Our Ethical Mission Statement
Our goal is to empower women in India, whilst ensuring that we manufacture our goods responsibly, to have as little impact on the environment as possible. We are proud of the steps we have taken as a business to meet our goal and invite you to read our full Ethical Mission as detailed below.
Our Values and Ambitions
As a business, we are constantly evolving, making improvements and developing new and innovative ways of working. However, our Power Mantra remains the same and is central to everything we do:
Our Makers Groups
Secret Projects fashion and homeware goods are produced in India by groups of marginalised women, spread throughout five Indian states, where there are few or no opportunities for women to earn an income. The women come from many backgrounds. Some are married and raising a family on very little income, some are widowed, finding themselves reliant on support from their already financially overstretched families. Whilst others have been rescued from situations of human trafficking or are living at risk of being trafficked.
Working closely with established Indian NGO’s Secret Projects connects with these women, who may be part of a community group or individuals, training them to develop their sewing skills to begin producing our goods. It is important to note that the women are not Secret Projects employees, rather they are paid at least twice the minimum wage for each product they manufacture. Makers receive 70% of the profits of each product they make.
We ensure that the women are fully informed about where their products are sold throughout the world and Secret Projects passes on customer feedback, positive or negative to our groups in a professional and sensitive way, avoiding singling out individuals.
Our Secret Products
Secret Products are foldable, fashion and homeware goods and are handmade in India.
Our Materials, Sourcing and Waste
- Our materials are sourced as close as possible from each local community.
- We buy our fabric largely from organisations that purchase ‘end of line’ fabrics from large corporates, that otherwise would be sent to landfill.
- The wadding we use in our Secret Pillows is made from 80% recycled polyester fibres, meaning that fewer PET bottles end up in landfill.
- Fabric scraps left over from production aren’t thrown away, but used to make other Secret Products, such as Mini Secret Pillows, Secret Bunting and scrap bundles. Nothing is wasted.
- As we grow, we will continue our quest to use more Fairtrade, organic cottons to make our Secret Products.
The World Fair Trade Organisation
We are provisionally registered with The World Fair Trade Organisation and will become a fully certified member during 2020. With WFTO’s help, we are currently writing a comprehensive Sourcing Policy to ensure that we buy from sustainable sources who adhere to environmental laws and guidelines about the disposal of dye waste.
Our Packaging and Distribution
- The bags we use to package Secret Products for delivery are made from recycled plastic.
- We took the decision to use these bags rather than paper and cardboard as the majority of our products are shipped directly from source in India to our customers, thus removing an additional layer of transportation.
- We are now using recycled paper and card and reducing the amount of marketing materials we send with each product.
- We never buy new plastic packaging for our products.
Being an international organisation, we may need to travel by air but our policy is to keep international travel to a minimum. We use WhatsApp groups to communicate with our Indian colleagues and digital conferencing for both domestic and international meetings.
Where possible we travel by public transport and, should we decide we need to purchase a vehicle in the future, we would consider a hybrid electric car or one that has low emissions.
Our Customer Trips are a growing area for us and our aim is to educate our customers about ethical and conscious shopping. All those who have travelled with us are encouraged to host a talk to their network of contacts to tell the Secret Projects story and highlight the ways that people can make an impact and drive empowerment as individuals.
We are deeply concerned about the effects that Climate Change is having on our Maker Groups in the five Indian states we work in. They are dealing with some extreme weather conditions, including drought, flash floods as well as the consequences of pollution in water systems. We applaud the steps that the Indian Government is taking to address these issues, for example banning the use of plastic bags etc., but are aware that life is now even more challenging for individuals living day to day with these effects.
We will continue to support our Maker Groups and have exciting and firm plans, giving further scope for the womens’ professional development. We are in the process of developing new designs and products that will provide opportunities to learn new manufacturing skills, as well as training in entrepreneurship and business development.
Our Ethical Mission Policy is of paramount importance to us as an organisation. We don’t stand still and constantly seek to find new ways to support our Maker Groups. We ensure that we are up to date with the latest information about Climate Change and Global Warming and continue to develop new working and manufacturing processes to further lessen our impact on the environment.