South Lake Tahoe company earns Child Labor Free Certification | TahoeDailyTribune.com

South Lake Tahoe company earns Child Labor Free Certification

Partners Lynda Ronaldson and Steve Ardagh's B Corp-certified business, Eagle Protect, earned another certification this summer: child labor free.

South Lake Tahoe-based Eagle Protect recently became the first company in its industry to become both B Corporation and Child Labor Free certified.

Eagle Protect imports and distributes disposables, like single-use gloves, for the food industry. In 2012, the company became New Zealand's first B Corp, a certification by nonprofit B Lab for rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.

The company, run by partners Steve Ardagh and Lynda Ronaldson, moved stateside last year, becoming South Lake Tahoe's only B Corp. And after a rigorous 15-month process, Eagle Protect took the next step and earned its certification from Child Labor Free for manufacturing.

Child Labor Free developed the world's first global certification system to independently inspect companies and their supply chains for the use of child labor. So far the organization has certified 15 companies as Child Labor Free; they are currently investigating four more.

"We are extremely proud to be a part of the movement to end child labor," said Ardagh, Eagle Protect founder and CEO, "and like Child Labor Free, we too believe every child has a right to a childhood. Many companies don't know that children are involved in the production of their goods because of their complex supply chain."

Prior to starting Eagle Protect in 2006, Ardagh visited a glove factory in Malaysia with substandard working conditions, and the experience drastically shaped his method of business going forward.

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"It is fantastic to see a brand leading the way in an industry outside of fashion," said Child Labor Free Foundation CEO Nik Webb-Shephard.

There are currently 152 million children, aged 5 to 17, who are engaged in child labor, according to data released by the International Labour Organization this month. The highest concentration of child laborers works in agriculture (70.9 percent), followed by the services sector (17.1 percent) and industry (11.9 percent).

"We hope more businesses join us in the journey towards Child Labor Free through a focus on ethical sourcing and supply chain transparency," said Ardagh.

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