Is a leader in the sustainability industry the same as any other entrepreneur? Or does the heart and sacrifice required to run a company like CSRwire member INDIGENOUS organic + fair trade fashion make for an entirely different dynamic?
INC. Magazine’s Trep Life series shadowed INDIGENOUS co-founders Matt Reynolds and Scott Leonard for a day, capturing the day-to-day grind at a company that literally helped write the definition of fair trade fashion. Excerpts:
One Happy Family
Beginning in 1993, Scott and Matt, along with their California team and fair trade partners in Peru, have been working to transform the fashion industry for the better. To do this they have populated the company with other people just as committed as they are. With both of their wives, along with Scott’s father and several close friends all playing integral roles at the company, the social dynamic at INDIGENOUS can be, at times, perilous. In the brief clip below, Matt and Scott discuss the ups, downs and ultimate reward of being one big happy, or unhappy, family.
Fair Trade: Carving a New Path
Having begun at a time when the concept of fair trade fashion was brand new, INDIGENOUS necessarily carved its own path. Twenty plus years later, ”sustainability” has become a buzzword, often thrown around to add a gloss of ethics to complicated situations. Third-party verification like the B Corporation logo plays an important factor in judging the claims of a “sustainable” company. But becoming a Benefit Corporation is no easy task, and INDIGENOUS played a key role in helping to create the requirements for certification. In the video below, Scott Leonard explains why Benefit Corporations are the real deal.
Having seen INDIGENOUS' journey, what are your thoughts on sustainability? Which certifications do you look for when judging a company’s ethics? And, what do you think it takes to maintain the integrity of a sustainable company?
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