Sustainability & Fair Trade in our Crafts

Our crafting communities are greatly impacted by global trade, and this covid-19 pendamic has really caused a severe impact on us.

But we want to continue our mission of supporting our artisans, and making sustainable products that are earth concious.

At ZIVELI our focus is on poverty reduction by creating jobs in areas most marginalized.

A large percentage of India’s population lives in rural areas with insufficient access to jobs or markets. They do, however, have access to traditional artforms, and can hand-make beautiful products for international trade. Women also benefit from this economic empowerment, enabling them to support their families, gain skills and confidence, and become more independent.

However, it is not easy to manage a supply chain that connects rural artisans and urban buyers.

We also decided to focus on communities in need, rather than communities that are already involved in trade. This made our job even harder, yet it was central to our mission. It also gave us access to artforms and products that are more unique, as well as stronger direct partnerships with the artisans.

With years of hard work by our design team and the motivation of our artisan partners, we are proud today to have a strong product line and more than 25 retail partners all over the world. We provide sustainable economic opportunities to a network of over 200 artisans; 100 percent of which are women and they live in poor rural areas (where only 39 percent of people are employed).

What we realised in this journey is that once communities start to gain economic independence, they can take charge of their own development needs. Responsible trade leads to good jobs, which in turn fosters community development — win-win-win!

A thriving environment is also critical to our mission, which requires a renewed focus on how we do business. This is especially challenging because it involves so many aspects of our operations — raw material sourcing, production processes, packaging, shipping, and even product lifecycles. Each of these elements requires in-depth analysis to understand the impacts and explore possible alternatives.

As a result of our commitment to be sustainable, we use only natural, renewable materials, based on the impact the materials have on our people and planet during their production, use and end of lifecycle. We include aspects such as amount of water used in production, toxicity of the process, renewability of the resources used, and compostability.

Our goal is to use only natural materials in our products, to design products which are versatile and long lasting, and to launch two product collections each year.

naturally dyed palm leaf bags

We use only natural dyes to dye our palm leaf products, and all our products are handcrafted by our women artisans. We use manpower and energy efficiently as we run on sunlight, and we hand make bags and baskets when the sun shines.

In our packaging we replaced polythene with reused cardboard boxes and rolls or cloth bags.

We also reduced our inbound shipping-related carbon emissions by inventory control and reduce our carbon footprint by closely monitoring inventory and sales.

All our products are compostable at the end of their lifespans, except for things like metal zippers etc. For a product to be considered sustainable, we must not only look at how it is made, but what happens at the end of its life. ZIVELI wants its products to merge back into nature through composting, which then provides our planet the ability to recreate the resources. The key to making compostable materials is using natural materials and not combining them with non-natural materials in such a way that makes it hard to separate. For instance, while the cotton we use for our lining is compostable, adding a zipper makes the item non-compostable. At the same time, customers want a way to close their bags. This takes a creative solution.

Nico Overnight Bag
Emmaline Tote
Bobbi Bucket Bag with Drawstring Lining

Our design team is experimenting with different ways to create bags without plastic or metallic accessories. One example includes our nico and emmaline bags that have knotted kauna buttons and loops instead of zippers. We also use drawstring linings for most of our bags.

The next phase of our sustainability evolution brought the people that purchase our products. Although our products are made responsibly, we are a very small part of the marketplace. For a larger shift in global production, consumers need to be aware of the practices they endorse through all of their purchases. We share our story and message in our product tags, website, catalog, and social media and events. We’re planning a campaign to raise awareness about the interconnectivity of purchases in a global context.

With commitment and creativity, ZIVELI has built a strong foundation of sustainability. We have to admit that it’s not always easy to stick to the mission and turn down short-term opportunities; yet this journey is incredibly rewarding. The satisfaction of making direct, positive impacts for producers and our environment, and growing a global base of informed ethical consumers, keeps us going and striving for more.

Do support our cause by shopping on

Thank You!

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