A story by impact manager Eva de Bruine
How do you lead a good life in Nepal? What do you need? And how can we at A Beautiful Story ensure that we create stable jobs with a positive impact? Those were the questions we asked ourselves in 2018.
As an impact manager, I wanted a better understanding of the social impact we make: what is our contribution to the lives of others? And we don't just mean the impact in the countries where we create jobs, but also the impact on the buyers and receivers of our lucky tools. To get a clear picture of our impact strategy, we teamed up with the Rainbow Collection.
A living wage in Nepal
First, I traveled to Nepal to get some answers. I started by researching what exactly a living wage means in Nepal. I carried out surveys and interviewed several managers of the workshops and the artisans who make our items. Also, the artisans kept a housekeeping book. It gave us an insight into what a living wage should be, and what people might be short of. We came to the conclusion that a large number of artisans are already paid a living wage, but that there was no room for extraordinary expenses (like medical emergencies).
A bright future for children
It also became clear that the artisans, quite understandably, are keen on a bright future for their children. As we see it, a living wage is a wage that allows you to structurally pay your fixed costs, to make sure that your children receive a good education, and that you can deal with unexpected emergencies. We call this a living wage ‘plus’, and it’s our starting point to discuss necessary improvements and recommendations with our manufacturers. If we’re to expand and include new manufacturers in other countries, we’ll also monitor this structurally, and include our partners in our mission: to create 1,000 structural jobs within 5 years.
Environmentally conscious material choices
Our second goal is to make our supply chain more transparent. Where do our materials come from, and what are the working conditions for each stage of the product life cycle? This is a complicated process that often creates dilemmas. Does an environmentally or socially conscious choice outweigh a slightly higher selling price? How do we ensure that the product reflects this? At A Beautiful Story, we opt for long-term partnerships, environmentally conscious materials, and a chain that’s as transparent as possible, whatever we make. For every glass bead we use, we know exactly where it came from. Along with the paper that we use, and – which is even more complicated - our gemstones. Rainbow Collection supports us throughout the whole process. By determining the steps we need to take to gain more insight. And the steps we can take with our partners. Because, from our point of view, that’s also part of sustainability: maintaining an open and trusting relationship with our manufacturing partners. We keep learning together.
A year full of stories
This year, we’ll continue to stay focused on our goals and our values. And that goes for our partners too. We’ll deepen our knowledge of chain transparency even further. We’re launching an impact report and keep working with Rainbow Collection to develop the Real Simple Living Wage Tool. So, it’ll be a busy year for us. Also, we’ll share more stories with you about the ‘how, what, and where’ of our lucky tools. Of course, we would love to hear your stories too. We’re looking forward to it!