Our brands are committed to pay fair wages to their employees. ENZI Footwear for example pays double and adds a portion of the profit, Kabana currently pays even 4 times of the national average salary.
This has a big social impact, because the majority of the staff uses the money to support their families. Therefore, we currently have a direct impact on more than 600 people and additionally, through the supply chain, we even have a positive impact on more than 4.000 people.
Our aim is to multiply the number of affected people as high as possible during the project.
Through several training programs we want to provide our employees with skills and knowledge.
This contains training in soft skills, such as confidence, attainment of goals, leadership and hard skills, like weaving, spinning, sewing and cutting.
Firew Konjo from Shimena, for example, is training the local community youth to earn income by spinning cotton and weaving on handloom. Jawad Braye from ENZI, who studied footwear design and production at the renowned London College of Fashion spent hundreds of hours to show his staff his professional knowledge.
Kabana offers mental training, especially for single mothers, who often are victims of domestic abuse, to reintegrate them in the society with dignity and supports employees who wish to start their own business by giving them start-up capital loans.
These actions already inspired former employees to start their own business and to generate more jobs.
Empowerment of Women
Gender equality and fair treatment is a big matter to the Ethiopian fashion community. All of our brands take different actions to encourage and empower women at their workplaces and in their social life.
Enzi Footwear for example provides a shoe bag from a local organization, working to empower women living with HIV and Shimena supports women entrepreneurship through training programs.
Especially Kabana embodies this aspect. 80% of their employees are young, migrant women from emergency shelters. Kabana educates them and gives them self-determination through wages much higher than the national average. Their female leader Semhal Guesh is engaged in several women-rights organizations and programs and says:
“The fight against misogynistic traditions starts by hearing about other women's success”.
In addition to these aspects our brands contribute to the health of their social environment with special aid efforts.
ENZI donates 10% of its overall profit to indigenous outreach programs in Ethiopia and during COVID-19 crisis, Semhal Guesh, from Kabana, led a consortium of 12 enterprises to repurpose factories and manufacture PPE materials. This initiative contributed to the fight against the virus while securing over 1,060 jobs.
The fabric for ENZIs shoe bag is sourced from a local aid organization and Kabanas Shopping bags are sourced from a social enterprise owned and run by a deaf community called Teki Paper Bags, which is a social and environmental enterprise developed for and by the deaf community.
Kabana, Shimena and ENZI follow fair recruitment processes and hire people in difficult circumstances too.
Shimena, for example, employs former prisoners and older people who are still motivated and inquisitive and Kabana offers employment opportunities for disabled women among. Currently, some are working in the cutting department.
sustainable with timeless fashion
The design phase already determines its lifespan. To create eco-friendly and long-lasting pieces, we combine old craft techniques with innovative production processes. We create fashion that is timeless, because sustainable fashion starts with a long-lasting design. All brands invest in designs that are classic and can be worn in all seasons.
The fact is that the demand for resources has been increasing fast for years. In order to achieve the goal of sustainably avoiding the waste of resources, ENZI uses leather scraps and processes them for the labels and shoe bags. In today's throwaway society, many things are replaced or exchanged too quickly. What is often forgotten is the possibility of repair. This is not only easier on your wallet than buying new, it also saves resources and thus our environment. This autumn/winter season, ENZI will launch a brand new shoe called "Sankara". This completely handmade shoe with the comfort of a sneaker is inspired by classics and has been upgraded with high-quality full-grain leather. The traditional stitch-down construction method used allows the soles to be replaced when worn. The stitch-down method of manufacturing is one of the oldest shoe-making methods in existence. This method not only underlines the craftsmanship of our employees, but also allows the shoe to be used for years. ENZI creates a high quality shoe with a long usability and traditional background.
In addition to upcycling leather scraps, Kabana avoids long transport routes for materials. 92 % of the raw materials come from Ethiopia. These include sheepskin and goatskin, textiles and the canvas. The remaining 8 % of raw materials, including zips, buckles and accessories, are imported from Egypt, the USA and Taiwan. Often, leather from industrial mass production is largely tanned and treated with toxic chemicals. Kabana's high quality leather is vegetable tanned and dyed. The manufacturers go through an evaluation and selection process specially created by Kabana. This is based on sustainability and its associated requirements, such as environmental compatibility or a zero-tolerance policy towards child labour.
Read more in Kabana's "The Responsible Brand Commitment".
Shimena sources raw materials and materials for production from regional sources. All the materials used come from manufacturers no more than 30 km away from the factory. The cotton, which comes from the region, is woven on traditional hand looms. The cotton fields are rainfed, organically fertilised, cultivated and traditionally hand-picked by family members. By producing the products locally, Shimena aims to avoid long transport to reduce the environmental impact. To give the yarns their unique colours, Shimena uses natural dyes from locally grown plants and fruits such as avocados, eucalyptus, onions or mangoes. Worldwide, however, there are about 4000 dyes and up to 8000 dyeing aids in use according to the Austrian Ministry of the Environment. According to estimates, this amounts to 500,000 to 600,000 tonnes of synthetic chemical dyes annually. Since last season, Shimena has increased the share of natural dyes from 30% to almost 70%. A variety of local natural dyes are used, such as mustard, avocado seeds, vernona leaves, leaves and flowers of trees like Hygenia Abyssinica and Croton. The remaining dyes are sourced from the Swiss company CHT Switzerland AG, which won the Responsible Care Mittelstand Award of the VCI (Verband der Chemischen Industrie e.V.) in both 2018 and 2019.
As a result of the growth of the leather industry and poor waste management, our planet is suffering from many negative impacts. According to the International Journal of Recent Technology and Engineering, the leather industry produces 4 million tonnes of solid waste worldwide every year. By upcycling waste products, Kabana not only creates new products but also reduces the amount of waste produced in manufacturing from 40% to as little as 25%. 15% of this leather waste is used to make labels, sandals. Purses and key holders. Kabana's new sandal line is made exclusively from recycled leather materials. The team around Semhal Guesh focuses on a resource-saving use of potentially useful materials. Through this strategy, Kabana reduces the need for new raw materials and the generally required energy consumption, as well as air and water pollution.
Labels from leather waste
Sandals from leather waste
A shoebox made from the
fibres of Kocho
Paper consumption worldwide is extremely high. A shoebox is mostly used as a short-lived product. Often the production is harmful to the environment because it requires enormous amounts of wood, energy and water. Recycled paper can help reduce the environmental impact. ENZI's shoebox is made from recycled paper and the fibres of the by-product of a local food called kocho. Kocho is a traditional flatbread of the Gurage cuisine in Ethiopia and is one of the most popular Ethiopian dishes. Together with a local producer, ENZI developed its first own shoebox from this raw material.
Textile production is a very water and energy intensive process, so water responsibility and energy efficiency efforts are important issues in Shimena's facilities. Currently, Shimena is in the planning phase for a water treatment plant. The goal is to reduce the demand for energy and resources, as well as to reduce operating costs. The purified water is to be reused for various purposes. In parallel, the production of biogas is planned to generate renewable energy.