A key question for anyone considering participating in the tip4good program is “How do I know the gratuity I just paid is actually reaching the garment workers?” This is understandably a great concern for us since the whole point of the platform is based upon linking the garment to the workers at the plant that produced it.
We use the term “workers” instead of “worker” because, in order to generate a significant positive impact, we must necessarily work with mass manufacturing at Ready-Made Garment (RMG) plants supplying major global fashion brands. Garment production at these suppliers is not artisanal—several workers, a team, normally participate in the cutting and sewing of each individual item. It would therefore make no sense to attempt to link a garment to just one particular worker.
This creates a significant challenge. The gratuity pot linked to any given brand at a factory must be shared by the number of workers that worked on that line. This can create problems in traceability and fall prey to corruption and leakage. Fortuitously, just mere months ago, the solution arrived!
GAP Inc. has just announced that has completed the digitalization of payrolls at all 800 of its Tier 1 supplier plants. This means that all of these factories will no longer be paying their workers in cash. They will instead pay digitally, either by using debit cards or even more likely by taking advantage of basic banking technology now available on mobile phones, better known as digital wallets (MPESA in Kenya pioneered the concept). Digital payment is more secure, stimulates the empowerment of women, and results in significant cost savings for the supplier. It is also completely transparent and traceable, greatly facilitating automation of the audit process.
In other words, the digital payment is the answer – the ironclad way tip4good ensures the right workers receive their appropriate share of gratuity. It gives us an uninterrupted end-to-end digital conduit by which to receive payment of gratuities (on the consumers’ mobile phones) and disbursement of gratuities (on the workers’ mobile phones). We will be able to remit and follow payments in real time as well as provide complete transparency and accountability to all of our stakeholders, especially skeptical consumers.
The Better Than Cash Alliance estimates that on a global basis all garment plants will have adopted digitalized payments systems by 2020. That’s really soon. Doubts are dispelled. It’s looking good!
tip4good is a startup in disruptive innovation blending new mobile payments technology and generosity to permit consumers to thank the factory workers who made their garment by paying them a gratuity. Please help us continue to grow! Just join our leads list to support our pilot program: www.tip4good.org
Humanity deserves the opportunity to make this work.