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Social Responsibility

ABC Carpet Announces Partnership with Label STEP

The new partnership with the NYC iconic retailer is the first major retail partnership with Label STEP, an organization committed to supporting carpet weavers and workers.

1/6/2021
female weavers weaving carpet
ABC Carpet & Home becomes the the first major retail partnership with Label STEP, a non-profit committed to ending child labor and supporting carpet weavers. 

NEW YORK -- ABC Carpet & Home announces partnership with Label STEP, a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating child labor, supporting eco-friendly practices, elevating working conditions, and establishing fair wages across the carpet industry.
ABC Carpet & Home is Label STEP's first major retail partner in North America.

As a brand working with makers in Morocco, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal, ABC thoughtfully selects vendors that respect the company's values in upholding sustainable practices and supporting their weavers and communities worldwide.

"I'm delighted to partner with Label STEP to implement the highest industry standards in collaboration with our vendor community," said Haynes Robinson, SVP of product design and development at ABC. "Together, we will build on these practices over time in support of a more sustainable future."


Label STEP will visit vendors and vet all aspects of their work environments and employees' quality of life, from air-ow and lighting, to ensuring access to necessary resources. ABC's SVP and general manager of carpet, Eileen Applebaum, explains "This isn't a one-time solution, but rather a sustained commitment to put our resources towards a dynamic, step-by-step auditing and support process." ABC will support Label STEP through a model in which the brand and its suppliers commit to a percentage of purchase costs to ensure these purpose-driven practices are implemented.


Hand-woven Label STEP Maymana kilims drying in the sun after being washed in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan.

ABC'S HISTORY WITH SUSTAINABILITY

In 2003, ABC created a system of icons to guide sourcing choices, initiating a set of standards for social and environmental transformation in core categories, in a landscape where it wasn't common practice. As part of this process, abc partnered with the Rainforest Alliance to create a goodwood vetting program. The goodwood icon requires in-depth supplier reports and documentation ensuring wood used to design products carried at abc is from responsibly- managed forests or reclaimed sources that protect old growth and endangered forest species. One of abc's current vendors, Viento, uses solely fallen wood from storms, sustainably harvested in Mexico.

Label STEP's Managing Director Reto Aschwanden states "ABC Carpet & Home is one of the most renowned companies in the world of handmade rugs, and I've admired their environmental and social commitment for decades. It's a great honor to welcome this iconic brand as a Certified STEP Fair Trade Partner."
 
As leaders in direct global sourcing, ABC's marketplace is built upon the principles of craftsmanship, quality, integrity, and the practices of sustainability and fair labor. Label STEP will be instrumental in continuing to drive this purpose forward. abc is proud to support their endeavors, shifting the way the industry operates, supporting makers and artisans in local communities globally, and ultimately inspiring consumers to demand these standards.

Paulette Cole, cofounder and creative director of ABC Carpet & Home, says "abc has a legacy of using beauty and commerce to inspire positive change and impact toward the evolution of social and environmental justice. We are grateful to partner with Label STEP in accomplishing our shared goals to serve in creating a better world."

About ABC Carpet & Home

ABC is a lifestyle brand with a rich legacy in home, hospitality, and wellness known for instilling a sense of wonder and action in our guests. Food, comfort, rest, and ritual are transformed through the lens of personal and planetary well-being into choices that are good for people and even better for the world. What started in the late nineteenth century as a pushcart business selling carpets became one of the largest and most diverse rug and home collections in the world. Since 2003, our demand for consciously made artisanal goods has helped transform the retail landscape.

About Label STEP

Label STEP is committed to the well-being of weavers and workers in the handmade carpet industry. The non-profit organization's comprehensive fair trade standards encompass universal human rights, including the prohibition of child labor, working conditions, fair wages, and eco-friendly production. Certified STEP Fair Trade Partners commit to independent audits throughout their supply chain. STEP actively supports producer improvements while empowering weavers and workers through educational programs that cover topics such as health, safety and financial literacy. Through these combined efforts, STEP reinforces industry sustainability and helps preserve centuries-old artisanal skills. STEP is the only non-governmental organization of its kind working in all major handmade rug and carpet producing countries.
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