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Social enterprise creates big impact on ethical and sustainable fair trade

Global Society & Global Goals
Social enterprise creates big impact on ethical and sustainable fair trade

Ethiqana is a social enterprise based on the principles of ethical sourcing, sustainability and fair trade to achieve positive social change. Social enterprises are businesses whose primary purpose is addressing a social or environmental challenge rather than creating profit for owners or shareholders. They bring together the entrepreneurial skills of the private sector and the values of public service.

It works with small artisanal businesses carefully selected for their environmentally friendly methods and need for creative and economic self-determination.

Arshad Khalid, the owner of the company, spoke to the interviewer, at Ethical Hour, an inspiring community of social entrepreneurs who put people, planet and profit at the center of what they do.

Ethiqana offers a wide range of handmade wooden children's toys and jewelry, scarves, home and garden accessories, greeting cards and more. A colorful assortment of eco-friendly products for conscious consumers and their entire family.

Ethiqana offers things that one would have never thought are ethically made, like the eco-friendly made board games.

Economic and creative empowerment and respect for the environment are always at the heart of their selection process.

Ethiqana's mission is simple: "To revive craftsmanship in the world of children's toys and other household items and accessories, while preserving traditional, nearly extinct, eco-friendly craft techniques."

By preserving these techniques, Ethiqana challenges modern manufacturing methods and provides a sustainable livelihood for its artisans to maintain their skills.

They deliver on their mission:

  • Empower artists through fair and ethical sourcing.

  • Offering consumers a viable, affordable and sustainable option.

  • Reuse sustainable materials to reduce plastic consumption.

Their mission of positive social change is not limited to the artisans they work with. Through their partnership with Buy1Give1, which champions many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, they have also been able to make a positive impact globally.

Arshad wrote: "2021 was a strange year. There were ups and downs and a few bumps along the way. Covid again put some obstacles in our way, which ruined our plans for the year. But we tried to make the best of things. Some opportunities came up unexpectedly, others we had been working on since 2020.”- argues founder Arshad.

For social enterprises, a success story is never about increased sales. It's mostly about the positive impact they've had and the relationships they've built along the way. But what has happened to make Ethiqana so successful?

"We have started working with a women's shelter in India. They work with women in need of public assistance, giving them shelter, training them, giving them jobs and paving the way for their economic and social independence. In their own words, 'it is a social enterprise for women, by women and through women'. We worked closely with them to develop our range of reusable cotton masks, scarves and pet accessories. It was satisfying to see that we could help more people, especially the most vulnerable.At the height of the pandemic in India last year, when hundreds of thousands of people were dying every day, we were able to raise funds to provide a free health check-up camp for our artisans and their families. Our customers and supporters helped us exceed our goal.We were also part of the eBay For Change program, a partnership between Social Enterprise UK, World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) and eBay to provide a platform for ethical businesses like ours. It was great to be part of the first cohort of 50 such businesses. The support from eBay has been great and has helped us reach more customers.” – stated the founder.

Ethiqana further comments:

“Finally, we were able to participate in events and art markets again from October to December 2021, which helped us end the year a little healthier than in previous years. It's still a loss, considering how bad sales have been in the last two years, but a better loss.

In total, we gave away 1068 days of support to various projects around the world aligned with the UN SDGs and 210 days of clean water to families in Ethiopia.

We have also partnered with Green Wallet so that every time a sale is made on our website, a tree is planted when paying by credit or debit card.”

Ethiqana aspires to:

  • continue to work with existing artisans on new designs to keep the range up to date

  • find new partners and work with them, and

  • increase revenue by participating in more events and markets, where COVID allows, in order to support many of our artisans.

  • Increasing revenue is important for all businesses, including socially engaged ones. But what happens to this revenue is what makes a company serious.

As the world progresses, it's becoming increasingly clear that social enterprise is the future of business. For one, social enterprises are far more sustainable than traditional businesses, as they're built around solving social and environmental problems. What's more, social enterprises are typically more innovative, as they're not bound by the same profit-maximizing constraints as traditional businesses. Finally, social enterprises are better able to build relationships of trust with their customers and employees, as their motives are not solely profit-driven. In short, social enterprise is the new way to do business, and it's here to stay.

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