Ethical promise from Kiwi shoe firm with programme





Kiwi eco footwear start-up Orba — maker of the “Ghost” sneaker, designed to biodegrade — is funding a globally-recognised programme to support the sustainability and positive workplace practices of small suppliers that craft materials for its shoes in Indonesia. Orba has engaged with Sustainable Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) through an Indonesian provider. The scheme is an International Labour Organisation global programme to improve productivity and working conditions in small and medium enterprises in emerging economies. Orba sustainability manager Gillian Boucher, from Waikanae, said though many of their material and product suppliers were already practicing high standards and were accredited, two smaller suppliers, traditional handloom weavers and natural dyers based in Bali, lacked the finances for eco-certification. “These are small, family-run businesses making beautiful garments using traditional Balinese methods. “Rather than replace them with alternative suppliers, we’re instead investing in their growth, by funding the SCORE programme for them.” “Our main manufacturer is already Business Social Compliance Initiative compliant. That means they meet very high criteria in working conditions. “Many of our material and product suppliers are also third-party eco-certified, such as meeting the Global Organic Textile Standard. “We’re confident knowing that all practices from farming and cultivation to manufacturing are ethical and sustainable. “By adding in our small, traditional suppliers in Bali, we are ensuring we apply these important ethics right across our business and supply chain, as well as help those small traditional businesses to grow sustainably.” Gillian said the SCORE programme’s focus on transparency, good working environments, as well as fair wages and working hours aligned with Orba’s philosophies. “We believe in local economic development and supporting sustainable growth in the communities that we work in. Apparel and footwear brands are too often associated with exploitation and inequality of their workforce and we want our workers to feel proud to be a part of Orba and this journey.” The business, which recently won international and national sustainability and design awards just a few months after launching, sees the initiative as so important it hadn’t even sold a single pair of shoes when it committed to funding the programme. Orba sneakers are made using almost entirely plantbased materials and are designed to biodegrade at the end of their natural lifespan, meaning they don’t contribute to the proportion of the 20 billion shoes produced around the world every year that eventually end up in landfill. Visit