Social Responsibility

At Mountain Hardwear we value ethical, sustainable manufacturing practices and are committed to assuring that the partners with whom we do business share these values. We believe that a rigorous approach to social responsibility is an important step towards maximizing social value in the supply chain. We measure and manage our social impact through our Standards of Manufacturing Practices program (SMP) that is focused on three key pillars: Monitoring, Training and Engagement.


At the heart of our Social Responsibility program is our Standards of Manufacturing Practices program (SMP). The SMP outlines standards that support our values of ethical, fair treatment of people and sustainable manufacturing practices in the following areas:

  • Forced Labor
  • Child Labor
  • Harassment or Abuse
  • Nondiscrimination
  • Freedom of Association
  • Wages and Benefits
  • Hours of Work
  • Health & Safety
  • Environment
  • Ethical Conduct


Independent factories producing Mountain Hardwear products are monitored regularly with respect to our SMP standards in addition to local labor laws and International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions. we maintain a team of employees who are CR Specialists located within the countries where our products are manufactured. These employees conduct regular, unannounced audits of our suppliers to ensure compliance with our SMP. Conducting unannounced audits allows our staff to see factory conditions as they are on a typical day.

Our CR Specialists work hand-in-hand with our internal supply chain teams to provide input regarding the selection of new suppliers as well as on-going business decisions with existing partners. This enables us to make business decisions that consistently reflect our values.

We also provide training and capacity building programs designed to encourage suppliers to further develop skills to effectively remediate and enhance overall performance and compliance. We do this by partnering with service providers to offer consulting and workshops that teach suppliers techniques to enhance management systems in areas like:

  • Human Resources Management
  • Communications
  • Production Efficiency

In addition to working with service providers, we leverage industry partnerships to support and capitalize on resources developed by non-governmental and non-profit organizations. Better Work and HERproject are examples of such programs.

UN International Labor Organization (ILO) Better Work Program

Better Work is a unique partnership program between the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The program aims to improve both compliance with labor standards and competitiveness in global supply chains. Better Work involves the development of both global tools and country-level projects, with a focus on scalable and sustainable solutions that build cooperation between governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations and international buyers.

Business for Social Responsibility’s HERproject

Mountain Hardwear has participated in HERproject with factories in China and Vietnam. HERproject works to change women’s lives through workplace programs that provide access to women’s health education. Partners include eight multinational companies, 30 factories, eight local organizations, and multiple clinics, hospitals, and public-sector population and health departments. Each play a role in making HERproject a success.


We place high value on transparency in business practices at Mountain Hardwear. Through our parent company, Columbia Sportswear, we regularly publish a comprehensive list of manufacturing suppliers that manufacture Mountain Hardwear products. We also provide information on our practices with regards to specific topics, including:

Product Creation

We are committed to measuring, tracking and improving our environmental performance in designing, developing, manufacturing and delivering our products to market. We are using the Higg Index framework to do so.

The Higg Index is an industry-wide tool that enables companies to evaluate material types, products, facilities and processes based on a set of environmental indicators. The Index asks practice-based, qualitative questions to gauge environmental sustainability performance and drive behavior for improvement.

The Higg Index is managed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition which is an industry-wide group of over 100 leading apparel and footwear brands, retailers, suppliers, nonprofits, and NGOs working to reduce the environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear products around the world.

Through our parent company, Columbia Sportswear, we were founding members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and have been using the Higg Index to measure brand, product and facility related practices for the last two years. We have seen modest improvements in our overall practices since starting to use the Higg Index in 2012 and our goal is to continue to make progress in each of the areas outlined by the Higg Index.

Retail & Facilities

Our two flagship retail stores in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA are both LEED certified. LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. Some of the green building design practices present in our Portland and Seattle retail stores include:

  • 40% less water in day to day operations
  • 20% regionally manufactured building materials
  • 10% recycled content in building materials
  • 40% interior building reuse rate
  • 75% diversion rate of construction waste from landfill
  • Low emitting adhesives, sealants, paints and coatings, carpet systems, ceiling and wall systems, composite wood and agri-fiber products
  • Optimized appliance energy performance

We also follow green office practices outlined by our Green Office Guide at headquarters, sales and regional office locations. Our Headquarters building in Richmond, CA incorporates green building design and operational principles. Here are some fun facts about our Headquarters building:

  • Our headquarters is located in the historic Fort Point building, a renovated automobile factory.
  • Our kitchen floors are covered with natural tiles, and our rec rooms is covered with recycled tires.
  • We chose 100% natural, nontoxic, dye-free carpets for our showrooms and California Gold Standard carpet tiles for our workspaces.
  • Our office furnishings are PVC-free and manufactured in North America. They all meet strict environmental standards (ISO 14001 certified).
  • Solar Panels, located on our sawtooth roof, provide enough power to meet our annual net electrical needs.
  • Employees can check out kayak’s and paddles boards to use on our very own boat dock and on-site kayak launch.
  • Employees have easy access to local parks and trails. We are located right on the Bay Trail that runs along the Bay all the way to Berkeley and beyond.
  • We provide our employees with incentives to utilize alternate means of transportation. On-site showers allow employees to bicycle to work, while a shuttle bus runs between Ford Point and the local BART station.

We recognize that we are a single player in a large, complex supply chain and believe the best way to make significant progress as an industry is to work together to come up with solutions that are applicable for all supply chain stakeholders.

Hence, we are members of the following Industry Associations via our parent company, Columbia Sportswear, and actively participate on working groups and collaborative initiatives within these Associations.

Outdoor Industry Association Sustainable Working Group

The OIA SWG is a volunteer collaboration among more than 450 outdoor industry companies working to identify sustainable business practices throughout their shared global supply chains.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is an industry-wide group of over 100 leading apparel and footwear brands, retailers, suppliers, nonprofits, and NGOs working to reduce the environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear products.

UN International Labor Organization (ILO) Better Work Program

Better Work is an innovative partnership program between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Operational since 2009, the program aims to improve both compliance with labour standards and competitiveness in global supply chains.