Workers Impact

Shah Hemp is an active partner in the process of creating positive impact for workers, and works closely with stakeholders, inclusive of employees, their families and communities to transform challenges into opportunities.

We are currently working towards B Corporation certification, and as part of this initiative, we’re taking action to mitigate risk and address how we adapt our programs and benefits to our local environment.

The Challenges

The majority of Shah Hemp employees do not maintain a level of literacy to be able to read employment contracts, and therefore rely on verbal agreements between the company, themselves, and their community members.

What’s unique about our working environment

Most of our processing and manufacturing is carried out in Province No. 2 of Nepal. The highest number of migrant workers originate from this area and leave seeking economic opportunities abroad. Data and research related to this issue can be found as part of the Nepal Labour Migration Report 2020.

Issues addressed by the article that are relevant to Shah Hemp:

  1. Our employees are from neighbouring villages and travel a maximum of 5km to the Shah Hemp worksite. The fact that we have set up processing and manufacturing facilities in short proximity to local village communities alleviates the burden of residents having to travel to larger urban centers, or migrate to find employment.
  2. Our employees realize a minimum standard of living by raising cattle for milk, meat and a personal garden to grow their own vegetables. They work on land managed by local landlords to grow large-scale crops on a sharing basis. That is not considered as sustainable as landlords can take back the land at any time, with no guarantees or recourse available to the farmers.
    At Shah Hemp, we maintain community gardens that are always accessible to our employees during the term of their employment, and our team members work together to grow staple crops that support their nutritional needs as well as those of their families.
  3. Our male employees are always pressured by family and friends to go abroad and work as migrant workers. Even if they don’t want to, they end up going through the process. We are trying to create an environment where they can work and earn as much as working abroad. In order to facilitate improved working conditions, upskilling, and opportunities for increased compensation, we are working to achieve the following:
    1. Increased production capacity through the usage of machinery that we can train our workers to utilize.
    2. Increased awareness of the work of Shah Hemp, our impact initiatives, and access to a larger market for our products through our efforts to obtain B Corporation certification while engaging stakeholders in verifying our progress through RAZ Finance.

The Foundation

The company relies on its relationships with local communities, and their leadership and cultural practices, in order to maintain a positive impact on their employees and above-standard working conditions.

The company communicates with employees and their communities to ensure their unique needs are met, and has implemented practices that benefit workers, including:

  • Access to healthcare provided by the company through private medical facilities
  • Access to community gardens and shared food programs
  • Upskilling and training for employees
  • Support for employees to start their own small businesses

The programs that we’ve initiated meet and exceed the expectations of employees, and we will continue to publicize our progress according to the foundation that we’ve built.

The Solutions

Shah Hemp has commenced introducing the concept of short signed agreements with workers, the review and signing of which would be facilitated by semi-literate employees and by literate local community members. Complete details related to this initiative will be provided as part of the B Corp review process, publicly on our various online communication channels, and in partnership with the RAZ Finance community.

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