Enter Sneaky Business. This new Oxfam initiative absolutely blew me away. This is more than a website. It’s a virtual march across the globe tracking the state of worker’s rights in footwear workshops of big companies like Nike and Adidas. Instead of reading passively, it facilitates simple ways in which you can respond to the problem immediately. By pressing a few buttons and uploading a photo of yourself with your pair of sneakers, you can join the troop of people that demand brands to respect their workers’ rights, and whose messages will be directly delivered to Levi, Converse, Puma, etc.
The site is user-friendly and detailed without sending your brain into overload. It explains battles that workers face from country to country, be it the toxic smells from manufacturing materials that made workers sick in Cambodia, to the Thai workers who were fed amphetamines so they could continue through the night to meet deadlines. All are paid unfathomably low wages. And the site draws shocking comparisons to CEO salaries and sponsorship deals for FIFA World Cup and the Olympics. But the map shows some victories as well, like the Alta Gracia factory workers in the Dominican Republic who are now being paid a living wage.
So next time you’re sporting your perfectly stitched, fashionable footwear, take a photo for Sneaky Business. Our individual efforts will combine to create a movement that has to work.