Gert Boyle’s directive to “make it better” applies not just to the products we sell, but to every aspect of our business.
As a responsible company, we work to continuously innovate, especially when it comes to ethical sourcing practices, managing our environmental footprint, and giving back to communities. Here’s a snapshot of our corporate responsibility progress from 2016.
We continue to explore ways to design products more efficiently so that they require less raw materials and fewer components, use less water and energy to manufacture and assemble, are safer for the environment, produce minimal waste, and come from ethical, humane sources.
One of the big highlights for 2016 was the introduction of the OutDry Extreme Eco Jacket. This rain jacket is made from 21 recycled plastic bottles and dye-free fabric with no PFCs intentionally added.
By coloring fabrics without water, we saved 2.9 million gallons last year and used recycled content in 8.4 million pieces of apparel.
For all our down-insulated products, we now use 100% responsibly-sourced down.
And as a result of our ReThreads product recycling and donation program, we diverted 17,279 pounds of apparel and footwear from adding to landfill waste. That’s a lot of gear.
While our CO2 emission equivalents went up as a result of business growth, we made upgrades at our headquarters to cut down 12% on our energy use and installed water refill stations to eliminate disposable water bottle use, saving the equivalent of 173,110 plastic bottles from hitting the landfills. We also introduced a new shipping polybag option that is made from 89% renewable resources.
At Columbia, we take pride in working only with fabric suppliers and manufacturers that share our values of fair and ethical treatment of workers, safe working conditions, transparency, and sustainable manufacturing practices. More than 87% of our manufacturing partners received a B rating or above, and 26% of our fabric suppliers are now bluesign® system partners. The bluesign® system is the solution for a sustainable textile production. It eliminates harmful substances from the start of the manufacturing process and sets and controls standards for an environmentally friendly and safe production.
We wouldn’t be where we are today without the support of our community, so we see it as essential to give back. Last year alone we invested $1.7 million in 450+ nonprofit organizations around the world dedicated to getting kids outside, conserving the outdoors, and building healthy communities. And our employees spent more than 3,057 hours last year volunteering in their respective communities, something we are proud to enable them to do.
Through our partnership with Planet Water Foundation, we installed two water filtration towers in Vietnam, which provides 10,000 gallons of clean drinking water to the communities surrounding our manufacturing facilities in Vietnam.
Through fun projects like the National Park apparel collection, we raised $80,000 for the National Park Foundation. We continue to support the Columbia/Grassroots Belay Grant Program to invest in local outdoor education and conservation efforts across the United States. We also partner with the American Hiking Society on National Trails Day® to support and encourage the use and conservation of our National Trails System.