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Good Practices of Corporate Social Responsibility: A Look at Patagonia
By admin January 28, 2019

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When companies are hiring new people to join the ranks, they may ask the interviewee about their values. Answering the question informs the company of the individual’s principles and how that might guide their decision-making. It is now just as important for the interviewee to ask companies what they value.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is more than a just a trendy phrase, and it has a severe impact on social and environmental causes. Decisions made by corporations have to take into account the supply chain operational impacts and risks to communities and the environment. When the cost of doing business results in polluted waterways, human displacement, and human rights violations it is time to reassess the regulation practices of corporations. Rethinking the structure of how to do business with minimal negative impacts, while retaining profitability, and simultaneously creating pathways for more accountability and social good is the practice of CSR.

Rather than just donating to charities or foundations, corporations are proactively embedding good social practices to improve workers lives, establishing diversity and inclusion targets, and taking a stand on issues like global warming. Customers, employees, and investors are increasingly questioning the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors of  corporations. According to a recent Oxford University study, more than 80% of mainstream investors consider ‘ESG’ information when making investment decisions.

Patagonia, a retailer that offers various outdoor clothing and gear suitable for climbers, surfers, and any other adventurous activities, is one example of a company practicing good CSR. Patagonia announced that they were giving away $10 million from what they saw as an “irresponsible tax cut” from the U.S. federal government. The money will go toward groups defending our natural resources, air, water, and land. Patagonia viewed the $10 million as an unplanned gift, a gift that could greatly benefit society and the environment. Since 1985, the company has committed to 1% for the Planet, an alliance of businesses that contribute 1% of total annual sales to grassroots environmentally progressive groups. So far Patagonia has awarded over $89 million in cash and in-kind donations to domestic and international grassroots environmental groups.

Patagonia’s supply chain illustrates fair labor practices and safe working conditions. The company works with and monitors factories and mills to ensure compliance with local social and environmental laws and union contracts. As a founding member of the Fair Labor Association (FLA), Patagonia provides customers with an extra layer of assurance and transparency. Patagonia’s supply chain is randomly audited by FLA to assess the factory-monitoring program. The FLA website publishes the results for the public.

The Social and Environmental Responsibility (SER) program of Patagonia is a Supplier Workplace Code of Conduct and a matching Benchmark document based on the International Labor Organization core labor standards. Tier 1 of the supply chain focuses on social and environmental concerns related to subcontractors of the primary cut-and-sew facilities. Tier 2 of the supply chain monitors human trafficking and migrant labor issues. The company cares for the employees as well as the products, ensuring high-quality materials that are durable and functional — embracing a Worn Wear program to keep the products in use by encouraging repairs and reuse.

Transparency is at the forefront of Patagonia’s values. Employees and consumers have a responsibility to question where and how their products are sourced and made. Employers and corporations must mitigate adverse social and environmental impacts. Collecting data is the first step to monitor and evaluate each aspect of social good.

 

For more information:

How Corporate Social Responsibility Can Benefit Impoverished Communities

Corporate Responsibility: What To Expect In 2019

What Retailers Can Learn About Social Responsibility From Toms And Patagonia

 


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