In 2006 GoodWeave began to investigate the need for an expanded international standard for the rug industry. At the same time it was decided to change the name of the certification program and label to GoodWeave to make it clear that the standards are changing and to position the organization to grow into new manufacturing sectors in the future. A research paper commissioned in 2007, which was based on field research in India and Nepal, as well as desktop research of other existing standards, showed the following:
- The rug industry is still a “cottage industry” in many areas, with wages being paid on a piece-work basis and no regular employment being guaranteed.
- In many of the smaller manufacturing units, there is no culture of management systems or record keeping, and therefore no accurate information on payment of minimum wages.
- Environmental impacts include smoke emissions, untreated effluent from washing and dyeing plants and incorrect waste disposal.
- No other existing standard addresses the particular social and environmental impacts of rug manufacturing in South Asia.
Further, the Pilot Project carried out with exporters in Nepal between November 2008 and May 2009 has shown that:
- Nepal has adequate employment and environmental legislation in place, but there is virtually no government enforcement. Government Ministries have indicated that they would welcome voluntary compliance initiatives.
- The introduction of simple water treatment systems could reduce some of the harmful emissions. An initial environmental assessment has shown the main areas of impact to include discharge of acidic waste water from washing and dyeing plants, and damage to water quality from very high Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) rates.
- There is the potential to introduce solar power in many of the work places, and this would help the efficiency of the manufacturers who currently face severe electricity shortages and often turn to burning unclean fuel – further investigation is necessary.
- Existing social standards for workers in many weaving units are fairly low, and the whole industry could benefit from the introduction of basic management systems, proper recording of hours worked, as well as training on occupational health and safety.
Click here to download and comment on the June 2010 public summary (note this is a historical document).