FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS EDUN?
WHAT IS EDUN’S MISSION?
EDUN’s primary goals are to create beautiful clothes using ethical conditions and to help create long-term sustainable employment in the developing world, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.
EDUN is a for-profit business – founded on the premise of trade vs. aid as a means of building sustainable communities. The company works on a micro-level to help build the skill sets of the people involved in making clothing. In addition, EDUN also continues to explore partnership opportunities at a macro-level to improve working conditions and build sustainable communities where it produces.
EDUN wants to use its voice to encourage others in the fashion community to do business in Africa and help bring the continent out of extreme poverty. In 1980, Africa had a 6% share of world trade. By 2002, its share had dropped to just 2% despite accounting for 12% of the world’s population. If Africa could regain just 1% of global trade, it would earn an additional $70 billion in exports each year. This is three times more than the region currently receives in international assistance. EDUN is currently produced in India, Peru, Tunisia, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius and Madagascar.
IS EDUN A CHARITY?
EDUN is not a charity. It is a for-profit business. EDUN is focused on developing a successful economic business model. Via this model, EDUN’s long-term aim is to provide trade and create long-term sustainable employment to help foster economic growth rather than provide charity.
EDUN has a triple bottom line, which means our decision to do business with a factory is based not only on price/margins and quick delivery, but also on where trade is needed the most as well as the social and environmental performance of our business. Through our assessment, remediation and capacity building programs EDUN will ensure our suppliers meet all legal labor and health and safety requirements, including paying workers their legal wages and benefits. It is about a deeper commitment – working with the factories to grow their capabilities so they are a viable resource for us as well as other brands.
IS EDUN ORGANIC?
While EDUN’s primary focus is trade, we are also working towards building our socially and environmentally responsible (SER) program by using more organic materials in the collection whenever possible. Organic cotton is not only a responsible environmental solution, but it also provides healthier working conditions and is a valuable strategic market opportunity for farmers in Africa. Currently, all of our EDUN t-shirts are made from 100% organic cotton.
WHAT IS EDUN LIVE?
In 2006 EDUN launched the edun LIVE brand. The mission of edun LIVE is to help foster trade and increase long-term sustainable employment in Africa through high-volume sales of blank t-shirts.
From the fields where the cotton is picked, to the spinning, knitting and finally the garment making, all edun LIVE products are 100% African, from ‘grower to sewer.’
edun LIVE aims to put forth a business model that is a proof of concept to other companies. In other words, a demonstration that one can do business – and do it very well – with developing countries like those in sub-Saharan Africa. It is our hope that others will replicate the edun LIVE business model and grow the trade and employment opportunities available in these impoverished regions.
As edun LIVE matures, it aims to grow its social commitment to these areas and local factory communities. With business from its customers, edun LIVE will continue to work with farmers and factories to improve conditions in some of the poorest districts of Africa’s poorest countries.
WHY IS TRADE FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES ESSENTIAL IN THE FIGHT AGAINST POVERTY?
*As important as development assistance and debt relief are, no African person or government wants to rely on foreign aid for the provision of basic needs. Africans want a fair system, which lets them trade with rich nations and earn more money, so they can grow their economies and pay for their own education and healthcare.
As it stands now, the global economy is not equitable – wealthier countries are able to dictate unfair trading terms to developing countries by using protectionist policies to artificially support their own producers and limit market access to poor countries.
Rich countries subsidize their own agricultural sectors with approximately $1 billion each day, dumping their excess products in international markets at artificially low prices, and making it impossible for African farmers to compete.
Quotas limit the quantity of products that may enter a certain market while tariffs often make products too expensive to compete.
In order to help Africa invest in health, water, roads and education systems for its people, and grow sufficiently to reduce its dependency on development assistance and debt relief, trade opportunities must increase.
An expanded and fairer trade system would allow African countries to earn the resources they need and not only achieve the Millennium Development Goals, but also reach a more important goal for Africa: self-sufficiency.
But instead of earning more money to invest in improving the lives of its people, Africa has been earning less and less.
* Information and statistics provided by DATA (debt AIDS trade Africa)
WHAT IS THE AGOA AGREEMENT?
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a United States Trade Act that significantly enhances U.S. market access for (currently) 38 Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. The Act originally covered an 8-year period from October 2000 to September 2008, but amendments signed into law by U.S. President George Bush in July 2004 further extend AGOA to 2015.
However, after September 2012 African nations need to ship garments made from either local or USA-made fabric in order to obtain duty free status. For now, garment manufacturers can have duty free access to the USA regardless of where the fabric comes from. This is referred to as the 3rd Party Fabric Provision. This provision was due to end in September 2007 but was recently extended until 2012, which gives the African continent some more time to develop its industry. Although 5-6 years might seem like a long time, in the context of what needs to be accomplished during this period, it is not. It is really a race against time.
