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On the Road to Certification

It's a new year and we have many new initiatives in sight! As our production team in Vietnam heads home for a long Tet holiday, we'd like to share the good news of our recent developments. 

One of the founding principles of Ethnotek is transparency, and that includes sharing our production standards. According to the Global Living Wage Coalition, the standard income for a sewing worker in an urban area is ₫7,446,294 Vietnamese Dong per month = $USD 321 per Month.

We're proud to say that our workers are paid above that standard and also provided additional benefits. Below is a compensation table for all sewing workers signed by the director of the company. 

A notable difference is that our workshop is Vietnamese owned, which is actually quite rare in Vietnam. A majority of the bag and shoe factories are Korean owned and started with large foreign investment. We're very proud to support these local grassroots heroes and plan on keeping it that way! Feel free to check us out and learn more about the team here.

Until now, we've been very small and have moved locations five times over the past eleven years. What originally started in a residential home, eventually grew into larger and larger facilities. Due to our small and scrappy size and budgets, we never quite could afford to move into the type of facility that we just moved into this month (January 2023). It has all the right qualifications to get certified and provide a much safer, cleaner and spacious working environment for the team. 

Some of these details include more bathrooms supplied with feminine hygiene products, multiple exits around the facility and a fire extinguishing sprinkler system. We have installed a state of the art evaporation ventilation and cooling system. There are water-drip pads on one side and industrial fans on the opposite side the suck the air from inside the space to vent outward. This unidirectional flow ensures the cleanest possible air, is dust free and is great for reducing the spread of bacteria and viruses. It also has a very low energy consumption.

Our goal is to have a BSCI agent audit the facility after Tet holiday in February 2023 so that we can make all necessary upgrades and receive certification by June.  After receiving BSCI certification, it will be much easier to receive other certifications such as Fair Wear Certification and B-Corp certification. Badges we want to stamp on every product. 

In addition to receiving these certifications, we intend to make the workshop fully carbon neutral through the use of solar panels. To make the facility 100% solar powered, we need a budget of $50k, so we need to work hard to sell a lot more Ethnotek bags and backpacks to get there. Thanks for helping us do that!

Well, that's the update for now... Stay tuned and we'll be sure to notify the community as the road to certification progresses this year!

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