Know Their Supply Chain
Know Their Supply Chain
Ethical companies know where their products come from. And at Obakki, we track the origins, the raw materials, the complete process — of everything we sell. We pride ourselves in working to expand opportunities for talented artisans who have passion and drive to succeed — but who simply lack access to the global market. Each relationship is a long-term investment that fosters independence and creates access to international markets for our artisan base. And we work hand-in-hand to bridge this gap to make sure that you know where these products come from.
Knowing how each product is made, from concept to completion is an essential step in maintaining sustainability and we see this as our responsibility so you can continue to shop as an ethical consumer.
Only Hands-On Site Visits Can Confirm Sustainability
Obakki founder Treana Peake visits every artisan to see the product being made. The pandemic has impacted her travel, but she is now ready to get back on the road. In addition to the founder’s eyes on the actual product creation, we have teams on the ground that ensure our high standards for ethical consumer goods are being met. And if those standards aren’t being met, we work with the artisans to create conditions that respect the people and the environment.
For example, our artisan potter partners in Uganda were digging very deep holes to reach the clay needed for the pots they sell at local markets. Prior to us working with them, we heard that they were gathering clay at the expense of their own safety. After hearing this, Treana started working with the women to ensure they could safely continue their traditional craft and earn a sustainable local livelihood.
We are now expanding our partnership so that the proceeds can be invested back into the community. However, a lot of damage could have been done if we’d placed a large international order without first ensuring that they had safe working conditions. By putting safety and training precautions in place, and working out alternative collection methods, we are confident that these women and their community can sustain a livelihood that is ethical for everyone involved.
In Mali, Treana was working with another artisan partner because she loved the product and the cause behind it. When she visited the facility herself and was shown every part of the supply chain, she found that bleach was being used at the very end of the production cycle in order to achieve whiter whites.
This bleach was then rinsed out of buckets and the water drained into the local water source. Without Treana visiting the production area herself, our orders would have produced a negative impact on the area and no one would have known. We consider these personal visits an important policy, one that confirms our products are ethical.
They Meant Well
Without understanding local culture, great damage can be done. When Treana was in South Sudan, she witnessed a shea butter production facility that was set up by an international company. Their motives were pure - and they thought they were doing a service to the village by creating economic opportunities for the women. But they were, in fact, putting them in danger.
The women became victims to a series of vicious attacks caused by jealousy from other villages in the area who weren’t part of the project. Their facility was burned down several times and things turned even more violent with physical attacks.
This on-the-ground experience cannot be had from behind a desk in the western world. As a company, we must dig deeper to ensure we are part of the solution rather than part of the problem. That means getting into the field and seeing it with your own two eyes.
It is vital that we know the smallest details of an artisan’s supply chain from start to finish. And we want our customers to be assured that their purchase benefits everyone involved. That is our promise to you, and to our artisan partners. Sustainable. Ethical. Purpose-led.
SHOP OUR COLLECTION OF ARTISAN-LED PRODUCTS
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