NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

Freeset Receives Coveted A+ Rating in 2019 Ethical Fashion Report

One of Only 7 organizations Out of 130 to Receive The Highest Rating

Kolkuta, India – April 10, 2019 – Freeset, an ethical clothing manufacturer located in Kolkuta, India, announced today that it has received an A+ rating in the 2019 Ethical Fashion Report.  The A+ rating was given to only 7 companies out of 130 organizations and 480 well-known clothing brands who were surveyed by Baptist World Aid.

Baptist World Aid delivered its sixth consecutive report on labor rights and environmental management systems in the fashion industry. The 2019 Ethical Fashion Report grades 130 companies from A+ to F, based on the strength of their systems to mitigate against the risks of forced labor, child labor and exploitation in their supply.

“We are honored to have our practices recognized by an organization who keeps an eye on our industry and makes sure workers are being treated fairly and that we are reducing our environmental impact as well,” said Freeset Global Marketing and Sales Vice President Nancy Knapp. “We’ve always made sure our customers know that we offer fair and dignified employment to the makers of our goods and we applaud the Baptist World Aid for bringing attention to this important issue.”

Freeset employees produce customized t-shirts, bags and accessories for use by organizations and businesses.  Freeset products are used for events such as conferences, sales meetings and employee activities and recognition and are also offers a retail line available online for purchase. Freeset believes that every person should have the freedom to work in a safe environment, get paid fair wages and have a job that they're proud of. Freeset exists to offer employment to people who've been marginalized by society. They've strategically placed their facilities in communities in India written off by society because Freeset believes these communities deserve to live a life of freedom.

According to the 2019 Ethical Fashion Report, for the 43 million workers in the Asia Pacific1 region, and for millions of others across the world, the global fashion industry remains a significant employer. It also spurs economic growth, generates tax revenue, provides valuable skills and training, and delivers crucial foreign exchange.  All of these factors can, and often do, contribute to improving the lives of workers and their communities.

At the same time, the fashion industry is a source of exploitation for millions. For the majority of workers in the fashion industry, wages are so low that it leaves them, and their families, trapped in the cycle of poverty. Beyond this, fashion production throughout the Asia Pacific is marred by the prevalence of slavery and child labor.  While safety standards have improved, fire safety, structural defects within factories, and unsafe working conditions remain reasons for continued concern. 

In addition to its traditional focus on labor rights, this year’s report and research also incorporates new environmental management metrics in the assessment criteria. In 2019, 75 percent of companies assessed actively engaged in the research process, shedding light on the global fashion industry’s performance in the arenas of labor rights and environmental management.  In the 2018 Ethical Fashion Report, it was acknowledged that a “truly ethical” company not only ensures that its supply chain empowers workers and pays them a living wage, it also understands its impact on the environment and manages its footprint to keep waterways, the earth and the atmosphere healthy. Correspondingly, it is the workers in the fashion supply chain that most acutely feel the detrimental effects of poor environmental management.

About Freeset                                   

Freeset was established in 2001 to provide employment and intervention for women who have never had the choice to be free. With its main manufacturing located in Kolkata and two other locations in the Murshidabad region, Freeset employs approximately 250 at-risk women who make bags, tees and accessories out of organic cotton, recycled blends and jute.  An ethical manufacturer who gives women and their families an opportunity to have dignified employment and live in freedom, Freeset also provides community and social services in the form of trauma counselling, child care, literacy and financial education to support these women and families on their holistic journey to freedom.  With its transparent and sustainable supply chain, Freeset in India is verified globally by the World Fair Trade Federation (WFTF) and Freeset USA is verified in the United States as Fair Trade by the Fair Trade FederationFreeset has its key distributors in the United States (Freeset USA), Canada (Kindred Apparel) and New Zealand (Liminal and Common Good).  For more information, visit www.freeset.com

About Baptist World Aid and Tearfund

Baptist World Aid Australia is an international aid and development organization, with a vision to see a world where poverty has ended, where all people enjoy the fullness of life God intends. Established in 1959, Baptist World Aid Australia works with local partners in 25 countries in the Pacific, Middle East, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Africa.  Baptist World Aid Australia has been campaigning various industries to end worker exploitation for over nine years, beginning its research into the fashion and electronics industries in 2010.

Tearfund is an international aid and development organization passionate about seeing individuals and communities transformed by hope, opportunity and dignity.  In our work of seeking justice and an end to poverty and exploitation, Tearfund wants to encourage companies and consumers to connect with the people who make their clothes.  Our Protect cause combats human trafficking and exploitation, both forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. We use a ‘5Ps’ approach to describe our activities: Prevention, Prosecution, Protection, Policy and Partnerships. We also work with communities who are vulnerable to labor exploitation, helping reduce their risk and providing post-trauma care and vocational training.

To access the 2019 Ethical Industry Report, click here.

Download the PDF of this news release: Freeset Receives Coveted A+ Rating in 2019 Ethical Fashion Report

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