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Nest at the Ashoka Fabric of Change Globalizer in Bangalore!

Over the past several months, Nest has had the distinct honor of participating in the Ashoka Fabric of Change Globalizer, a 12-week process aimed at accelerating our social impact. We were matched with global business leaders and consultants to work together to develop strategies to take our idea to scale. As the culmination of our process, Nest’s Sara Otto, is currently in Bangalore for the Globalizer Summit, an initiative taking place all weekend long so that together with other fellows, we can reflect our collaborative work, convene, and connect in person.

The eleven teams of Ashoka Fellows and advisors have been working hard to build lasting impact to the following areas:

  • Bringing transparency and empowerment to the millions working in the informal economy within the fashion industry
  • Transforming sourcing and supply chain through upcycling and adopting natural fibers, bringing together cross-sector collaboration
  • Institutionalizing circular economic and fair trade practices along the value chain
  • Establishing retail partnerships for sustainable apparel given the global trend towards socially responsible consumption
  • Building a civil society-led platform for digital transparency, capacity building and advocacy

This program is part of a partnership between the C&A Foundation and Ashoka, who have partnered to launch Fabric of Change: a global initiative to support innovators for a fair and sustainable apparel industry. This three-year initiative is cultivating social entrepreneurs and their solutions to advance a shared vision of fashion as a force for good. The Fabric of Change Globalizer aims to accelerate the impact of these selected social entrepreneurs by providing the tools and support to strategically and rapidly scale their impact in order to achieve systemic change.

You can follow the Fabric of Change Live coverage via Ashoka’s Facebook page or on twitter by searching the hashtag #FabricofChange!

A NEW SCENT CREATES OPPORTUNITY FOR WOMEN IN MOROCCO

Photo Credits: Peter Schiazza

In the historic flower district of Morocco, just southeast of the capital city of Rabat, a group of 125 women have finished harvesting heady blossoms of orange, jasmine and rose. They are chanting as they collect the flowers that will be distilled into essential oils and a new luxury scent…

Enter Sana Jardin Paris, the world’s first socially conscious fragrance blending seven mystical Eaux de Parfums. Sana Jardin is founded by Nest Advisory Board member, Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed, for whom smelling good and doing good go hand in hand. This is where Nest’s work comes in.

While orange blossom, jasmine, and rose harvest provides full time employment to more than 1,500 women in the northwest area of Morocco, the work is short-lived and takes place only three times each year. What’s more, the harvest yields an enormous amount of biproduct: about 900 tons of orange blossom waste and effluent each year.

Nest joined with Sana Jardin and leading international raw floral supplier, Les Aromes du Maroc, to address inconsistent employment and production waste by piloting three micro-enterprises with indigenous Amazigh farmers in the villages of Tiddas and Maaziz. Collaborating closely with the agrarian community, Nest’s Annie Millican spent months in Morocco and New York creating closed loop systems for repurposing floral waste and effluent into orange blossom, jasmine and rose candlesscented water, and compost fertilizer. The project is enabling local women to gain access to new markets while supplementing their current income and empowering them to develop their own distinct brand identity.

We need only open the May issue of Vogue Japan to see that what is helping artisan women also has a market. “Charity and Philanthropy in Beauty” tells the story of Sana Jardin Paris, Nest, and Les Aromes du Maroc, inviting us with each unbottled of scent, to realize our vast potential to transform lives. Sana Jardin launches at Liberty in London and www.sanajardin.com in August.

Exploring the Philippines with Chris van Bergen, Nest COO

This guest post from the field is shared by Nest COO, Chris van Bergen 

It was wonderful to be back in the Philippines, where I worked to train a new partner business on ways to adopt ethical compliance policies and processes within its artisan supply chain. This business has been providing economic opportunity to the basket weaving community for more than 20 years, giving work to more than 800 weavers spread out across a roughly 3-hour radius of their central finishing facility.

Connecting with the artisans themselves is always the most rewarding part of my travels with Nest, as it emphasizes both the importance of Nest‘s work as well as the power craft has to generate livelihoods for rural populations. At the end of the day, all of Nest’s programming – whether it is ethical compliance work, business capacity development, or a professional fellowship mentorship – is about increasing market access for artisan businesses while ensuring the well-being of the artisan producers themselves.

While in the Philippines during my latest trip, I was welcomed into the homes of some amazing women whose quick hands never stopped moving as we talked. I met Perlita, who came to Pampanga from a remote province almost 20 years ago. Now, through her basket weaving, she has been able to send her three children to college and to purchase a workshop of her own that provides employment to 15 other people. I also met with Luisa, who opted to leave her jobs as domestic help in Singapore and Dubai so that she could be at home to raise her family. Luisa now provides not only for her own child but also for her nieces and nephews.

It is quite an experience meeting the makers of artisan products – I hope that Nest can continue playing in role in connecting consumers with the amazing journey that products make and the ripple effect of impact that is felt each time an artisan product is purchased half a world away.