Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Even A Website URL Can Be A Noteworthy Donation

Image courtesy of commons.wikipedia.org
It would seem that in today's world, even a website domain name can become an item that may be donated to a noteworthy cause. Jeffrey Tognetti knows this; he donated a URL under his name to a nonprofit earlier this month.

The organization Tognetti donated a URL to is the Fair Wear Foundation, a "non-profit organisation that works with companies and factories to improve labour conditions for garment workers," according to their Facebook page. Established in the late 1990s, the FWF improves conditions for workers that are involved in sweatshops and other unethical operations by collaborating with the businesses that are partnered with the nonprofit. By working together and providing independent feedback, the FWF has been able to help large brand-name companies provide better working conditions for the people that are making its products - no small feat considering the complexity of the world of retail and textiles in the 21st century.

The work the FWF does cannot and should not be ignored; by partnering with specific companies and looking into the work conditions that so many are forced to slave under - conditions that often violate the labor standards set by the ILO Conventions and the UN’s Declaration on Human Rights - the FWF has been able to help people and children alike working overtime for poor pay in inadvertent working conditions. The nonprofit's website reads, "FWF’s 80 member companies represent over 120 brands, and are based in seven European countries; member products are sold in over 20,000 retail outlets in more than 80 countries around the world. FWF is active in 15 production countries in Asia, Europe and Africa."

So what does an American businessman like Tognetti have to do with the FWF, which primarily operates overseas?

The FWF actually sought Tognetti out on its own, hoping that he would consider ttransferringownership of a domain titled wellmade.org to the nonprofit. It seems like an unusual request upon first glance, but the FWF has big plans for this simple URL.

The FWF wants to use this domain name to host a site dedicated to talking about one of their newest initiatives, the WellMade project. The WellMade project’s overall goal, according to the FWF, will be to provide training to employees in the European apparel industry on pragmatic things they can do in their day-to-day work that support better working conditions in clothing factories. The project is being funded by the European Commission.

The end-goal is to use this URL specifically to house an online resource library that will bring together new and existing documents, films, and other materials that have been developed by the FWF and other project partners, including the Ethical Trading Initiative and Dutch trade union CNV. The hope is that library will host a diverse pool of educational information for employees on all levels from many different backgrounds, from designers to managers – available free of charge.

Tognetti soon learned after initially being asked to donate wellmade.org that if he donated the URL he owned to this organization so that they could use it to aid their cause, he would receive nothing back for his generosity – but this didn’t stop him from transferring ownership of the domain. Thanks to this kind gesture on Tognetti's part, soon a free pool of information for employees will soon be made available by the FWF to anyone with working Internet around the world.

Our next post will discuss the information the FWF hopes to put into this online library now that Jeffrey Tognetti has confirmed that they can use their desired domain name, as well as some of the finer details about the organization. Stay tuned!

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