2016 has been a very exciting year for Oliberté. From the growth of what was planted to the blossoming of new projects, we’re excited to say this year has been one of our best, and we can’t wait for what’s to come. Take a look at some of our highlights.
A New McNairy Collection
To build on the success of our first McNairy release in 2015, we were eager to create another collection that would continue to push our design boundaries and create a truly unique product. We added two new models this year, The Koboo maned chukka boot and the Hoboo ring boot, both of which break new ground for Oliberte through Mcnairy’s creative twists on classic designs.
We’re immensely proud of our McNairy collection as it exposes a new audience to what we are hoping to achieve through Oliberté while concurrently inspiring us to push our creative boundaries.
Earlier this year, we embarked on a project to combat the debilitating disease Podoconiosis, a condition that causes swelling and extreme discomfort to the lower extremities due to constant exposure to irritating dirt. This condition is very widespread in areas with volcanic soil such as Northern Ethiopia. Treatment is as simple as covering your feet to limit exposure to these soils, so we took our successful factory model to a small town 300 km north of Addis Ababa in the hopes of strengthening a local economy, and providing a steady supply of reliable shoes to limit the spread of this terrible condition. We are still very early in our project, but we are proud to say it currently employs 10 workers from the area and creates 900 shoes a month for local distribution.
Four Years of Fair Trade
This year marked our 4th year as the World’s only Fair Trade Certified factory, so our team in Ethiopia mobilized to celebrate how far we’ve come and all the hard work that brought us here. Our guiding principle as a brand has always been to support worker’s rights and create sustainable employment, which made Fair Trade certification an obvious goal. Meeting the ambitious requirements for Fair Trade status was our goal from the outset, and it has been an invaluable tool for setting a high standard and sticking to it.
Our B-corp Achievement for 2016
Another pillar of our ethical manufacturing is our participation in the B-corporation initiative, which scores companies based on their contribution to their workers, the community and the environment. We have participated in this audit for the past 4 years, and this year we were rewarded with a score of 113, which is over the double the median score for businesses that have participated. We pride ourselves on the strength of our certifications as it brings a talented and unbiased oversight to our operations, allowing us to reach our highest potential.
Fair Trade Premium Fund
A large part of our Fair Trade certification includes a program known as the Fair Trade Premium fund. This fund takes a percentage of all profits and redistributes it amongst our workers, who are then able to vote on how to best use it. This can be used a handful of progressive ways, such as community investment, or a nice cash bonus on top of their pay. To date we are proud to announce that we have transferred just shy of $100,000 USD to our workers, with strong yearly growth.
2016 has shaped up to be our best year so far, with all trends indicating 2017 will be another year of adventures in all the right directions. We wanted to thank everyone who’s supported us in the simplest of ways for all the amazing support that’s been shown to us as we navigate our way through this exciting labyrinth. Holding high standards for ethical production certainly presents unique challenges, but they have only strengthened our resolve to continue creating high quality footwear and supporting worker’s rights and fair trade principles.
We’re excited for you to join us in the New Year to see what’s possible.