- Simone Preuss |
In times when international buyers cancel or postpone their orders, things are looking bleak for garment factories and their workers - the factories have to reduce their output or shut down temporarily with workers earning correspondingly less or being laid off, quickly reaching their financial limits without a social safety net.
German sneaker brand Ethletic, loved by many for their Fairtrade-certified sneakers, contributes its own unique solution to this problem through its ongoing sustainability efforts: Customers can now use the digital solution Tip Me to tip the workers in Pakistan and thus improve their circumstances. According to the company, one in three customers is already taking advantage of this new opportunity, and not just when buying a product.
Ethletic involves customers
“We especially recommend Tip Me to our customers right now. In countries like Pakistan, there is no social safety net and no false bottom for protection. Job losses mean a fall into the abyss. Our community is very much aware of this and is currently donating more via Tip Me, even without placing an order. That is impressive,” comments Ethletic CEO Marc Solterbeck in a press release on Wednesday.
The initiative is historically a first in a global textile supply chain and was developed in cooperation with Berlin social start-up Tip Me. After three years of preparation and the end of the beta phase in September 2019, the international launch has now taken place. With just one click in Ethletic’s webshop, customers can now automatically add a tip to their shopping cart for a desired amount.
How does Tip Me work?
Tip Me then transfers the tips that were added by customers to their shopping carts via SMS transfer directly to Pakistan, where the money is distributed equally among the employees' SIM cards according to a distribution key. The employees previously registered individually with their ID cards and mobile phone numbers for the Tip Me programme in Pakistan and can have the money paid out in cash at any time at a kiosk or local bank.
“With the tips that were sent around the globe, customers can express their personal appreciation for the work that the people did”, says Ethletic. Together with Tip Me, the company ensures that the money not only goes transparently but also in total to the workforce in Pakistan as Ethletic bears any additional costs of the project.
Does Tip Me make a difference to the workers?
Apart from being happy about having earned not only their usual wages but also a tip for work well done, even a small contribution is appreciated: “With an average daily wage of five euros [4.40 pounds], this is quickly doubled by a corresponding tip. This not only helps the people there to have a better standard of living, but also allows them to look more positively at the future and education of their children,” explains Ethletic.
“A global tip is an absolute novelty in the garment industry and further proof of the attitude that has characterised Ethletic from the very beginning. Ethletic not only pays salaries that are 20 percent above the local minimum wage but also a voluntary bonus to the workers’ welfare society at the factory in Pakistan, which finances social projects in accordance with the employee council,” adds the sneaker brand.
Ethletic ships its sneakers worldwide and currently operates online shops in seven countries: Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Great Britain and the USA.
Photos: Ethletic website, Tip Me website