In early June, the Hub supported a multi-country social compliance mission with Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) Vice President Strategy & Business Development Clay Hickson. The main objectives of the mission were to promote safe, lawful, humane and ethical manufacturing in eastern African countries and to educate companies on the benefits of adhering to social compliance norms.
Social compliance is not nice to have. It’s a must have. It’s a sourcing imperative, just like price, quality and lead time,” said Mr. Hickson.
The Hub organized half-day educational workshops with selected companies in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius and Madagascar. The Ethiopian workshop was organized in partnership with the Ethiopian Textile and Garment Manufacturers Association (ETGAMA) and the Kenyan Athi River seminar was organized in partnership with the Export Processing Zone Authority.
If East African companies make social compliance part of their everyday business they can have an international competitive advantage,” said Mr. Hickson.
New Wide Garments, a textile and apparel company in Kenya, reinforced Mr. Hickson’s comment. The company acquired its wrap certification in January 2016. Shortly after certifying, they gained four new U.S. buyers.
Most U.S. buyers need to do audits prior to placing orders but when you are wrap certified they place the orders directly. Wrap certification has enabled us increase our exports to the U.S and also provided us with the opportunity to employ more Kenyans,” said Nelson Alulu Compliance Officer New Wide Garments.