7 June 2014

IRII: a new industrial revolution

Women working in Haitian garment factory

Women working in Haitian garment factory

Spurred by Haiti’s need for job creation and economic development, Rob Broggi, a former finance executive, has started the knitwear factory Industrial Revolution II (IRII). According to Women’s Wear Daily*, IRII wants to “be a different kind of garment factory, one that values social advancement for its workers just as much as providing fashionable products to customers.”

IRII is located in Port-au-Prince and operates under a “shared-value” business model. According to its website: “IRII invests 50% of profits into our workers, their families and the local community. These expenditures are not charitable donations, but rather durable investments into healthcare, education, training and infrastructure, all geared toward improving social conditions and promoting economic development in the region.”

Broggi told WWD that the factory plans to employ close to 300 people, a relatively small, but much-needed boost for the country, which is still recovering from the January 2010 earthquake. The factory is set to start operation sometime this year and will focus on small orders, which means quick turnarounds and more chances for custom work.

As someone who tries to combine fashion sense with “human sense,” I am more than willing to pay more for garments produced in factories such as IRII, rather than garments made in factories whose owners may not have their workers’ well-being in mind (see: Bangladesh).

Photo from IRII. Originally posted on Open Minds.

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