My second concern was production-related: what quantity of water and energy would be used for manufacturing? What would be the impact of production waste? What is a company's social responsibility towards its workers and the communities that surround its production facilities?
This was a though challenge for me, since my business was fairly small. You could always find ISO 8000, 900 and 14000 manufacturers – but even then, let’s say they were not the type to hang out on Google- then you would have to deal with a massive amount of stock (15 000 bags for each models, to begin with, is a HUGE investments for a start-up).
Luckly, I’d been able to find a trustworthy agent in China, who had previously dealt with my small production, in some small workshops in Hong-Kong. I didn’t have all the sustainability control I wish I had, but I knew my bags were made by real people, in good conditions and that they were not chained in unsafe sweatshops. I’d actualy been told that most of my makers were ex-sweatshop employees.
At that time, since I was pregnant with twins, I couldn’t travel to China, but Sally, my dear agent, had sent me pictures of every step of the making process. I remember being super impressed by how clean and safe the shop was and by the amount of work that was getting done in such a short period of time.
Right now, I’m actually in the process of finding production partners that can make it easier for me to evaluate my human and environmental impacts.