A happy team of workers – better for everyone
From the day KuSan started, we set out to work with integrity across every aspect of the company’s operation. That ethos is as true today.
With the bulk of our manufacturing work in Nepal, it’s vitally important that we are on hand to look after the welfare of every person involved with the production of our accessories. Protecting workers rights and ensuring satisfactory conditions in the factory and across our many homeworkers’ homes are key factors in making sure the welfare of our teams is front of mind.
Our passion for the people of Nepal is unwavering. With the right attention, we know that behind every KuSan hat or accessory are people receiving fair wages for the hours worked within safe and decent environments – sufficient breaks, free staff food and the encouragement of collective bargaining and freedom of association which all instil a sense of self worth and pride.
We believe our hand knitters are the best in the world – many have been with us since KuSan started. You can be assured that there is absolutely NO child labour.
Nepal is often in the news – but sadly for the wrong reasons. As you read on, we are trying to do our best to make the smallest of impacts on the lives of everyone connected with KuSan.
The earthquake of 2015
One of the largest earthquakes struck Nepal in April 2015 with devastating effects. Killing approx 8,900 people and leaving millions homeless, our factory escaped relatively unscathed considering the destruction caused. However three members of staff died and one member lost all his family. 122 members of our staff lost their houses so home and factory life were severely affected – both physically and emotionally. As soon as the disaster happened, a small team from KuSan were on their way to the zone. Accompanied by family members of founders Kurt and Sandra – one of whom is an ex-Naval logistics operator and the other London Ambulance Paramedic – the team spent a week on the ground in the earliest phases.
From then onwards, the KuSan team have been involved in a number of strategic charities, including co-founding ‘Brand Aid’ – an initiative backed by leading British fashion brands who have close links to the Nepalese people. Collectively £275,000 has been raised and distributed to relief projects.
Post-traumatic stress is still a big concern and not at all surprising given the circumstances our staff have endured. We have helped to organise regular staff health checks for all affected.
Long after the journalists have left Nepal, KuSan continues to work with partners to financially support members of staff rebuild their homes. Work is ongoing as it will be a long road to recovery.
We want all our lovely supporters to know that their contributions are much appreciated.
KuSan actively supports The Joy Foundation and Clean up Nepal. To learn more about their work, click on the images below.
Supporting local UK-based charities
Closer to home, we are supporting the work of Brain Tumour Research. Hats need heads and Brain Tumour Research Trust is a charity we’re keen to support, especially as we recently lost a dear family member to this devastating disease. We’ve created a hat for the charity and a percentage of each sale will go to vital research. We hope you’ll be able to support our efforts as we raise funds during the year.
Brain tumour research is woefully underfunded: just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease, despite it killing more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer. Did you know that in the UK 16,000 people a year are diagnosed with brain tumours?
Brain Tumour Research’s mission is to raise £7 million each year to fund vital research into brain tumours. Further to our success last year, we are going to support their rather apt campaign ‘Wear a Hat Day’ again, which takes place annually during March – Brain Tumour Awareness Month. This year it’s on Thursday 29th March, keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates or you can learn more here.
KuSan is accredited and audited by Sedex. Sedex offers a simple and effective way of managing ethical and responsible practices in organisations’ supply chains. Information is centrally stored and reports on key areas including Labour Standards, Health & Safety, The Environment and Business Ethics. KuSan’s customers can review our operational practices to ensure that we are maintaining to our own code of practice. To learn more about Sedex, click here.
Der Grüne Punkt – Duales System
For our German market, KuSan works with Der Grüne Punkt – Duales System Deutschland GmbH (DSD). Founded in 1990 as the first dual system, Der Grüne Punkt – Duales System is a leading provider of take-back systems. These include close-to-home collection, recovery of sales packages, and also eco-friendly, cost-efficient recycling of transport packages.
The Green Dot (“Der Grüne Punkt”) is worldwide protected and one of the most widely used trademarks.
To learn more, click here.
At KuSan, we are committed to making our range of accessories with care and consideration to the environment – sustainable throughout every step of the way. We use New Zealand wool which is farmed with voluntary agreements to avoid ‘Mulesing’. Mulesing is a controversial practice that is commonly carried out in Australia to prevent flystrike.
Keeping our carbon footprint low
We ship our products by sea and use air freight as a last resort when seasonal deliveries are needed in time to meet our customers’ deadlines. The fact that our accessories are hand crafted goes a long way, but we cannot combat the emissions we create transporting our products on our own, so we make an annual contribution to Carbon Footprint. Pledges to Carbon Footprint Offsets are used to support projects that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions and alleviate global warming. These funds support projects for energy efficiency and sustainable energy technology development.
Carbon Footprint supports a range of sustainable energy projects around the world, including wind power, solar generation, and biomass. These projects also provide jobs in disadvantaged regions of the World. If you want to find out more and do your bit to help save the planet, please click here.
MADE-BY – Working to make Sustainable Fashion common practice
At Kusan, we are committed to giving our customers a collection that’s made with respect for people and planet.
For six years we worked with MADE-BY, the independent European consumer label for fashion companies who are transparent about the social, economic and ecological conditions throughout the whole supply chain of their collections. Its mission is to make sustainable fashion common practice. The MADE-BY label gives consumers the assurance that a brand produces with respect for people and planet to its best efforts.
With MADE-BY’s support, we have improved every element in the KuSan supply chain. We’ve worked on our home worker cooperative project and with our factory in Nepal with the aim to achieve international social and environmental accreditation, helping KuSan towards even more sustainable and responsible production. We are delighted with the results.