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The Nest Seal of Ethical Handcraft

Protecting the rights of home-based artisans.

Why

Around the world, artisans play a key role in reviving and sustaining their local creative economies. But, because they often work from informal settings like their homes or small workshops, these workers are typically unrecognized by formal institutions, and the protection of their social and economic rights at work is the exception rather than the norm.

When Patagonia began exploring how to responsibly source from artisans, we knew it was critical to partner with a credible third-party organization to ensure that these workers have a safe, equitable work environment, even as they work from their homes and workshops. So we teamed up with Nest, a nonprofit that facilitates a (literal) seal of approval to promote the well-being of artisans and bring visibility to global handcraft economies.

Where We Are

We began working with Nest in 2015 to help develop The Nest Ethical Handcraft Program, including The Nest Standards for Home and Small Workshops, before the program formally launched in 2017. Understanding that most artisan businesses are unfamiliar with traditional social-compliance principles, Nest’s model features a pre-assessment educational program that includes a full year of training and capacity building. The artisan business then becomes certified and undergoes an audit similar to those in our factories. To be eligible to use the Nest Seal, the business must comply with the five core principles of Nest’s standards: worker rights and business transparency, child advocacy and protection, fair compensation and benefits, health and safety, and environmental care.

The Nest Seal is a hallmark of Patagonia’s khadi collection. Handwoven by a small number of artisans using techniques passed down through generations, the traditional Indian fabric in this collection is sourced from one of our India-based suppliers that was certified by Nest in 2019.

What’s Next

Consistent, regular orders is one of the key needs for artisan businesses to succeed. Now that these artisans have obtained their Nest Seal, we encourage more brands to source from this Nest-certified supplier, in addition to our own continued orders, as a way to support the rich tradition of khadi and expand financial opportunities for this community.

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