San Mar: A Case Study

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is no longer optional for companies both large and small. Giving back to our communities, our environment and our worldwide workforce is critical to success. SanMar, a 45-year old family business based in Issaquah, WA, has taken CSR to a higher level of engagement across its international operations.

SanMar has done this by utilizing its core family values. These include, but are certainly not limited to, passionately serving the customer, delivering high quality goods and service, fostering respect and kindness and leaving a positive legacy for future generations. SanMar recognizes that the future of social, environmental and economic sustainability is about seeking excellence in approaching manufacturing, processing and engagement of employees across the entirety of the supply chain. In that spirit, SanMar sought guidance on evaluating its sustainability strategy by enlisting the help of Canopy consultant, Joanne Sonenshine.

Joanne has spent the last fifteen years working on sustainability policy, economic development projects and responsible sourcing programs. She brought a unique perspective to SanMar, encouraging the company to consider the role of partnerships as a way to leverage existing and future engagements around a cohesive CSR strategy.
Joanne evaluated the opportunities for growth while supporting SanMar in the scaling of already successful efforts. Together, SanMar and Joanne identified what changes would propel the company’s responsible sourcing and broaden its CSR to set a higher industry standard.

The scope of work that evolved from Joanne’s partnership with SanMar’s leadership team took into consideration the customers’ requirements, the suppliers’ needs and the continuously evolving space of sustainable apparel. Together, their continued efforts and commitment have positively impacted supplier progress, as well as raised the bar across the company’s supply chain. The effects will continue to ripple throughout the industry, leaving a wake of progress that raises the bar for all companies to reach and exceed.

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