About the Ethical Fashion Initiative

The Ethical Fashion Initiative is a public-private partnership of a UN programme (under the ITC, a joint agency of the UN and WTO), a group of social enterprises, and several industry partners.

Founded in 2009, today EFI works at the intersection of international development, the creative industries and the fashion and lifestyle sector, offering sustainability services, products, and development projects.

EFI currently chairs the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, an initiative of United Nations agencies and allied organisations designed to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals through coordinated action in the fashion sector.

EFI is a proud partner of EU INTPA, the DG of the European Commission responsible for formulating the EU’s international partnership and development policy, with the ultimate goal to reduce poverty, ensure sustainable development, and promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law across the world. With EU support and partnership EFI implements innovative interventions based on creating sustainable economic opportunities for beneficiaries.

What we offer

Organic cotton farming in Burkina Faso, photographed by Anne Mimault

Sustainability services

In managing complex and impact-focused supply chains, EFI draws on its experience and expertise to offer a sustainable path for the wider fashion industry. Its environmental, social and governance (ESG) due diligence framework is a tool to assess risk in supply chains and prevent, reduce and mitigate it. 

This tool is developed in partnership with Camera della Moda and has been shared with the EU commission to provide due diligence in view of the adoption of the new EU Directive on Corporate Sustainability Reporting.

MIMCO Collection produced with Artisan Fashion

Sustainability products

To manage and implement production activities, EFI is partnered with Artisan Fashion, the first social enterprise created through EFI in Sub-Saharan Africa, today a production and management centre of regional importance.

Together, EFI and Artisan Fashion manage an international decarbonised supply chain, a structured network of social enterprises who coordinate the work of artisans from the Global South in order to produce for luxury clients worldwide. Regional hubs in Eastern and Western Africa, Central Asia and Afghanistan carry out production, trade, and logistics processes, with the support of EFI’s strong network of technical partners engaged in developing skills of artisans to international standards.

ESG compliance is paramount within this supply chain, where Living Wage Assessments, EFI Code of Conduct and Labour Standards form part of daily operations, the impact of which is carefully measured and assessed by EFI.

Kenyan designer Katush at EFI production training, photographed by Louis Nderi

Business development projects

EFI’s Designer Accelerator, Opportunities Are Here, and Venture Labs projects aim to develop sustainable business to its full potential and harness the power of the creative industries to be a force for good. For the Ethical Fashion Initiative, Africa holds the key to a more sustainable world. Through a targeted accelerator and venture support facility for creative businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa, EFI seeks to develop SME’s to become vehicles for the achievement of the SDG’s. To further propel these activities, EFI is engaged in expanding its partnership to a group of financial institutions to create an investment facility for new businesses in the African creative industry.

Sustainable Development Goals

EFI helps create long-term, dignified jobs for women and men in disadvantaged communities in Africa and Central Asia, directly contributing to Sustainable Development Goals 1, 5, 8, 10, 12 and 13, and indirectly to SDG’s 16 and 17.

Simone Cipriani at the Artisan Fashion production hub in Nairobi, photographed by Louis Nderi

Simone Cipriani

Simone Cipriani is the founder and manager of EFI, chairperson of the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, and a leading voice in the growing global movement for ethical supply chains. 

Aiming to transform fashion into an engine for poverty reduction and women’s empowerment, Simone and EFI work with social enterprises to create wealth and dignified jobs across the world, connecting them with discerning lifestyle brands and measuring the human impact of each order.

EFI continues to innovate, most recently promoting emerging African designers and driving forward the debate about the role of fashion in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.