Thursday, April 30, 2009
A while back, a woman I met who works in corporate social responsibility at Patagonia told me that their customers were asking so many questions about working conditions in its supply chain that they had to educate their customer relations representatives about what they were doing to address these issues. If only more companies had that kind of problem! Patagonia has always been associated with environmental causes, but they are also quietly honest about the challenges they face on the labor side. Their multimedia presentations about the origin of products raise the bar for transparency. Sure, we could quibble about how honest they really are with themselves and with us, but it's a huge step in the right direction, one I wish more companies would take. Now, Patagonia has put together an excellent video in which their executives and outside observers discuss some of the challenges and complexity in ethical sourcing. It includes interviews with Michael Posner of Human Rights First, Auret van Heerden of the Fair Labor Association, Richard Applebaum of the University of California at Santa Barbara, and moi. Click on "Digging Deeper" here.