Both World of Good, Inc. and the World of Good: Development Organization were founded in the belief that it is possible to harness capitalism and market forces to create positive social change. We have a theory of change and an organizational structure designed to manifest this vision into reality.
As globalization opens markets and generates opportunities for developing nations, a key challenge is ensuring that the benefits reach the poorest of the poor those living on less than $4 per day, who are primarily women working in the informal sector. The informal sector is comprised of unskilled and semi-skilled individuals who live close to or below the poverty line, and have no consistent means of employment.
The United States is the world's largest consumer economy, and the practices used by US companies in sourcing goods and bringing them to market affect the earnings of millions of people around the world. By elevating the ethical standards of sourcing in the informal sector to the highest standards of fair trade, there can be sustainable economic development achieved for the most marginalized producers. Fair trade practices, along with fair wage standards, are critical factors in ensuring that these producers thrive in our era of globalization.
The informal sector has been largely ignored or forgotten resulting in poor standards and widespread exploitation. This sector represents 60 percent of non-agricultural gross domestic product and is rapidly growing, accounting for 83 percent of new jobs in Latin America alone. Approximately 70% of the informal sector is made up of women who are inturn supporting children and extended families. Improving their livelihoods generates a shift in the next generation's access to education, improved nutrition and housing stability. It is imperative that we start paying attention to the informal economy and create strong sourcing practices in order to enable millions of workers to earn a decent living with dignity.
Our vision for a new, more empowering global economy harnesses capitalist market competition to create social good. Literally transforming the market into a race to the top rather than a race to the bottom each company competing to do better in solving the problem of poverty among women in the informal sector. This is what we call inspired competition.
Our theory of change is a three-prong strategy that we believe provides the ingredients that are working to successfully transform business sectors to inspired competition.. We have analyzed and observed these elements within the organic food sector and clean technologies. In order to radically shift industry practices in the informal sector we believe three forces must work synergistically.
1) Educated Consumers: Consumers informed with information begin to see their purchases as a form of action into the world. By choosing products that reflect their choices, they create the market demand that begins to shift corporate behavior. World of Good, Inc. has developed an educational marketing strategy leading with the WorldofGood.com community – an educational hub that convenes conscious media partners, industry experts and many leading organizations to provide consumers with trusted information from a variety of perspectives. Offline, World of Good carries this educational strategy into a variety of other consumer activities through in-store programs including movies, educational displays, and individualized stories of producers on every tag.
2) Business Innovators: Innovative first-movers create best practices and make people-positive and fair trade products an easier choice for retailers and consumers. World of Good Inc, is innovating on numerous dimensions and simultaneously partnering to promote the work of other innovators through the new WorldofGood.com marketplace. World of Good, Inc. focuses innovation on creating easy, accessible and highly scalable branded distribution systems; like our store-in-store full service program, multi-seller marketplace, and Original Good product line where we work with artisans to develop the most stylish, high quality, Fair Trade products.
3) Clear, Replicable Standards: As demand grows, clear, replicable standards must be created to ensure that new entrants are able to join the marketplace while participating in solving the underlying. The World of Good Development Organization is convening the fair trade community to promote stronger, transparent standards for the informal craft sector. Through innovative technology applications like www.fairwageguide.org, training systems and supply chain information sharing, the Development Organization is scaling capacity and improving market access for this sector. The Development Organization is also committed to partner with other organizations to support the creation of new standards initiatives like the goal to launch a fair trade crafts certification label in the United States.
At World of Good we believe that when these three forces come together - inspired competition begins. At which point every product becomes an effort to please the consumer not only on the tangible level, but with the imbedded benefit of ensuring that the producers who made the product were treated fairly. Each consumer choice becomes a choice for change as inspired competition begins to spiral the market upwards.
Through our partnership with consumers, innovators and new standards we can create new expectations behind products in the US - ultimately, conventional large industry players will join the innovators to create even larger scale impacts.
Our effort is operating with unique structural models which allow us to create the maximum change possible.
Collaborative Competition: In direct opposition to traditional business practices, we have proactively created opportunities for all producers and fair trade sellers to grow their businesses. By partnering with eBay to build WorldofGood.com, the world's largest marketplace of people- and planet-positive products from around the globe – where all fair trade sellers and producers can sell their goods – WorldofGood.com allows us to not only grow the market, but grows it in such a way that brings our 'competitors' together on a collaborative platform. This multi-stakeholder solution is built similarly to our initiatives around the Fair Wage Guide and the craft certification where we open solutions for anyone to use rather than holding them as proprietary activities. We believe that the real competition is ignorance – and that by working together we create stronger growth for everyone together through greater collective awareness.
Hybrid Structure: From the beginning we chose to structure our work into a unique hybrid structure. We housed our business activities, which needed market scale and capitalization, into a for-profit c-corporation that could quickly grow to meet consumer demand and interact with retail industry leaders.
Our work around standards and economic development exists in a separate 501(c)3 organization – World of Good Development Organization which ensures that these activities are always held in the public interest. Each organization operates independently in its mission with separate staff and leadership, but collaborates to reinforce the mission and industry shift.
World of Good, Inc. is a company based on building partnerships and collaborating with other organizations to create the largest possible consumer market for people positive products in the United States. Through our branded wholesale program in more than 1,000 points of distribution nationwide to our partnership with eBay to create the worlds largest platform for selling ethically sourced products, we are working to create opportunities for ourselves as well as all companies that share the same vision as World of Good, Inc. a vision to harness market forces that radically shifts the way we do business to the benefit of everyone involved in brining us the products we use in our daily lives.
The World of Good: Development Organization works to convene the global fair trade community in support of a global fair wage standard through the creation of the revolutionary Fair Wage Guide (www.fairwageguide.org) a free web-based tool that empowers craft artisans in the informal sector to value their time in terms of wages. The Development Organization partners with the fair trade community to lead the adoption of standards, and to do this has assembled an advisory board of fair trade leaders throughout the world, including leaders from the International Fair Trade Association and Fair Labeling Organization. The Development Organization also funds community development projects in producer communities around the world to provide access to health and education initiatives that helps to improve the overall quality of life for thousands of producers and their families. World of Good, Inc. supports their grant programs by donating 10% of our annual profits to the Development Organization.
This radical approach to traditional business practices is helping to significantly grow the demand for fair trade in the US consumer market which will ultimately inspire big box retailers to change their sourcing practices leading to an exponential shift in global sourcing practices. Our vision to inspire competition is essential to creating an efficient, profitable, and stable fair trade sector that leads to lasting economic freedom for millions of producers.
By creating a comprehensive hybrid business model, we are able to approach this global social challenge from both ends of the spectrum. World of Good, Inc. builds supply and creates demand while the Development Organization works within the global community to strengthen international wage standards that protects both producers and buyers as global demand for products made in the informal sector continues to grow.
In order to build long-term sustainability for the lives of these producers and ultimately alleviate poverty, we must continue to develop and implement ideas, strategies and businesses that work to build holistic solutions. We cannot do this alone. To learn more about how you can get involved, visit our How We Work page to see how you can interact with World of Good, Inc. and the World of Good: Development Organization.
Together we can drive a powerful change for good.