Ethical business model is the way forward
23 March 2012
Manufacturing companies can be part of the solution rather than part of the problem in addressing poverty in developing world countries, says Joseph Bozich, founder of Knights Apparel.
Bozich, who will be speaking at a public event for the US Studies Centre on Tuesday 27 March, titled 'Entrepreneurship and Human Rights: Knights Apparel's ethical business model', believes that manufacturing companies can offer a sustainable pathway out of poverty for workers without sacrificing profitable business practices.
Knights Apparel is the largest supplier of licensed college apparel in the United States. Through its Alta Gracia brand, whose mission is "Changing Lives One Shirt at a Time," the company is testing a new model of production by paying a 'living wage' to the employees of its Dominican Republic factory.
Workers are paid more than three times the minimum wage for apparel workers in the Dominican Republic, allowing them to transform their lives and the communities they are a part of. They can now afford to pay for all of life's necessities for their family including food, clean water and healthcare and many are saving to build their own homes, attend night school and fund their children's future.
Alta Gracia is the only apparel brand in the world that has been independently verified as meeting 'living wage' standards.
The company also actively respects its employees' rights as workers and as human beings, including the right to a safe and healthy workplace, the right to be treated with dignity and respect on the job, and the right to unionise. Now well into its second year, the success of Alta Gracia offers a model to companies who want to do more to further ethical production standards.
At the event, Bozich will be discussing the creation of Knights Apparel's ethical business model including his collaboration with labour experts, retailers, university students and the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC).
He will also show how his business is helping secure a sustainable pathway out of poverty for workers in the Dominican Republic without sacrificing profitability.
The event is co-hosted by the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney and registration is now open. Bozich is a guest of the US Studies Centre and the NSW Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services.
When: 4.30 to 6pm, Tuesday 27 March
Where: Great Hall, the Quadrangle, Camperdown Campus
RSVP: Online at the US Studies Centre website. Registration is essential.
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