Working With Artisans

3 Compelling Reasons to Create Products With Refugees

Find out how your business can benefit from working with refugees through MADE51 . Discover statistics on the business case and how purpose is increasing success and delivering value for customers, shareholders, and investors.

Today, over 100 million people have been forcibly displaced by war, violence, disaster and persecution. Whenever refugees flee their homes, they leave behind their livelihoods and prospects, which are critical for self-reliance. This means refugees often have no choice but to rely on others for, typically, 15-25 years.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Having the opportunity to work and earn a living is one of the most effective ways people can rebuild their lives with dignity. To build that opportunity UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, created MADE51, a global brand of artisanal home décor and accessories, crafted by refugees.  Each MADE51 product that reaches consumer hands plays a part in enabling refugees to contribute to their host country’s economy and strengthens their ties with local society.

Common Objective (CO) is partnering with MADE51 to support more fashion businesses to source from refugees. Apart from transformative impact, there is a clear business case for brands to engage.

Read more about how you can get involved with MADE51 here

Here are 3 compelling reasons for your business to engage:

1. Create outstanding products that transform lives 

(Or access a stunning wholesale range)

  • Through MADE51 you have access to a global network of artisans with unique skills, from weaving to beadwork, embroidery, crochet, leather work and more.
  • The MADE51 brand is owned by UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), and delivered in a strategic partnership approach including the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO), and the local social enterprises themselves. This means that MADE51 products are made to the highest ethical, Fair Trade, and quality standards. All products are sourced through vetted, reliable enterprises, ensuring your needs are met.
  • If you are creating collections to your designs you benefit from expert support from start to finish.
  • If you are sourcing wholesale products, benefit from the design input and market expertise of the MADE51 team alongside assurance that products meet WFTO standards.

2. Communicate your impact to customers, shareholders and investors

  • Sourcing MADE51 products comes with the MADE51 label which means that the product is refugee-made, under Fair Trade conditions with UNHCR assurance - making clear your values to customers. Thanks to a partnership with the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO)  MADE51 sourced products are guaranteed of Fair Trade origin. 
  • Through working with MADE51 you will benefit from impact reports including how your work has made a difference for refugees, statistics and context. See reports from Chloe and Uniqlo for reference.
  • Communicating credible commitment to purpose matters more than ever. By pretty much every measure of brand health, consumers are more likely to try, stay loyal, pay more and advocate for brands that genuinely do good. After learning a brand supports a social cause or is socially responsible, the next wave of consumers (Gen-Z) are 85 percent more likely to trust a brand, 84 percent more likely to buy their products, and 82 percent likely to recommend that brand to their friends and family. (Forbes, 2020)
  • Ethical Companies enjoy a higher level of stock price growth (50 percent higher than that of the S&P 500 over the same period) (Torrey Project, 2022) Investors are actively seeking credible evidence that businesses are committed to ESG impact. A partnership with MADE51 will help you to achieve Corporate Social Responsibility objectives, through sourcing ethical products that simultaneously promote economic inclusion of refugees.

3. Inspire and motivate your team

  • Professionals and teams that are working with MADE51 have expressed how inspiring and motivating the project is - and how important it is to them that their work is making a difference.
  • The Cone Communications Millennial Employee Study found that 64 percent of Millennials won’t take a job if their employee doesn’t have a strong CSR policy, and 83 percent would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues. According to Inc, Millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025 and they are looking for socially responsible employers.
  • Studies show that the total cost of losing an employee can range from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5–2 times an employee’s annual salary. (Forbes, 2020) This shows that giving employees a sense of meaning in their work has tangible and hugely impactful benefits.

Interested in producing collections with refugees - or sourcing wholesale?

Browse MADE51 wholesale collections
Get in touch with the MADE51 team to learn more, discuss collections you would like to create, and get your questions answered. 

Header image: MADE51

Visit the MADE51 Hub on CO for more information.

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Tamsin Lejeune

CEO & Founder at Common Objective