by Mitch Kraft
When someone has a clear objective and direction in life, they can be a very powerful agent for change in the world. At Purnaa, our mission statement is, “To provide world-class, ethical manufacturing which empowers marginalized people and survivors of exploitation to fresh starts and fulfilled lives.” We believe in this statement, and we live it out by focusing on our five core values. We strive to implement love, excellence, beauty, integrity, and justice into our business and lives. These values affect all that we do at Purnaa.
Since working at Purnaa I have seen all of these values active in the lives of our employees and how we do business. The staff at Purnaa are inspiring to me, as they pursue fresh starts that employment can provide. Here are some ways I have seen the community of Purnaa demonstrates our values.
Love, as defined by Purnaa, is choosing what is best for the other person and treating them how we would want to be treated. This might be one of the easiest values to be seen enacted at Purnaa. In a country where the community is so important, the staff at Purnaa have created an additional community for themselves at work. It is common to hear about an employee helping another employee. Whether that be in the small things of moving a box when it is not one’s job or explaining directions patiently to someone, or larger things like helping with doctor bills or checking in on someone who is sick, love is alive and well at Purnaa.
Purnaa believes that excellence should be a part of one’s whole life, at work and at home. We strive to keep improving even in small things. Recently I have seen many hard, complicated processes become documented and refined to give our customers a top-notch working experience. Purnaa’s customer service is some of the best I have seen. Purnaa’s staff have implemented this value in their lives as well, as some have learned how to budget or taken extra classes to better themselves and their families. Several staff members have learned how to drive while working with us. This can be very impactful for a family, as a scooter or motorcycle can cut travel time to work in half, giving them an hour or more at home with their families each day.
We foster beauty in our products, our workplace, our staff, and our environment. Although we focus on many areas of beauty, it is the beauty in our staff that has the most impact on me. It is a beautiful thing to see someone who had little to no hope for future change when given a job that brings dignity and stability. I have heard many times from staff in the last few months that their job at Purnaa came just at the right time, giving them hope, preventing them from doing something risky, and bringing more respect from their communities. I think the most beautiful thing I have heard and seen at Purnaa was in the social impact survey we take every year to ensure we are completing our social objectives. We have seen through quotes and observations that after about 2 years of working at Purnaa many staff are switching from being the ones that need help to being able and eager to help others. I have seen this transformation happen even quicker in the last 6 months with several new hires being willing and eager to help fellow friends out with hospital bills and being a good friend in difficult times.
Integrity is not always synonymous with business, but at Purnaa it is at the core of how we operate. Purnaa offered a living wage and safe working conditions to their employees well before we became World Fair Trade Guaranteed. We pursue openness and transparency in our communications and business. As I mentioned above, we use the social impact survey to measure how well we are fulfilling our social objectives. We did not need to do this but because integrity has such importance to us, we wanted to make sure that the good we say we do has evidence to back it up. If you are ever in Nepal, stop by and see us. We are happy to have tourists and customers come and see our factory.
We champion the rights of the marginalized in our factory. We not only provide a job but at Purnaa our human resources team goes above and beyond to help our employees. This has sometimes meant helping our employees with outside disputes where they might be underrepresented just because of their status in society. We also believe that we should do our best to protect our suppliers, whether it is the farmer growing our fabrics or the village downstream of the tannery we use. We do this by purchasing GOTS certified cotton and vegetable dyed leather as well as sourcing many other renewable and environmentally safe materials. We feel to truly value justice, we must work to provide justice for our workers while also keeping in mind the justice of our suppliers’ employees. That is why we believe in protecting all areas of our supply chain.
Have you ever felt passionate about something but felt like the only thing you can do is speak about it? We have so much power to change the world but we don’t really believe it most of the time. We at Purnaa see a future where everyone has a fair chance to have a life and job that is dignified. We see changes in our employees’ lives that show us what business and a consistent focus on our values can bring. Join us in living out the values of love, excellence, beauty, integrity, and justice. Purnaa believes that by pursuing these values in business and life, we can change and impact the world. Use your voice, but more importantly use your life, to build the future that you want to see.