Expert #3 presentation on Alta Gracia factory in

Alta Gracia Apparel:
Making Ethical Apparel
Production Real
Worker Rights Consortium (WRC)
February 4, 2011
Alta Gracia Apparel: Making History
A garment factory in Villa Alta Gracia in the
Dominican Republic.
The first ever union, living wage export apparel factory in
the Global South.
The sole supplier of Alta Gracia-branded clothing to
leading collegiate apparel maker Knights Apparel.
The world’s only garment factory with working
conditions and living wages publicly verified by an
independent labor rights monitor – the WRC.
A producer of high-quality competitively-priced t-shirts
and hoodies for the collegiate, promotional and nonprofit market.
The WRC and its Role at Alta Gracia
Worked closely with Knights Apparel and Dominican
unions and NGOs on project concept and startup.
Calculated a living wage for garment workers in the
Dominican Republic using market basket research.
Conducts ongoing monitoring of Alta Gracia’s labor
compliance in consultation with local stakeholders.
The Alta Gracia Commitment:
Above and Beyond
Knights Apparel commits to:
Year-round employment of workers at a living wage and
factory compliance with all applicable labor standards.
Respecting the right to unionize and bargain collectively.
Maintaining world-class health and safety standards.
Providing full access to factory by the union and the WRC.
WRC commits to monitor and verify factory’s labor
compliance for universities and students.
Dominican Free Trade Zone Workers Union commits
to help provide labor rights training to workers and
respect their decision on unionization of factory.
The Living Wage Commitment
All Alta Gracia workers
receive Living Wage as
minimum pay for regular
working hours.
Alta Gracia Living Wage:
Prevailing wages in
Dominican free trade zones:
AFW – Cambodia
US$ 274/ month
(36% of the Alta Gracia
Living wage)
Living Wage is calculated
using market basket of
Food and water
Savings and discretionary
What Living Wage Means for
Alta Gracia Workers
Alta Gracia Apparel: Making History
Before Alta Gracia “I worked to be tired, without
accomplishing anything”. Work only allowed the
workers to live a day longer in the same conditions,
without any hope for improvement.
Alta Gracia’s policies empower workers to have
dreams, set goals and make choices, providing a
pathway out of poverty.
World Class Health and Safety
Alta Gracia health and safety program developed in
cooperation with Berkeley-based Maquiladora Health
and Safety Support Network (MHSSN).
MHSSN consulted on Alta Gracia’s initial workplace
design and has conducted health and safety trainings
for workers and managers.
Business Model
Produce premium garments and distribute through a
high value channel: University bookstores.
Alta Gracia sell as similar price as competitors, like
It sells, but is it sustainable?
Based on Alta Gracia: Working with a Salario Digno. Georgetown University – research progress report
Business Model - Benefits
Employer of first resort, can attract highly productive
Reduced need for supervisors. Instead of “hovering
over the workers, supervisors are “problem solvers”.
Happy (and well-fed) workforce make fewer mistakes
cutting material waste
Business Model - Challenges
The productivity gains cannot overcome the fact that the
workers are paid three times the minimum wage.
Have not fully penetrated the university bookstore market yet ,
and is still rely on Knight's Apparel willingness to fill up with
other orders with smaller profit margins, bearing the losses.
Costs per minute is 14 US cents, compared to Sri Lanka’s 5 US
cent per minute.
High non-payroll costs (electricity) compared to neighboring
Dominican Republic is isolated from other countries in the
supply chain
Business Model - Potential
When Alta Gracia is able to produce and sell at full
capacity through university bookstores, it will be
profitable for Knights Apparel despite they are paying a
living wage of 759 US$ per month.
The average price of Alta Gracia apparel is US$ 25.
Imagine what would be possible with the Cambodian
Asian Floor Wage of US$ 274
Alta Gracia Is Making
Ethical Apparel Production Real
Alta Gracia shows ethical apparel manufacturing
can change garment workers lives.
Like Knights Apparel, brands must make a real
commitment to lead – no business as usual.
Label but verify. The place to measure the real
impact is at the factory and in workers’ lives.
When buying t-shirts and hoodies, one choice
makes a real difference – Alta Gracia.

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