Skoll Foundation



Skoll Awardee(s): Nina Smith
Award Year: 2005
Issue Area(s) Addressed: Peace and Human Rights, Sustainable Markets, Education, Economic Opportunity

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“Consumers will be educated on the issue of child labor and motivated to take action. Consumers will ask people for certified rugs, sending a message down the supply chain and ultimately putting an end to child exploitation.”

Sub-Issues: Early Childhood to Primary Education; Human Rights; Livelihoods; Responsible Supply Chains; Standards Nearly 218 million children worldwide are forced to work, robbed of opportunities for education and their childhood. The South Asian carpet industry employs 250,000 of them.

The Skoll Awardee: Nina Smith brought her experience in the fair trade movement and a passion for children to the task of launching the organization that became GoodWeave in 1999. At that time it was known as Rugmark USA as the United States affiliate of Rugmark International, established in India by Kailash Satyarthi to eliminate the scourge of child labor in carpet manufacturing. In Nepal, India, and Afghanistan, GoodWeave monitors factories and looms, certifies carpets made without child labor, and rescues and educates “carpet kids.” In consumer countries, GoodWeave seeks to create market preference for certified rugs through use of the GoodWeave label to educate consumers and persuade them to seek out the label, so that the preference for certified rugs will work its way down the supply chain and eventually force manufacturers to stop exploiting children or lose their place in the market. The theory of change is straightforward: If enough people refuse to buy carpets made by exploited children, then no one will be able to sell them. This requires coordinated strategies to influence the behavior of consumers, sellers, importers, and producers. At the time of the Award, certified rugs represented about five percent of the imported carpet market, and GoodWeave estimated that each 1 percent increase translated to 750 children rescued from the workforce, 1,000 prevented from entering, and 2,200 jobs being given to adults rather than children.

Impact since joining the portfolio in 2005:

  • The cumulative number of children directly rescued by GoodWeave inspectors has grown to more than 4,000, with thousands more deterred due to rigorous supply chain monitoring and market enforcement.
  • The cumulative number of GoodWeave certified carpets sold has surpassed 11 million.
  • In 2014 alone GoodWeave reached 84.5 million consumers; recruited 11 new companies as clients and partners; conducted 3,405 supply chain inspections; certified 117,512 carpets; benefited 39,444 adult workers; rescued 50 children and educated 2,450.
  • In Sept. 2015, GoodWeave announced a partnership with Target Corporation to prevent child labor in the production of Target’s owned-brand woven rugs. Since February 2015, all owned-brand woven rugs made in India have been GoodWeave certified, indicated by a numbered GoodWeave label affixed to the back of the rug. 


© 2015 Skoll Foundation.