Embark on an EIB Group career supporting ethical companies

Embark on an EIB Group career supporting ethical companies

 May 11, 2022

Working for the European Investment Bank (EIB Group) means embarking on a career with impact. EIB Group tracks the development results of every investment to understand what works and how it can further enhance its impact.

EIB Group looked at an African handicraft finance project that links crafts workers to the global value chain to see its impact—and what lessons it holds for other development work.

Supporting ethical companies

The EIB Group Shop Soko

EIB Group is proud of supporting ethically sourced fashion company, Shop Soko, a women-led ethical jewellery brand and tech-powered manufacturing platform built to connect artisans in Kenya with the global market. 

African artisans have the capability to produce jewellery with international appeal, but reaching those markets is often impossible for them. Ethically-sourced fashion company SOKO aims to bridge this gap by tapping into ethically conscious consumer markets and passing on most of the benefits to African producers. 

Under the EIB-GDN programme, researchers Soazic Elise Wang Sonne and Timothy Kinoti surveyed artisans working in Kibera, Kenya, one of the largest urban slums in sub-Saharan Africa.

EIB investment women

To gain insights into how SOKO is helping to improve the skills and livelihoods of the artisans that work with them, the researchers compared the responses of artisans working with SOKO with those of a group of artisans not currently affiliated with the network2. Altogether, 192 artisans were interviewed. The analysis has brought interesting insights into the way SOKO is influencing its workers – and on the potential impacts of working in Kenya’s handicraft sector.

What is different for SOKO artisans?

Linkage to a global supply chain may be paying off: the artisans who SOKO links to international markets earn approximately 37% more than artisans not working for SOKO every month – a statistically significant difference.

The wage gap between SOKO and non-SOKO artisans is particularly large for female artisans. However, a more advanced analysis indicated that the difference may be caused by differences between the artisans who work with SOKO and their peers. 

Further benefits include:

  • some evidence suggests that SOKO may be enabling artisans to invest in their children’s future. 
  • SOKO’s trainings seem to be benefitting the artisans attending and some of their peers. 
  • SOKO aims to boost sustainability by enhancing the ability of artisans to generate revenues outside their relationship with SOKO.
  • innovative uses of technology can promote sustainability.

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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