Corporate Conscience | A Personal Statement
Commerce has been fundamental to almost every era and society, but the rampant growth of commercial activity associated with the industrial era has given recent generations growing cause for concern. The modern economy often seems to function in a zero-sum game: profit being measured in the trail of human and environmental destruction that facilitates it. In our fervour to progress our brand story, we're anxious to maintain a laser clear view of our responsibilities as global citizens.
This is reflected in our supplier relationships, in our management culture, and in our broader business ethics. In terms of the top layer of our supply chain — for cut, make, and trim — this is made somewhat easier by the fact that our garments are manufactured within OECD advanced economies, by suppliers operating in highly unionised employment environments subject to developed world levels of minimum pay. We have very regular direct access to production floors, and communicate with factory workers in their first language. Should we later expand production outside of the community of advanced economies, though, we will transition into new supplier relationships in a principled, methodical manner, with fair trade principles at the heart of that shift.
In contrast to many similar enterprises, whose founding values sometimes find themselves compromised by structural changes in executive control — often due to funding considerations — Olive has remained wholly owned, funded, and managed, by its original founders: myself and my wife. However, it would be incomplete of me not to share with you that ours has been a journey of discovery not dissimilar to many of our similarly socially conscious customers; starting from a desire to achieve uncompromising ethical standards, we've had to face compromises at almost every turn.
It is, for example, not always possible for us to penetrate sufficiently deep into our own supply chain to fully ascertain the origin of a yarn; many textile suppliers within sane shipping distance of our CMT factories are robustly unwilling to share commercially sensitive information about their own supply chain — particularly with a micro-brand with limited buying power. Our roadmap to improving transparency throughout the supply chain includes strengthening and expanding upon supplier relationships — both a natural consequence of our own development and growth.
In the modern global economic system, consumer, retailer, manufacturer, and farmer are inextricably connected, in a pyramid of ethical responsibilities. Many of our customers are keen to take their responsibility seriously, and expect the same of us. We’d like to reassure those customers that we do share those values and aspirations, and our ability to deliver on them will strengthen rather than diminish as we grow together. — Rohan Moore, Managing Director
Olive is a living wage employer accredited by the Living Wage Foundation.