Brand: The Root Collective

The Root Collective Ballet Flats
The Root Collective sells handmade shoes that ethically support craftspeople in Guatemala.

Website: www.therootcollective.com

Verdict: Ethical, High Quality, Classic, B Corporation

The Root Collective makes handmade shoes in Guatemala. Purchasing their shoes supports the workshop of Otto, employing local craftsmen who make the shoes, and supports a women-owned women’s collective who support their families by hand weaving the fabric which the shoes are made from.

What They Sell: Women’s Shoes

Transparency: Fairly Transparent. The entire manufacturing process is detailed and ethical, but no mention is made of where materials are sourced and whether they are environmentally friendly.

What They Are Doing Great: 

  • Made by Otto (Otto’s shop is where the shoes are crafted) in Guatemala, which employs local craftspeople in an ethical and fair manner.
  • Uses hand woven textiles from a women’s collective in Guatemala, supporting more local craftspeople at above fair wage minimum standards.
  • Gives back with every sale to programs supplying aid in Guatemala.
  • Hand made, long lasting and classic styles make these shoes investment pieces that can be worn a long time.
  • They are certified B Corporation, which is a standard for measuring and rating ethical and environmentally friendly businesses. You can review their B Corp Scores here.
  • Shoes are shipped in re-usable dust bags also made in Guatemala and standard shoe boxes (they hope to one day use recycled materials for the shoe boxes)

Room for Improvement:

  • The Root Collective emailed us back (Jan 5 2016) about some of our questions and explained that generating jobs in Guatemala was their priority and although environmental issues and supply chain transparency matter to them very much, they took second place to providing jobs for people in need. Here are some goals and areas they intend to improve when possible:
    • They would like to one day use shoe boxes made from recycled materials.
    • They are unable to track electricity, natural gas and hydro consumption until they have better supply chain transparency.
    • They so far cannot track where their leather comes from but hope to one day work directly with a farmer and tannery in Guatemala.
    • They also cannot track where their cotton comes from (or how it is dyed), but hope to one day work directly with a farmer or buy from a different country (not Guatemala) where the origins are traceable.
    • They aren’t able to use recycled materials for the soles of the shoes due to the poor local resources in Guatemala.

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