While searching for needle manufacturers to be featured in the Sewing Kit, I found Pony Needles, owned by Needle Industries (India) Private Limited. Their factory is located in the mountains of South India in a town called Ooty at 2200 meters above sea level. I hope to be able to include their hand sewing needles in the Kit and am working on getting distribution. I like Pony Needles, not only because of their high standard for quality and their longevity (started as a British Corp. in 1949 and then transferring into Indian hands in the 1960s and 1970s), but because of their commitment to quality working conditions.
Pony Needles has been certified to meet the SA 8000 standards for humane workplace standards set by Social Accountability International, an international NGO. Here's what Pony Needles has on their website regarding the certification:
"Purpose and Scope.
The intent of SA 8000 is to provide a standard based on international human rights norms and national labour laws that will protect and empower all personnel with a company’s scope of control and influence, who produce products or provide services for that company, including personnel employed by the company itself, as well as by its suppliers/ subcontractors, sub-suppliers and home workers. Its requirements apply universally, regardless of a company’s size, geographic location, or industry sector.
Complying with the requirements for social accountability of this standard will enable a company to:
a) Develop, maintain and enforce policies and procedures in order to manage those issues which it can control or influence.
b) Credibly demonstrate to interested parties that existing company policies procedures and practices conform to the requirements of this standard."
I began this project because I wanted to support US manufacturing. Now that I am forced to look elsewhere for needles, I am comforted that this potential supplier is so focused on creating quality jobs for their workers in South India.