We have been radically sustainable from the beginning, striving for sustainability in everything we do. We approach this from a wide perspective, which we believe is fundamentally necessary to address the health of society globally, and for planet earth. We have become increasingly ambitious in the promotion of sustainable development. Our goal is to reduce and offset our carbon footprint and to be carbon neutral in 2023. To measure our impact more accurately, we have introduced a GHG protocol in our reporting.
Read more about our sustainability principles and how we implement them in our operations in our latest Sustainability report:
All our products are made by hand and carefully designed. We promote the appreciation of traditional craftsmanship and its transmission to future generations.
The heart of what we do is with the self-help groups. The artisans in these groups are the most important part of our story. We support and develop the groups’ activities together with the group leaders, the chairladies. The chairladies founded the Mifuko women development CBO, which acts as an umbrella for all 40 self-help groups with whom we collaborate.
We make it as easy as possible for artisans to collaborate with us. Artisans belong to self-help groups, which provides an economic and social safety net for the members. We deliver the necessary materials and tools to the groups, and baskets can be woven at home, at times that best suit each artisan. When finished, the orders are brought to a nearby warehouse. We also offer training in basket weaving and quality. Basket orders are ongoing, allowing for future planning.
As a WFTO member, Mifuko provides a verifiable fair trade income for artisans. The social, economic and environmental needs of the artisans are factored into our business model. A decent standard of living must cover food, water, housing, education, health care, transport, clothing and the ability to save for unexpected events. We determine the living wage by using the Living Wage Ladder tool provided by WFTO. In practice, payments for Mifuko orders are agreed upon together with the local community.
We have developed a three-step training programme for self-help groups to develop economic and social group activities. The training covers the concept of a self-help group, best practices for regular saving and basket weaving. We also provide ongoing quality training and support the capacity building of the groups. When a self-help group works well, it empowers all its members.
Inclusive business model
We provide livelihood opportunities for disadvantaged women living in remote rural areas that are hard to reach, where there are few other sources of income. We work directly with the women’s groups, supporting them to become key actors in their communities. We encourage women’s groups to act as a savings group and to invest collective funds in areas that suit them.
We work directly with the small-scale suppliers and customers. It’s important to us that the supply chain is transparent. We are in touch with each link of the chain, from the maker to the buyer, and communicate stories across the links.
We maintain long-term partnerships and we meet all partners regularly. We have been working with the same partners since the beginning and bring new partners on board through training.
We ensure that our suppliers follow environmental best practices. Waste from basketry is very low and we make sure that no litter is left in nature.
Most members of self-help groups are also small-scale farmers. Their traditional farming methods protect the local ecosystem. The income generated from cultivation and harvesting remains in the local economy, which benefits the wider community.
We sign a contract with every non-fair trade partner that emphasises that environmental issues are taken into account in the best possible way.
Contribute to climate action
We are committed to actively fighting climate change. We achieve this through two strategies: strengthening people’s resilience to climate change and limiting our own environmental impact. Resilience comes in part through employment that is both fair and reliable and supplements challenged farming. Education also plays a crucial role.
Through self-help groups, we teach artisans and their communities how to deal with the impact of the climate change and create sustainable forms of living. All Mifuko products are handmade from materials selected based on their sustainability credentials. The entire supply chain is transparent and prioritizes sustainability over convenience. Mifuko offsets carbon emissions from the shipping between Kenya and Finland.
We maintain a permanent collection to ensure that artisans always work with designs and materials they are familiar with. This allows the artisans to better plan for future orders and maintain good quality.
Our products are designed to last. They are carefully crafted and produced with great attention to quality. Each product is unique and the baskets are also versatile in the way they can be used. The same basket can be used for storage, as a market or shopping bag.
Good product quality is important to us. We work together with the artisans, provide training and meet them regularly to ensure the quality of our products. This also reduces waste and increases the durability of the products. We are also committed to continuous improvement of our quality processes.
We source materials locally. The materials used in Mifuko products are locally sourced from Kenya, both to promote sustainable Kenyan industries and to minimize transportation emissions.
We can only succeed by working in partnership with our local partners. We are continuously training our local partners on process knowhow, enabling us to increase production and improve product quality.
We work closely together with our material suppliers and artisans who make the products. It allows us to track and trace every step of the production process, from raw material suppliers to sales.
We will continue to work on improving the sustainability of our operations and our products. Our primary goal is to reduce and offset our carbon footprint and to be carbon neutral by 2023. You can read our full sustainability report for year 2020 here:
Read more about our Fair Trade practices and Mifuko
Learn more about what it means to be radically sustainable and have a
Learn more about the ten Fair Trade principles that each WFTO member organisation must follow.