When we first incorporated our social impact brand, deux mains, we made choices. We decided there was no way we would barter the value of another human’s life. Every deux mains team member would be entitled to dignified, living wage employment, paid maternity or paternity leave, have access to healthcare, and shares in the company. We chose to intentionally focus on local craftsmanship and local leadership. We chose to work on systems that support a trained and prepared workforce ... and we have been able to do that with our nonprofit partner, REBULD globally. Our final non-negotiable was the environmental footprint we would have on our community and the world. Since our inception we have been proudly repurposing tires and inner tube from the streets of Haiti. As a matter of fact, each pair of sandals keeps 10KG of C02 from being admitted into the atmosphere. We source locally and even buy a material from a partner, THREAD international that uses recycled plastic as the main ingredient in its material.
We have been doing this for years. But was it enough?
We decided NO. We can do more. We should do more.
Imagine the dusty conditions of an outdoor, open-air manufacturing center in the middle of Port-au-Prince. The truth is, we have trouble keeping our products clean. Dirt and wind have become deux mains biggest nemesis’s in Haiti. To fight the dust, we package our beautiful handmade sandals into plastic bags. Those packaged sandals go onto a shelf in our boutique. We wait for some awesome person who wants to make the world a better place and believes in their personal purchasing power to buy them. Those sandals come out of the plastic and go home with their new owner. We use the plastic bag over and over, but we decided that it was no longer good enough just to recycle a material that doesn’t biodegrade, is a significant source of landfill waste, and is regularly eaten by numerous marine and land animals, to fatal consequences. Therefore, in preparation of World Oceans Day, and in response to the millions of ocean creatures who have lost their lives due to our plastic consumption, we decided we can treat our planet with an even greater respect. We can treat Haiti with an even greater respect. We said bye-bye to plastic at deux mains.
From now on, our impact sandals will sit in locally sourced cotton sachets we make in our factory to keep clean from the elements of our island. We don’t want to be a part of a system that says it is ok to use plastic. We have joined the ban on plastic at deux mains. Stay tuned for the environmental impact this will make this year alone!