Six U.S. rug companies have joined GoodWeave to commit to a child-labor-free supply chain for production of their products, certifying their rugs as ethically made.
GoodWeave is an international nonprofit organization that works to end child labor in the carpet industry and to offer educational opportunities to children in weaving communities in India, Nepal and Afghanistan. The organization monitors and inspects production to ensure that only workers of legal age are employed, and in 2013 is implementing an expanded production standard that includes improving adult working conditions and lessening impact on the environment.
GoodWeave uses a market-based model to achieve its goals by licensing U.S. and European importers and their exporters in South Asia that commit to the GoodWeave standard. Each GoodWeave rug carries a label with a number that can be traced through the supply chain, certifying that the rug was made child-labor-free. Since 1995, 11 million rugs bearing the GoodWeave label have been sold worldwide, and the number of “carpet kids” has dropped from 1 million to 250,000.
With the addition of the following companies, GoodWeave USA now licenses nearly 100 North American importers:
- è bella owner Nicole Linton adapts indigenous South American designs and colors for a contemporary and sophisticated audience. Though her rugs are found in the homes of celebrities, Nicole says the glory goes to the artisans and cultures out of which the designs are born. è bella rugs are woven in India and Nepal from alpaca and wool and, more recently, infused with sustainable fibers like bamboo, cactus and banana to create shimmering visual effects in the luxurious textures. “I want buyers to feel that walking on our rugs is like walking on moss in the forest,” says Nicole, “and I want to sustain people’s livelihoods whether in Peru or Nepal. GoodWeave has a parallel mission. That helps me educate my clients.”
- NOA Living describes the carpets they sell as “ethno-modern,” a style that references distinct cultures while at the same time appealing to modern Western tastes. Owner Sam Nehme credits his wife, Fida, an architect and designer, for the company’s aesthetic, for which she’s earned the nickname, “Queen of Color.” Carpets are hand woven in Nepal of 100 percent wool by experienced, adult artisan weavers. The Nehme family wants to make sure make sure the “ugly practice” of child forced labor has no relationship to beautiful carpets. Says Sam, “We are more committed to that than I can put together in words.”
- Tibetan Karma Carpets was born out of a desire to help a tiny Tibetan village sell their hand-made rugs. Joining GoodWeave was a “way to be part of a compassionate community.” The company has developed into a fine purveyor of both classic and contemporary silk and wool rugs. Some of the designs, such as those in Jet Set Collection, a retro-modern series, were influenced by the patterns formed by sound waves just as a jet is about to break the sound barrier—an homage to co-founder Alex Burgnon’s airline flight attendant career.
- Lindstrom Rugs strives for unpredictable, organic rug patterns inspired by naturally occurring formations such as tree bark, peeling paint and chipped concrete. Drawing on his interior design background, Erik Lindstrom of Seattle, WA, seeks versatility to appeal to client tastes from traditional to ultra-modern. Erik looks to create works of art that help people pursue “the endless search for moral well-being,” so when Erik had to find Nepali weavers for his designs, partnering with GoodWeave for child-labor-free certified rugs was the natural choice.
- Mia Muratori and Co. was founded by internationally trained and exhibited artist Mia Muratori, who branched out into rug design after realizing the connection between her artwork and traditional Oriental and Tibetan symbols. Each of her rugs begins with a painting that she digitally manipulates into a pattern. The digital images are turned into limited-edition, hand-knotted Tibetan rugs by GoodWeave certified adult artisans in Nepal. “As an artist, I seek a positive livelihood,” Mia explains. “It is imperative that I practice fair trade and good business, and GoodWeave makes that possible.”
- Somace Design, based in Honolulu, creates rugs with a sense of Hawaiian family spirit—'ohana—and a modern Pacific feel. A family venture for designer Kaypee Soh and managing director Edward Macey, the company has built a loyal following for its lush, colorful rugs, helping clients bring not only the peaceful spirit of the islands into their homes but also the peace of mind that GoodWeave certified rugs are ethically made.