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Environmental Responsibility

At Columbia, we believe in using less to do more and are focused on achieving resource efficiency and reduction in every aspect of our business.

PRODUCT & MANUFACTURING


Higg Index

We are committed to measuring, tracking and improving our supply chain environmental performance and are using the Higg Index framework to do so.

The Higg Index is an industry-wide tool that enables companies to evaluate material types, products, facilities and processes based on a set of environmental indicators. The Higg Index is managed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition which is an industry-wide group of over 100 leading apparel and footwear brands, retailers, suppliers, nonprofits, and NGOs working to reduce the environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear products around the world.

We are a founding member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and have been using the Higg Index to measure environmental performance for the last two years. We have seen modest improvements in our overall practices since starting to use the Higg Index in 2012 and are committed to continuing to make progress in each of the areas outlined by the Higg Index.

Restricted Substances List

Our Restricted Substance List (RSL) is an integral part of our product creation process and our Environmental Health and Safety program. The goal of our Restricted Substance program is to protect workers, the environment and consumers from harmful substances. In order to do this, we maintain a comprehensive up-to-date RSL and require our suppliers to comply with these principles.

TRANSPORT & PACKAGING


Our standard RFP for U.S. ground transportation services asks prospective providers to share information about their sustainability practices, among other quantitative and qualitative criteria used to evaluate vendors during the selection processes.

For example, we require all of our U.S. transportation providers to be members of SmartWay or to maintain a comparable environmental certification. We ask about the age of their fleet, to what degree they have adopted alternative fuels such as LNG and biodiesel, and for quantitative measures of their environmental impact such as fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. In 2012, we inserted new language in our RFP seeking disclosures about providers’ efforts to avoid high-impact fuels, such as those from Canada’s Tar Sands.

By including these topics in our standard RFP, we hope to raise mutual awareness of environmental hazards and sustainable best-practices, and to promote constructive discussions with our providers about making continuous improvement on these important issues.

We have also increased the efficiency of product shipments through optimizing how containers are loaded and packed. Higher container utilization rates lead to decreased number of containers used, thereby decreasing carbon emissions and our overall carbon impact. In 2013, we reduced fiber usage by approximately 400 tons and eliminated approximately 750 containers through reduced carton volume and improved container utilization.

Lastly, we actively look at ways to reduce packaging used in business processes and have redesigned our transport cartons to use approximately 30% less materials.

FACILITIES & RETAIL STORES


Renewable Energy

In 2009, we installed a 100 KW grid-tied solar electric system consisting of 570 photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof of our Headquarters building. This system will reduce our carbon impact by 2,002 tons over the next 25 yrs. Read what the Portland Business Journal thought about our solar panels: Portland Business Journal article.

Energy Efficiency at Facilities

Energy Management Systems - Our Rivergate Distribution Center implemented an Energy Management System that reduced conveyor belt energy usage by 23%. The Energy Management System consists of two projects; 1) installing programming logic code to enable 'sleep mode' for conveyor belts, and 2) installing Variable Frequency Drives (VFD).

Computerized Lighting Control Management - Our Computerized Lighting Control Management System at Headquarters shuts off lights when not in use, including after hours, weekends and holidays.

HVAC Environmental Controls Computer - Our Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system at Headquarters is controlled by an environmental controls computer. This system efficiently controls hours of operation and calculates when to turn on the AC or heating versus opening the economizers to cool the building with outside air.

LEED Certified Retail Stores

Our Portland Flagship and Seattle branded stores have earned LEED for Retail Commercial Interiors Certification. In addition, our Outlet stores have been retrofitted with energy-efficient lighting. Read more.

Green Office Practices

To support sustainable office practices, we encourage best practices throughout the company in the following areas: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Purchasing Recycled, Chemical Reduction and Energy Conservation

In 2010, we implemented a “print release” system at Headquarters that decreases traditional print waste. Printers also default to double-sided printing. Read more

In 2012, we implemented “Trash the Can” at our Headquarters building where we moved away from the use of individual trash cans in favor of communal waste and recycling stations. This not only cut down on the use of individual trash can liners used, but also promoted, and continues to promote, awareness around waste and recycling amongst employees.

COLLABORATION


We recognize that we are a single player in a large, complex supply chain and believe the best way to make significant progress as an industry is to work together to come up with solutions that are applicable for all supply chain stakeholders.

Hence, we are members of the following Industry Associations and actively participate on working groups and collaborative initiatives within these Associations.

Outdoor Industry Association Sustainable Working Group

The OIA SWG is a volunteer collaboration among more than 450 outdoor industry companies working to identify sustainable business practices throughout their shared global supply chains.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is an industry-wide group of over 100 leading apparel and footwear brands, retailers, suppliers, nonprofits, and NGOs working to reduce the environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear products.

American Apparel & Footwear Industry

AAFA is a source of intelligence and catalyst for change in addressing the external forces that are important to the U.S. apparel and footwear industry. Columbia is active on AAFA’s Social Responsibility Committee, Environmental Committee and Product Safety Council.