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The Latest Corporate Social Responsibility News - Patagonia Takes Next Step in Corporate Transparency and Accountability

Submitted by: CSRwire Weekly News Alert

Categories: Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Mar 25, 2008 – 11:59 PM EST

 

Borrows Elements from The Gap, Timberland, and Stonyfield

Mar. 25 /CSRwire/ - With its Footprint Chronicles, Patagonia is taking the next step in a broader trend toward greater transparency on corporate social and environmental impacts. A website that tracks and discloses “the good and the bad” in Patagonia’s supply chain, the Footprint Chronicles build on a history of bold actions by other companies seeking to be “candid and forthright” in their transparency.

Patagonia, like its predecessors, figures its customers and investors are savvy enough to know that problems exist in its manufacturing processes. So instead of glossing over them, Patagonia exposes the problems--in hopes of partnering with its customers to create solutions.

The 2003 Gap Social Responsibility report set an early high water mark in transparency by disclosing violations of its Vendor Code of Conduct. The next year, Nike took the next step of disclosing the names and locations of all its contract factories worldwide in its 2004 Corporate Responsibility report.

In 2006, Timberland's “Our Footprint” labeling program took a major leap forward by disclosing the environmental and community impacts of its products (as well as the factory where they were manufactured) right on the packaging, like nutrition labels on food. The next year, Timberland unveiled its Green Index labeling, which went further by disclosing climate impacts, chemicals uses, and resource consumption associated with its products.

Last year, Stonyfield Farm took corporate environmental engagement to the next level by funding Climate Counts, a nonprofit that rates carbon emissions reduction strategies of companies on a 100-point scale (Nike came in second place with a 73, Stonyfield sixth with a 63, and Gap 25th with a 39--Timberland wasn’t rated.)

Essentially, Footprint Chronicles borrows elements from all these initiatives, combining transparency (listing distance traveled as well as where its products are manufactured, CO2 emissions, waste generated, and energy consumed) with accountability (“The Bad” section admits its organic cotton supplier produces 95 percent conventional cotton.) In so doing, Patagonia is seeding the next generation in corporate transparency and accountability.

This article was written by CSRwire contributor Bill Baue.

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