From the company: “Columbia is first and foremost an outdoor product company. In many ways though, we are a technology company. Columbia’s commitment to innovation runs throughout our entire product offering, and helps set us apart from the competition.  … We’ve focused on serious solutions for a simple challenge: Enhancing your experience of the greater outdoors with the best products you can buy.

It seems to me that Colombia is fairly indicative of many of the larger and well established outdoor companies: it’s original focus on producing good equipment is also slowly being expanded to include social responsibility measures. It seems to be taking workplace issues seriously, and is moving towards reducing environmental impact. It supports conservation and community involvement initiatives.

CATEGORY: getting there (**)

Sustainability criteria

  • information on resources used – recycled materials, use of renewable materials, etc
  • energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions

“Columbia’s sustainability program works to reduce the impact on the environment from our facilities and operations, as well as inspiring others to do the same. The focus is on reducing upstream impacts, such as energy and materials usage, then responsibly managing downstream waste.

“We have multiple factories participating in the Hong Kong Productivity Council’s Cleaner Production Partnership Program. This program encourages Hong Kong-owned factories operating in the Pearl River Delta region of China to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions from their operations.

“We’ve installed solar panels at our headquarters in Portland, Oregon”.

  • distance traveled/ place(s) of production
  • waste generated
  • water consumption
  • working conditions

“At the heart of our CR programs are our Standards of Manufacturing Practices (SMP). Columbia manufactures products around the world and values ethical and fair treatment of people and practices. We 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”.

You can find a copy of their SMP here.
It covers workplace issues like hours, pay, forced and child labour, health and safety issues, and the right to organise.

Columbia is an affiliate of the Fair Labor Association (FLA), which 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.  Check here for more information about the FLA.

You can find extra details on their approach to corporate responsibility here.

  • other environmental claims or benefits

The company runs a program called Giving Back.

It’s focus areas are environmental conservation, outdoor education and community involvement.

  • details on who stocks the item/ where to find it/ where to get further information

Colombia equipment is widely available through their own stores and also a number of the retail outdoor groups.

west ridge, Mount Buller, VIC


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