- Lauren Leland
Partner Spotlight: SanMar
We love to talk about how awesome our suppliers are, so we figured it’s time to show you what we mean. Here at better., we carefully vet and choose suppliers that align with our mission to put people and planet before profit while never compromising quality. This week, we want to highlight one of our favorite apparel suppliers, SanMar, who is working to do just that.
One of the reasons we admire SanMar is their holistic business model that is about more than just environmental sustainability. Beyond being a good steward of the planet, they also demonstrate a commitment to social justice through better wages and working conditions, charitable giving, and robust diversity equity and inclusion efforts.
Let’s walk through some of the highlights.
So much goes into a product. From the materials used to the processes involved, there are many hands on deck to get a product to a consumer. Devastatingly, what this has resulted in is horrifying amounts of worker exploitation in the garment industry. In fact, the industry is notorious for its inhumane wages and breaches of corporate responsibility guidelines and protocols. While international attention has been brought to the issue over the past years, exploitation persists.
In 2019, SanMar began a partnership with Better Buying to provide feedback on purchasing practices. This gives crucial information about how to improve purchasing practices and drive change across the industry. In 2021, SanMar became the first in the industry to publish their scorecard publicly! I’d call that a win for transparency.
SanMar is also collecting data on fair wages and compensation, including a grievance mechanism for workers in Bangladesh, notoriously one of the worst countries for garment worker exploitation, to voice their concerns and maintain a line of communication.
As important as it is to take care of those working outside the organization, it is also crucial to look at how a company is treating its employees. In 2020, SanMar launched their Diversity & Inclusion Council where they have implemented programs to raise awareness about identity in the workplace, held inclusivity training and a Town Hall, and developed a long-term plan for continuing DEI within the company.
In this same vein, SanMar has also continued training and development programs so that their employees can participate in learning opportunities from topics such as leadership to personal well-being.
Let’s talk about science
SanMar is now in the second year of adhering to science based targets (SBT) to tackle climate change through aggressive corporate climate action. They measure in detail their energy, water and emissions statistics, both at their headquarters and their distribution centers. SanMar also continues to prioritize recycling by reusing packaging as much as possible and choosing recycled content for paper-based packaging.
To learn more about where they are after a year of SBT, check out their latest update.
As we talked about last week, commitments to carbon neutrality are ramping up, and we are all about it. SanMar is committed to reducing their footprint through assessing product lifecycle impacts, and recently, the creation of a Sustainable Brands Book to make shopping sustainably easier for customers.
Perhaps the highlight of it all is SanMar’s C-free collection, an entire range of carbon-neutral styles developed through recycled content and purchased offsets through Carbonfund.org. With the emissions leftover after mitigation through recycled material, SanMar has contributed to the installation of wind turbines in India to replace energy through non-renewable sources.
Have any questions about our suppliers or our partnerships? We’d love to hear them! Let’s keep the conversation about sustainability and social impact going.