ecostore has become one of the first businesses in New Zealand to work towards being certified as child labour free. The company has begun the accreditation journey with social enterprise Child Labor Free, which audits companies’ supply chains to check there is no child labour occurring.
Health and sustainability has always been one of ecostore’s key values, so it makes sense that the company would want to get on board with Child Labor Free (CLF).
The company makes plant and mineral based cleaning supplies and skincare products.
Co-founder Malcom Rands says ecostore is dedicated to tackling social issues along with environmental ones.
“Child labour deprives children of their childhood,” Rands says.
“New Zealanders might think this is not an issue for us, but it deserves to demand attention globally. We’re proud to be taking the first steps on the journey to becoming accredited in an effort to positively impact the issue directly.”
ecostore was founded by Rands and his wife Melanie Rands in 1993 in their basement.
The company has grown as consumer demand for sustainable products has grown and it now has 73 employees.
Rands says the CLF accreditation will add another assurance for consumers about their manfacturing practices.
L-R: Child Labor Free co-founder Michelle Platt, ecostore co-founder Malcolm Rands and Child Labor Free co-founder Nikki Prendergast
ecostore already produces its products at its ISO 14001, Enviro-Mark, NZ–Diamond, CarboNZero certified facility in Auckland.
It has also been voted by Kiwis as a leader in sustainability in Colmar Brunton’s Better Business, Better World survey for three years running.
“We hold several other accreditations that let people know our products are made with care and respect for the environment, and we don’t test on animals or use GE stock,” Rands says.
Research shows that consumers’ values are aligned with companies like ecostore, as more people than ever care about whether a company is ethical or not.
A 2014 Colmar Brunton survey found 70 percent of New Zealanders want to work for a sustainable company and 90 percent of them want to buy ethically and socially responsible products.
As well as this, fair trade retail grew 28 percent in 2014.
Some may think that child labour isn’t an issue for businesses operating out of a small country with four million people at the bottom of the world.
However, Rands points out that Kiwi businesses now operate in a global marketplace, so a worldwide issue like child labour still affects New Zealand companies.
This was found to be the case when several companies, including Kiwi clothing company Glassons, were slammed in a Baptist World Aid ethical retailing report.
UNICEF estimates that child labour affects 150 million children around the world, with about half of those children working in hazardous or harmful circumstances.
Co-founder of CLF, Michelle Pratt, says as consumer behaviour changes, the CLF certification needs to become a globally recognised standard for businesses.
“At a time when consumers are asking for greater transparency from brands and supply chain management is becoming ever more complex, this system will support brands as they work back through their supply chains,” Pratt says.