At the heart of our Social Responsibility program is our Standards of Manufacturing Practices (SMP). Columbia's products are manufactured at independent factories around the world. We value, expect and promote ethical and fair treatment of people and are committed to assuring that the partners with whom we do business share these values. Each factory producing Columbia Sportswear products is monitored regularly against these Standards in addition to local labor laws and International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions. Our SMP outlines standards in the following areas:
- Forced Labor
- Child Labor
- Harassment or Abuse
- Freedom of Association
- Wages and Benefits
- Hours of Work
- Health and Safety
- Ethical Conduct
Monitoring and Remediation
Columbia employs a team of Specialists who conduct regular, unannounced audits of our suppliers against our SMP. All of our audits are conducted unannounced, which allows our Specialists to see the factory conditions as they are on a typical day.
Our Specialists are not the only internal staff trained on our SMP. We also train our internal supply chain management staff on our SMP, including how to identify and respond to supply chain risk issues. With all supply chain employees working together, we can have greater influence at our contract facilities to alleviate risks and affect change.
Industry and Supplier Collaboration
We collaborate with other brands and retailers who share our Corporate Responsibility approach and whose products are produced in the same factories as ours. Many contract factories regularly manufacture goods for multiple brands simultaneously, each of which seeks to enforce its own code of conduct through periodic inspections and audits. By sharing and comparing our audit findings with those of other brands, we reduce redundant auditing, allowing us to focus our resources, and those of the manufacturers, on making sustainable improvements in the factories.
To increase transparency and continued collaboration, we have disclosed our list of factories that are directly contracted by Columbia Sportswear and its subsidiaries. We believe that this level of transparency will help foster collaboration, lead to improvements in supplier performance under codes of conduct, and help affect positive change in our industry.
Training and Capacity Building
Monitoring alone is not enough. We also support supplier efforts to promote sustainable solutions. Our training and capacity building program encourages suppliers to further develop skills to effectively remediate and enhance overall performance. Our program does this by partnering with training providers to offer consulting and workshops that provide suppliers with tools and techniques to enhance management systems in the areas of:
- Human Resources Management
- Production Efficiency
- Environmental Management
In addition to working with consultants and training providers, we leverage industry partnerships to support and capitalize on resources developed by non-governmental and non-profit organizations. We are currently participating in Better Work programs in Cambodia and Vietnam.
Better work is a unique partnership program between the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The program aims to improve both compliance with labor standards and competitiveness in global supply chains. Better Work involves the development of both global tools and country-level projects, with a focus on scalable and sustainable solutions that build cooperation between governments, employers' and workers' organizations and international buyers. Read More
Stakeholder Engagement and Partnerships
Social responsibility is not a statement, it's a conversation. It's about engaging other in the industry for continous improvement.
We engage the communities in which our manufacturing partners operate. HERproject is an example of one of our long-term projects that focuses on worker wellbeing. HERproject works to change women's lives through workplace programs that provide access to women's health education.
We also participate in industry-wide initiatives and organizations to explore how we can address complex questions around corporate responsibility as an industry.
Fair Labor Association
Columbia is a proud affiliate of the Fair Labor Association (FLA) as a Collegiate Licensee, Category B. The FLA is an independent nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of factory workers and providing independent monitoring of factory conditions. FLA is governed by a multi-stakeholder board with equal representation of companies, universities, and civil society organizations. The organization provides a forum where companies can exchange ideas with universities and nonprofits that share a commitment to ethical sourcing. For more information about the FLA.
Columbia’s collegiate apparel and equipment is subjected to FLA’s rigorous Independent External Monitoring (IEM) process and public reporting. Our program is also informed by FLA guidance on challenging issues such as effective grievance systems and migrant labor.
Outdoor Industry Association
Columbia leads the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA)'s Social Responsibility Working Group. This group works to create tools that support the effort of industry partners working conditions.
American Apparel & Footwear Industry
Columbia leads the American Apparel & Footwear Association Social Responsibility Committee, though which we learn and share information and best practices with industry peers.
UN International Labor Organization (ILO) Better Work Program
Columbia participates in the Better Work program, which is a unique partnership between the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). It unites the expertise of the ILO in labor standards with that of the IFC in private sector development.
For more information.
Business for Social Responsibility's HERproject
Columbia participates in HERproject with factories in India, China and Vietnam. HERproject works to change women’s lives through workplace programs that provide access to women’s health education. Partners include eight multinational companies, 30 factories, eight local organizations, and multiple clinics, hospitals, and public-sector population and health departments. Each play a role in making HERproject a success.
Our Position Statements
We value ethical manufacturing practices at every step in the supply chain and work with industry groups, civil society organizations and government organizations to keep educated on ethical standards and practices across the supply chain. Read more about Columbia's specific positions on: