December 8, 2015
When you’re looking for new shoes, it can be hard to find a pair that are truly unique and have real character. With names like Ngola and Zabilo, you can be assured that the kicks from Oliberté are distinct. Take a peek at this fair trade footwear, you’ll see that they not only stand out, but come with inherent character bestowed by their cobblers in Ethiopia. For today’s Greener Giving post we are featuring this fair trade footwear brand for anyone with style and compassion. In 2013, Oliberté became the worlds first Fair Trade footwear manufacturers, producing out of a sole factory in Addis Ababa. The company states that their motivation is to lift people out of poverty with “Trade. Not aid.” Undeterred by the often percieved lack of opportunity due to poverty and corruption in Ethiopia, Oliberte is working to grow the economy and provide sustainable jobs with hopes of change. By creating the foundation of a successful business under sustainable principles, a positive model is set for development in the future.
Oliberté reinvests their profits to expand their enterprise, employ more people and create a lasting solution to poverty. This is unlike a charity, which lacks a long-term model, can only shrink, but never expand. Their fair trade footwear model is not only sustainable in a business sense, but in an environmental sense, as well. Their leather comes from free-range and hormone-free cows and goats. Oliberté is so confident in the quality of their products that they offer a lifetime warranty, which is very uncommon in the footwear industry.
When profits are not reinvested in expansion they are dedicated to sustainable philanthropy through One Percent for the Planet. Natural rubber is another factor that gives Oliberté B Corporation scores far above the medians in each category: environment, workers and community. Nike, Adidas and Sketchers all fall short of Fair Trade certification requirements, which is unfortunate, considering how many shoes they produce. Yet the young Oliberté has made it a priority to retain their certification while they expand their Fair Trade footwear brand.
When you buy a pair of Oliberté shoes for a friend you are contributing to the growth of a sustainable economy in a developing country. There aren’t many ways to do more good with one simple gift.
Photo Credit: Oliberté