End to end transparency and awareness - The story of Green Grade
Green Grade Solutions’ journey into the learning and development space was not an obvious one. In April 2013, the company’s founder was working on a compliance project near Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, when the Rana Plaza complex collapsed, leaving in its wake more than 1100 people dead and thousands injured. The human loss and the blatant disregard to building and safety codes have had a profound effect; with the realisation that lives of so many people are at stake, the company decided to change course: instead of delivering bespoke and single site projects, it opted for technology led offerings, initiating a mobile first strategy which was to spin new products out of its original service base. The objective was to raise awareness and make complex regulations more accessible and understood through an app, a task that seemed achievable given an earlier platform that was developed by the company for an easier navigation through EU regulations.
This, however, was a challenge of a different magnitude: in developing countries’ like Bangladesh there is no reliable electricity, and identity fraud is rife. Would it therefore technically possible to rollout a scalable solution?
Fast forward a year later, and the company’s vision for mass scale learning became a reality: through an offline learning app (that is, non-internet based) that can also invigilate the end learner, received a major boost: the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) has selected Green Grade’s mobile concept, UpSkill, as part of a new worker-focused aid initiative in Bangladesh.
After trials in dozens of factories, Green Grade has introduced an end-to-end approach for a better, responsible, and transparent supply chain. The UpSkill platform was subject to an external evaluation by the University of York, which concluded that it has had a positive influence on the ethical compliance within the Bangladeshi apparel factories that participated in the project. The learning process has contributed to addressing the gap in health and safety knowledge of managers as well as building capacity at the factory floor. 91% of the participants implemented or improved ethical compliance measures and 80% stated that it benefitted them personally.
Following the success of the UpSkill project, Green Grade was awarded in 2015 a further contract by the UK’s DfID for the development of a ground breaking audio visual platform that explains safety principles to illiterate and semi-skilled workers. Developed in collaboration with the US firm Turning Technologies’, the new system offers an adaptive and immersive learning experience to thousands of employees in one go. Also in 2015, Green Grade Solutions was awarded a coveted industry recognition, Accredited Learning Technologies Provider, by the Learning and Performance Institute (thelpi.org). The LPI’s accreditation report praised Green Grade’s innovative platform, UpSkill, and noted that it offers an ‘outstanding unique selling point… (as an) integrated delivery and testing platform’. The report added that Green Grade has created a new and compelling value proposition which is ahead of current market trends.
Our Retail Insights
In emerging economies where demand for fast, inexpensive fashion production is highest, the pressure on factories to produce more for less is historically unprecedented. Despite billions invested in compliance and audit schemes over the past decade, workers still die in horrific fire accidents and factory owners still get away with false documents, underage labour and worker discrimination.
This reality is unsustainable from multiple perspectives, but when a retailer is identified by pressure groups as the enabler of these working conditions, network campaigns and negative headlines can do serious damage to their brand.
GreenGrade has in-depth understanding of the business pressures on brands, suppliers, factories and workers and thus engages collaboratively and confidentially with each level to improve the bottom-line for all stakeholders.