Green America has awarded RugMark, an international non-governmental organization working to end illegal child labor in the handmade rug industry, with the Building Economic Alternatives Award, which recognizes groups or individuals who aim to build a more just and sustainable society.
RugMark was honored for its GoodWeave certification program, which aims to to end illegal child labor in the carpet industry while offering educational opportunities for children in South Asia. According to a report in Home Furnishings Business (www.hfbusiness.com), the certification standard will soon include green benchmarks to reduce water and air pollution related to rug washing and dyeing, and providing living wages and improved working conditions for of-age workers.
According to the article: Since RugMark began in 1994, illegal child labor in the handmade carpet industry of South Asia has decreased by 75 percent, from an estimated one million to 250,000 child workers. To date, RugMark has rescued more than 3,600 children and deterred hundreds of thousands more from exploitation on carpet looms, offering rescued victims rehabilitation, education, vocational training, and other services; more than 9,000 emancipated and at-risk children have attended school with RugMark support.