the impact of GoodWeave goes far beyond the figures mentioned here, because the NGO's actions have a generally positive influence on social norms and behaviour, which contributes to the sustainable eradication of child labour.
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