GoodWell is a consumer driven initiative with a mission to create a world in which all businesses operate at a basic level of humanity. In our definition this would mean the complete eradication of:
- Child and Forced Labor
- Unsafe working conditions
- Pay which is below a living wage
- Discriminatory pay practices based on Gender, Race, Religion and Sexual Orientation
- Excessive executive pay
- Lack of corporate charitable giving
- Unsustainable environmental practices
These are massive issues to be tackled, however, we have developed a framework which makes this possible over the course of the next 30 years if we as consumers demand this behavior from the companies we support with our purchases.
While the GoodWell framework is applicable to any size company in any industry in any geography, the fashion industry is a perfect use case for our model. The fashion industry has been front and center for many years when it comes to operating without basic humanity. Starting with Nike being called out in 2001 and most recently with H&M and Next using Syrian refugee children in Turkish factories, the fashion industry seems to be consistently plagued by scandal. The never-ending search for the lowest cost, highest profit margin sourcing has disconnected manufacturers and retailers from their own supply chain. While this has led to incredible bargains and massive profits, the consequences of this maniacal pursuit are simply too dire to ignore. Global income inequality has grown rapidly as corporations thrive, posting record profits and paying their executives multi-million dollar salaries. Meanwhile environmental destruction continues at an unprecedented pace, the appalling treatment of millions of workers continues unabated, and the death toll rises from incidents like Rana Plaza.
Corporations are all too happy to reap the benefits of our global economy while at the same time claiming it is simply too hard to maintain full control over their supply chain. At GoodWell we find this behavior completely unacceptable and are empowering a new class of consumer to create change by purchasing in alignment with their values. We are creating the GoodWell consumer. The GoodWell consumer refuses to spend their hard earned dollars with companies who will not commit to operating at a basic level of humanity and take responsibility for their entire supply chain.
While there is no doubt supply chains are complex beasts which can be unruly to manage, there is also no doubt that a conscious company can prioritise the health, safety, humanity and sustainability of their supply chain if they believe it to be important. At GoodWell we have created a simple but powerful approach to ensuring companies are acting with a basic level of humanity. We are not asking companies to be perfect, we want to set a simple, universal floor for corporate behavior.
The essence of the system is simple. On an annual basis companies measure and report on 13 simple metrics. Each of these metrics has a pass/fail threshold associated with it which is set by GoodWell. These metrics are then audited by an independent third party accounting firm. If a company passes all 13 metrics (which is not a very difficult task) then it is considered GoodWell Certified and can display the GoodWell logo. These metrics are easy to understand and should be simple to attain for any business operating with a base level of humanity. They are things like:
- Total CEO (or highest paid executive) Compensation/ Average Compensation < 100 – This is the ratio of total CEO compensation relative to the average worker’s pay. GoodWell companies are required to keep this ratio under 100. This means if the average worker makes $35,000 the CEO cannot make more than $3.5 million. All forms of compensation are included in the calculation with the exception of Founders Stock, which is determined to be risk capital related to business creation and can only be issued once during company formation.
- Total Recordable Injuries Frequency < 10 per 200,000 hours – This is a common metric used by safety auditors to determine if the entity is providing a safe working environment. In order for an entity to be GoodWell Certified this number must remain below 10. This means there will be less than 10 incidents per 200,000 hours worked that result in injury to a worker that keeps them from work all or part of the day following the incident.
- % of Underage Workers = 0 – % of workers under the age of 14 who work more than 15 hours per week. In order to become GoodWell Certified this number must be 0.
Any company who cannot pass all 13 metrics cannot be GoodWell certified; it is binary, which makes it easy to understand for consumers and companies alike. Companies cannot be great in one area and lacking in another and still be GoodWell certified. A full list of the metrics can be found here.
Unfortunately, too many certifications in existence today simply certify the behavior of a company without dealing with the company’s supply chain. Yet the supply chain is where most of the harm is done. Therefore the most critical metric of the GoodWell framework is the requirement that a company’s supply chain be GoodWell Certified. You see in order for a company to be certified they must also purchase their goods and services from GoodWell Certified companies. This creates a cascading effect all the way through the supply chain which will ultimately ensure an end use consumer product is completely free from the atrocities which are all too common today. And because each firm must be independently third party audited, we as consumers can trust the certification. This metric phases in over a ten year period to ensure compliance can be reasonably achieved.
Our choices as consumers have consequences which occur so far away from us we can sometimes forget the impact we are having. Even an actively conscious consumer can find the process of making good ethical decisions daunting on a daily basis. However, we have immense power as consumers, and with immense power comes immense responsibility. Our dollars (knowingly or unknowingly) endorse the behavior we all find so disturbing. It is no longer acceptable for businesses or consumers to simply claim it is too hard to understand the consequences of our actions. It is time for us all to become more conscious and in doing so make the world safer, more humane and more sustainable. That is our mission at GoodWell. We are in the process of recruiting one million Founding Members to create a voice loud enough to be heard by the global corporations and to have the funds to create change. A Founding Membership is a one time $35 contribution and 100% of the funds are used to fight for the change we all want to see. We hope you will consider joining us.
I am currently on holiday so thank you to Kallen from Goodwell for this fab, informative guest post