Raw material from K.I.L.U.S.


Profile of CONTIGO´s partner K.I.L.U.S.

Supply chain

Trading Partner: KILUS Cooperative
Function: Producer
Structure: Own production plant, affiliated production groups
Tradeway: Direct import CONTIGO


Bags made of recycled packaging materials


Ugong, Pasig City, Philippines – distance to Europe: 10,200km

Founded in 1997


Pasig City to Göttingen (Source: Google Earth)

  • 1997: Alejandro E. Santiago, a Barangay (name of local government unit in the Philippines) executive, encourages his wife to initiate a volunteer women’s group
  • She, together with other female volunteers, become parters of the Barangay Council “Programs for cleaning and greening the community”, an initiatve for trash management and income generation
  • 1998: women’s group is officially registered under the name K.I.L.U.S. (at this point 500 women are part of the group)
  • Every member pays a deposit to gather the necessary seed capital for K.I.L.U.S.
  • Every neighbourhood is assigned to one coordinator and one group leader who are responsible to supervise and monitor the cleaning of the streets
  • Succes:s The Ugong neighbourhood receives an award for being the cleanest and greenest part of Pasig
  • Since 1999: new key activities: projects to create and secure income for its members, households are encouraged to recycle and separate their waste
  • During a seminar the idea to use recycled juice bags for the production of new bags is developed. Editha Santiago implements this idea in her neighbourhood
  • Many women in Ugong get trained in the different production steps. Pilot scheme gets attention from the media
  • K.I.L.U.S. is officially registered as cooperative
  • A big step forward for the cooperative is the participation on international trade shows. Bags are now sold to international customers.
  • This success contributed significantly to improve the income situation in Ugong
  • K.I.L.U.S. optains access to official loan schemes and is able to purchase professional and robust sewing machines
  • In cooperation with different educational institutions and governmental organisations K.I.L.U.S. is often invited to give lectures on different topics at workshops for national and international audience. Topics: environment and trash management, urban development, self-organisation, advancement of women
  • January 2017: owing to a big fire the production building is totally destroyed; all the equipment (sewing machines, computers, etc.) and furniture, all raw materials and finished products (which were ready to be shipped) are lost
  • CONTIGO and Ingo Herbst in person are in close contact with K.I.L.U.S. to develop and coordinate fast and direct help.
  • April/May 2017:
    • 150 employees receive interim help from the local Department of Labour and Employment´s emergency employment program for two months
    • The City Government, local companies and an organisation of employees of the US Embassy in Manila donate money, computers and sewing machines that allow a temporary production (which can be set up in the house of Alejandro and Editha Santiago)
    • A new production site can be found
    • Construction planning and a preliminary building permission are available
    • The complete reconstruction costs appr. 76,000€
  • May 2017: CONTIGO starts a fund raising campaign in their CONTIGO Fairtrade Shops and in the worldshops: for further information (only in German), please click here:
  • December 2017: Donations mount up to 40,042 €. K.I.L.U.S. receive donations from other groups / customers from the Philippines and Japan in order to build a simple low building. The CONTIGO Verein e.V. now finances the working materials, missing equipment and a transport vehicle. The women of K.I.L.U.S. are thus able to accept larger orders again
  • February 2018:
    • A new pickup for collecting the recycling materials is delivered
    • New equipment of working tools
    • First delivery of over 5,500 recycling bags to CONTIGO (improvised production took place partly in the private rooms of Alejandro and Editha Santiago, as well as women produce at their homes)
  • June 2018: Reconstruction of a new production site
  • November 2018: Inauguration of the new production site
  • Spring 2019: K.I.L.U.S. receives the remaining donation amount from CONTIGO e.V., which is invested in its sanitary facilities, ventilation systems, occupational health and safety measures, health programs and product development
  • 2020: Corona pandemic has a major impact on KILUS:
    • Office and production had to close for two months; employees had no income in that time. KILUS supported them with food packages, paid from their own fund or from (customer) donations
    • Large loss of sales: important local events were cancelled and there were no walk-in customers in the KILUS showrooms
    • KILUS lives on orders from its three to four regular customers, including CONTIGO, but much smaller quantities than usual were ordered. As a result, the working days were cut down from five to two days.
    • Strict hygiene measures were adjusted: employees have to wear masks in the entire work area, safe distance between workplaces. Because of the 2-day week, working hours rotate so that only about 30% of the total workforce is present on any given day.
    • There has been only one reported Covid-19 illness in the KILUS workforce.

