What is Corporate Responsibility?

I mentioned last week in one of my social media posts that I’d been pondering “corporate responsibility”. 

It’s something we talk about with our brands a lot, but I was surprised to hear it brought up in discussions on good old Radio 2.  Zoe Ball was talking to Ruby Wax about her new book “And Now For The Good News – To The Future With Love” and the pair discussed the shift in thinking among consumers, the increase in kindness and a sense of global community. Zoe commented that people care more about where their clothes are made, who sewed on the zipper and were they paid a fair wage. Well, that made my day! We, as an independent retailer, like to champion the under dogs, the good guys. We push forward the companies that we believe are working hard to provide you with a great product that not only helps you but that won’t damage the planet in the process. So let me share with you a little bit about this relatively new phrase.

What is “Corporate Responsibility”? Quite simply it is the manufacturers being accountable for their impact on our world. That varies from Rab switching their postal packaging from a plastic mail sac to a biodegradable brown paper bag, to Teko developing a biodegradable sock (we’re currently testing it!). Companies have been working hard behind the scenes over many years to reduce the environmental impact of their products, their manufacturing processes and their business overall.  

I’d like to tell you a little bit about one company who we believe are market leaders in their environmental vision, they are Paramo.

Firstly, they looked at the beginning of the chain, where to make their goods. Paramo have worked with the Miquelina Foundation in Columbia since 1992. The foundation was originally set up in 1977 by a Columbian nun and Miquelina_Paramo_First-Buyer-Label-bLwXIi.pnggave opportunities to vulnerable women rescued from the street, training them so they had a skill to enable them to find work. Since Paramo have worked with Miquelina, they have grown and become a commercially viable manufacturer, now producing 80% of Paramo’s products. They have now gained the World Fair Trade Organisation’s Fair Trade Label and with profits from the foundation reinvested in the community they provide employment, training, housing and childcare. Staff are paid a fair wage, and quality of the garments produced is so high Paramo are confident enough to offer a lifetime guarantee on products. If you want to see the impact Miquelina has on the community watch the video here.

Secondly, they look at the lifespan of their products. Paramo run a repair service to keep your purchase in good use for longer, so if your jacket gets a tear or a zip gets bent it can be returned and repaired, coming back to you good as new. We have customers who have Paramo Jackets that have served them well for well over 15 years. If they do tire of their products Paramo offer a recycling service in partnership with selected retailers, of which we are one. We will take your old Paramo and return it for recycling, the garment is stripped back to it’s original components and recycled into new fabric reducing need for landfill as well as the demand for extraction of new raw materials. As a reward, customers are offered money off a new product.

Finally, Paramo’s sister company Nikwax have also pushed the environmental message for many years, creating PFC (Poly Fluorinated Compounds) free waterproofing that can be used at home. Nikwax is made in England and won’t pollute the environment when used in your wash. Another great step for this well-rounded company to make.

So who's responsibility is Corporate Responsibility? Essentially for as long as we the consumer want cheap, disposable goods then the companies will continue to make them in less that scrupulous conditions. It really is down to all of us to make conscious decisions about how we shop, and I was pleased to hear these important issues being brought up on national radio. Perhaps as well as corporate responsibility we need to consider a buyers’ responsibility? We have long believed in selling quality over quantity, and will happily sell one fleece to last you years rather than a new fleece each season.

To view our range from Paramo check out our website here, or pop in and chat to us!