Today, on UN International Day Against Child Labour, a group of New Zealand social entrepreneurs are launching Child Labor Free – the world’s first accreditation system for analysing the use of child labour across supply chains.
It is estimated that 150 million children around the world are working in harmful or prohibitive conditions and one New Zealand duo are committed to changing this. Child Labor Free was founded by Michelle Pratt and Nikki Prendergast when they were setting up their business New Shoots, a series of private early childhood centres and an educational resource company. They found there was no way to know whether the products they were supplying for children weren’t made by children, nor was there any form of accreditation to support it. They are now hoping that Child Labor Free will become the new globally recognised standard, to make both companies and consumers more aware of where their products are coming from.
CLF has partnered with New Zealand Fashion Week and local labels Ruby, Kate Sylvester, Nom*D, Hailwood and Stolen Girlfriends Club to embark on a journey to Child Labor Free accreditation. Dame Pieter Stewart, founder and CEO of NZFW spoke about the partnership at the launch of Child Labor Free this week. “I think collectively we are able to have a voice and bring awareness to different issues and this is one of them,” she said. “We believe in [Child Labor Free] and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t.”
Child Labor Free will work with these brands as part of its pilot phase, to gain transparency in their supply chains and eventually be accredited with the CLF mark. The accreditation can be applied to any product category, not just fashion, but partnering with New Zealand Fashion Week is a great move for these entrepreneurs as the presence of child labour in the fashion industry is a particularly confronting issue, and one which increasingly conscious consumers will no doubt be eager to get behind also.
To find out more about Child Labor Free visit http://www.childlaborfree.com/