Transparency. Responsibility. Sustainability.
When I introduce people to the Kastlfel Brand, I love to talk about our unique, transparent supply chain. Included in this process is taking our USA made, recycled yarn to Guatemala to be cut and sewn into garments. I often get the question:
“Why Guatemala, because it is cheaper?”
“Oh, your clothing isn’t made in the USA?”
I welcome these questions as it gives me the opportunity educate a consumer with the hopes of feeding their curiosity to learn more about the textile industry and where their clothing comes from.
So, why do we manufacture in Guatemala?
For many reasons, and yes, one of them being that it is cheaper to do so. However, if we actually cared most about cutting costs, we would simply source our fabrics from China and find the cheapest factory to produce our designs, while turning a blind eye to any practice that did not help the people or planet. But we are on a mission to make things better by making better things – which takes us back to Guatemala:
1. Guatemala heavily enforces social security mandates for factory workers
We have done our research to figure out what the social security programs include, who receives such benefits, and how well these programs are enforced. Through our own research and vetting out our manufacturing facility we can guarantee that our workers are supplied with insurance, are compensated properly and in a safe and healthy working environment, and are given medical and maternity benefits. We stay up to date with our facility and their compliance through our WRAP certification. To learn more about Guatemala’s social security programs visit: https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/progdesc/ssptw/2010-2011/americas/guatemala.html
2. Our factory is WRAP certified
To be WRAP certified means our apparel factory is operating in compliance with local laws and internationally-accepted standards of ethical workplace practices.
“Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) is an independent, objective, non-profit team of global social compliance experts dedicated to promoting safe, lawful, humane and ethical manufacturing around the world through certification and education.” To become WRAP certified, our factory must meet the WRAP Principles. These principles are based on “generally accepted workplace standards, local laws and workplace regulations. Principles include human resources management, health and safety, environmental practices, and legal compliance. The WRAP Certification Program’s objective is to independently monitor and certify compliance with these standards, to ensure that sewn producers are being produced under lawful, humane and ethical conditions.” – source: wrapcompliance.org
- Compliance with Laws and Workplace Regulations
- Prohibition of Forced Labor
- Prohibition of Child Labor
- Prohibition of Harassment or Abuse
- Compensation and Benefits
- Hours (hours of work should not exceed the limitations of the country’s law)
- Prohibition of Discrimination
- Health and Safety
- Freedom of Association and Collectible Bargaining
- Comply with Environmental rules, regulations, and standards
- Customs Compliance
You can learn more about WRAP here: http://www.wrapcompliance.org/en/about-wrap
3. “Made in the USA” does not go hand-in-hand with “Better for the people and planet”.
It has been over 3 generations since the USA was a majoring textiles manufacture, and because of this, finding a factory that is dedicated to social responsibility as well as environmentally sustainable practices is far and few between; this is where we ran into a major roadblock for keeping our manufacturing at home. Our mission is to create a supply chain that reduces toxins, waste, water, and energy in order to maximize the benefits our 3 P’s of business:
With this vision and framework in mind we have found that using our factory in Guatemala was better for the people and planet than keeping production at home.