Behind the scenes, EDUN along with other brands and organizations (The Whitaker Group, MAFAF, ComMark and ACTIF to name a few) are helping get a further much needed extension.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
This means that if the ability of sub-Saharan African regions to make fabric is not developed before the expiration of the 3rd Party Fabric Provision in 2012, then the apparel industry in these regions could suffer dramatically, leading to the loss of thousands of African jobs. edun LIVE is a key to developing this supply chain. The brand concentrates on developing fabric capacity in the areas where it operates, so that the African apparel industry can be sustainable for years to come regardless of changes in policy.
To date, edun LIVE has manufactured hundreds of thousands of 100% “grower-to-sewer” African t-shirts in sub-Saharan nations and sold them as blanks for merchandising purposes as a means of helping the African apparel industry to get up and running.
WHAT IS FAIRTRADE?
IS EDUN FAIRTRADE?
EDUN does not certify the cotton on its garments under the Fairtrade certification system and as a result does not carry the FAIRTRADE Mark on its clothing. EDUN supports the Fairtrade model and is currently in discussions with Fairtrade Mark Ireland about the possibility of how to integrate Fairtrade certified cotton into its supply chain.
EDUN’s aim is to work in communities where business is needed most. This means that EDUN works with factories to bring them up to the highest standards of fair wages and good working conditions. �
DOES EDUN USE ORGANIC COTTON?
EDUN uses organic cotton wherever possible. 47% of the EDUN Spring/Summer 2007 collection is organic, which is comprised mainly of fleece and tee shirts. Sourcing fabrics and raw materials change with the season and fabrication requirements of each collection. EDUN sources its organic fabrics from Peru, India, Turkey and Uganda.
DOES EDUN OWN ITS OWN FACTORIES?
EDUN utilizes locally run factories in Africa, South America and India. EDUN does not build and does not own these factories.
DOES EDUN MONITOR THE FACTORIES IT WORKS WITH AND REMEDIATE WORKING CONDITIONS?
EDUN conducts audits by non-profit socially responsible monitoring, training, and program building organization Verité. In addition, EDUN internal staff (production team and senior management) visits each factory at least twice a year and personally works with them to try to improve compliance infractions through coaching and feedback.
DO EDUN FACTORIES UPHOLD THE RIGHT TO WORKERS’ FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION?
EDUN’S SUPPLIER CODE is very explicit – see below. EDUN and Verité assess all suppliers against these code elements and work with each supplier and their workforce through training and capacity building to reach these standards wherever they fail to, recognizing that the context of each supplier’s situation will determine the best approach.
1. FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION:
1.1. The Company maintains a positive, open attitude towards the organizational and administrative activities of trade unions. The Company establishes this in both written policy and consistent practice. The Company negotiates with unions and respects the terms of the contract for the length of its implementation.
1.2. The Company neither prevents nor discourages any employees from forming and/or joining trade unions or associations throughout the length of their employment. The Company does not use severance pay or indemnification to limit employees’ associations.
1.3. The Company allows employees to bargain collectively without interference, threat, or intimidation, to determine their salary, hours, social security, vacation, sickness, maternity leave and minimum wage. The Company does not subject worker representatives to discrimination, and those worker representatives have access to all workplaces necessary to carry out their representation functions.
1.4. Where law prohibits the formation of unions, the Company establishes a parallel means by which employees may freely associate, bargain and field their concerns.
1.5. The Company does not close operations nor shift production to punish employees attempting to form unions.
WHICH NON PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS DOES EDUN WORK WITH?
DATA/ONE, OXFAM, Verité, Global Business Coalition, Organic Exchange, ALAFA, Miami University, MFA Forum, and ComMark.
WHAT IS THE PRICE POINT OF PRODUCT?
$25 – $200 with some specialty items from $200-$400 USD.
WHAT IS EDUN’S CONNECTION TO BONO’S RED PROGRAM?
EDUN is not an official RED company. It was Bono’s intention to create RED to encourage large multi-national companies to help rid that part of the world of AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Because EDUN, from its inception, has been dedicated to building trade in Africa as well as addressing the AIDS issue for factory workers, it was felt that bringing other fashion companies to the table would bring additional value to the goal. That said, EDUN has and will work with RED partners to help them utilize the EDUN supply chain to manufacture both high-end and basic promotional product for their RED brand initiatives.
WHERE IS EDUN DISTRIBUTED?
Current retailers include Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Matches (England), Beams and Isetan (Japan), Barneys, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Fred Segal (US) as well as selected specialty stores worldwide.