Cooperation with CONTIGO since 2003

Structure of the business

Organisation as a cooperative, current amount of members: 300

  • All employees (homeworkers as well) are members and paid an amount to the cooperative

Number of employees: 

  • 32 full-time employees (26 women, 6 men)
    • Employees in administration, quality control, production management and sample making receive a fixed salary
    • Employees in the production (cutting the material into stripes for weaving, weaving and sewing) receive piece rate wage
  • 57 home based employees (part-time) – receive piece rate wage
  • Appr. 90 families are involved in the different production processes

Work environment:

  • Two collecting points for juice bags and other recycling materials in the neighbourhood and on the brink of Pasig
  • The central workshop in Ugong is bright with many windows. The shutters are made of recycling material as well.

Departments in the main workshop:

  • Basement floor: warehouse for raw material, cleaning, sorting, counting, cutting into stripes for weaving
  • Upper floor: administration, sample room, sewing, quality control

Work organisation:

In-house production processes:

  • Empty juice bags get cleaned three times, sorted, cut, and distributed to different departments for further finishing
  • Production of bags and accessories: sewing and weaving
  • Quality control of final products
  • Packing and export

Production steps at home:

  • Recycling materials are collected and brought to own collecting points
  • Home based employees (mothers and housewives) weave and sew

Monthly meeting with all employees and members of the cooperative


  • Home market (15%)
  • Exports (85%) to U.S.A., Japan, South Korea and Europe


  • As a „multipurpose cooperative“, K.I.L.U.S. wants to unite economical, social and educational aims
  • To secure constant income for women in Ugong
  • To enable compatibility of work and family
  • To deal gently with resources and materials
  • To raise awareness and take measures for the protection of environment and nature
  • To asupport women by strengthening women´s self-confidence
  • To strengthen the community

Special features

  • Strong team spirit between all members; meetings are also used by women to discuss private matters; women learn to speak out freely, some members are able to go on a lecture tour with K.I.L.U.S. and leave their familiar neighbourhood for the first time in their lives to visit new countries and cultures
  • Long-term workplaces: many women have been working for K.I.L.U.S. for over 10 years. Some elderly people are illiterate and without any chance on the regular job market

Why does CONTIGO work with K.I.L.U.S.: CONTIGO appreciates that K.I.L.U.S. combines high-quality production with environmental protection. A great initiative that supports the neighbourhood of Pasig and takes an exemplary approach to recycling.


Fairtrade classification

FTA = Fairtrade Approved


Fairtrade aspects

K.I.L.U.S. complies with the following Fairtrade Principles:K.I.L.U.S.2

No child labour

No discrimination

No discrimination due to gender, disability, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political orientation, or infection with HIV

Fair wages

  • Minimum wage in the region: PHP 481/day (PHP=Philippine Peso)
  • Wage at K.I.L.U.S.: PHP 400-500/day (for sewer)  (*)
  • Home based employees paid by piece rate
  • Payment in cash every Friday for delivered products

(*) Comment:
K.I.L.U.S. does not pay wages in the classical meaning. The earnings are anticipated dividends. These may fluctuate depending on business´ situation. Therefore the above-mentioned amount is to be seen as a guide value.


Humane working conditions

Working hours:

  • 8 hours/day
  • 1,5 hour breaks for snacks and lunch
  • 5 days/week

Social benefits:

  • Contributions to health insurance (PhilHealth)
  • Low-interest loans are offered to employees for their various needs (e.g. educational loan, home renovation loan)
  • Grocery allowance, e.g. rice for reduced in price in a small shop on-site
  • Working clothes are provided
  • Regular, free health check-up
  • Stipends for children of members

Due to that fact that K.I.L.U.S. is organised as a cooperative and the employees are co-owners, K.I.L.U.S does not have to pay contributions neither to the social security system (SSS) nor to the national pension fund „pag-IBIG“. But K.I.L.U.S. encourages its members to pay contributions on a voluntary basis, and helps them financially (in cases of problems).

Educational opportunities:

  • Educational programs (topics: environment and society)
  • Design training for beginners
  • Self-development trainings: women are encouraged to take over responsibility in the team and outside at events
  • Courses in general health and reproductive health (in collaboration with local government offices)
  • Own choir and church services

Occupational safety:

  • All safety standards are met


  • Payroll is available
  • Pay slips are available
  • SAR (Self Assessment Report) was duly submitted to CONTIGO


  • Personal visits in Pasig (2010, 2016)


Country information

See Encyclopaedia Britannica: Philippines


2018: Reconstruction & a new pickup

January 2017: major fire at the production building of K.I.L.U.S.

KILUS_Brand_1 KILUS_Brand_4 KILUS_Brand_3 KILUS_Brand_2

Production site before the fire / CONTIGO visited K.I.L.U.S. in October 2016:

Quality-Control Produktion1 Produktion Heimarbeiterin


Author: Janina Lange on 20. May 2021

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