Fair Trade and Transparency
The BOC Commitment
At BOC we must measure part of our success against how much we have improved over local wages. To us this is about respect and proper representation of those who work for us. Without metrics, there is less incentive to improve and more incentive to capitalize on low wages. This is our way of giving those workers an actual measureable voice. Over the years BOC has consistently exceeded the norm for wages and benefits in the areas where we employ our artisans. This also includes innovations such as company sponsored vacations, safety net coverage for those needing emergency healthcare due to accident or illness, and no-interest loans also to those with emergency needs. Our goal is for our workers to feel valued and in exchange help us create higher and higher quality products. The growth we see as a result will reflect directly in the wages they take home. Please click through to see our transparency page currently in development.
Welcome to the Baskets of Cambodia fair trade transparency page.
Here are the tenets that BOC has been focused on in Cambodia since 1996:
- Upward Bias - We believe applying an upward bias to wages in all areas in which we operate in Cambodia. We also believe that these wages should be tracked and published
Worker's Voice- We make all our locations accessible so anyone can visit and hear from our workers directly.
Quality - BOC 's focus on quality helps keep wages moving in the right direction
Originality - BOC develops all its own styles without copying others. This also helps provide new opportunities for workers to propose their own ideas. Indiscriminate copying no matter by whom, avoids legitimate production costs and contributes to a downward spiral in wages as copied products compete for price instead of quality and originality.
- Transparency - BOC believes that only when there is full transparency can anyone make claims based on workers' welfare. Providing actual metrics about wages, benefits, working conditions, etc. is the best way to do this. This gives the workers a real voice in the discourse about fair trade.
BOC WAGES -
Below are the wage averages for BOC workers in 3 areas of production. These averages vary based on skill level, speed, and number of hours worked, however BOC sets expected minimum wage goals for every stage of production. Verification links to be provided.
UPDATE JANUARY 2015
Mat Weavers Weavers- UPDATE2014 -$3.75 per day is the current minimum for BOC weavers in the countryside. BOC lobbied for an increase above the local rate once we arranged for our own weaving operations in 2010.Our rates are scheduled to continue to rise with a goal of $5/day.
Wage History: The local rate in 2000 was $.75/day with production controlled by brokers. In 2010 an international NGO proposed a 'socially responsible' wage of $1.50/day. Baskets of Cambodia at that time lobbied for a minimum of $2.50/day which helped convince the NGO's that $1.50 was too low even at that time. Our current rates have risen to adjust for inflation and are approx. $3.75-$5.00/day and our goal is for an average daily rate of $5.00 per day by June of 2015. The key to look for in all areas is quality. Quality cannot be produced at the lower rates. As the local rate rises, BOC adjusts as well. Because of this, BOC is the prefered company for weavers in the main weaving areas of Kandal Province.
Weavers also qualify for healthcare and occasional bonuses.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 2015
We have reached our goal of $7-$9 per day for our purse makers and made our orders easier for our makers to produce.
During our busy season the wages can range from $170-$300/month for full time makers depending on the skill of each maker.
LOCAL WAGE HISTORY- The garment industry was started in the mid-1990's and paid at that time about $25 per month for 12 hours a day - 6-7 day a week. Between 2000 and 2010 the wage hovered around $50-$60/month for about a 48 hour work week. The rates began to rise in earnest after that time and are currently about $120/month considering good attendance bonuses.
These are the rates your major retailers pay.
BOC WAGE HISTORY - PURSE MAKERS
In the beginning we averaged about $60 per month- $20-$30 above the local garmment factories. We have stayed ahead from 20-40% above until lately as the local factories began to increase wages to avoid social protest. At that time BOC took measures to make sure we stayed ahead of even the increasing rate and currently pay about 20-25% above the average for our makers.
We achieved our upward bias goal and expect to remain well ahead of the local market.
UPDATE AUGUST 2014
Current Wage Standard: $3.00-$4.00 plus meals if working on site plus healthcare vs the $1-$1.50/day estimated international average.
Reason: This is one of the lowest paid professions in the world today. BOC competes with countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan where the wage is currently $.75- $1 a day. Several companies from major retail outlets have approached BOC to make the next $1 a day basket. BOC has refused and hopes instead to establish an upward bias at this floor level which provides only for the barest level of subsistence. Buying a quality basket helps maintain a higher standard of living for the lowest paying profession.
Conclusion: BOC pays makers as well as it can given the realities of the marketplace. We hope and fully expect wages to go up as more people continue to appreciate the level of quality that goes into all of our unique products. This page will be continually updated with more and more accurate information, as it is important for all of us to know and share where our product is made and how much our workers are paid. Overall transparency protects workers' interests, and those of us who claim 'fair trade' should be at the forefront of this effort.