Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts: How Sherpa Adventure Gear Makes It Look Effortless
In an age where “stay woke” is a part of today’s vernacular, it’s evident that people have lost faith in big corporations, the government, and the media. Unlike generations before them, Millennials are voting with their dollars. They are volunteering, petitioning, and connecting with like-minded people via social media for causes they believe in. According to the 2016 Millennial Impact Report released by Case Foundation and Achieve, 70% of Millennials believe that change won’t happen unless they take matters into their own hands. It’s no wonder then, that when a company embodies authenticity, sustainability, and social responsibility, it is a cause for celebration. The celebrant, in this case, is Sherpa Adventure Gear.
Tashi Sherpa founded Sherpa Adventure Gear in 2003, soon after discovering in a magazine article, of all places, that his uncle, Ang Gyalzen Sherpa, served on the famed 1953 expedition with Sir Edmund Hillary. It was on that harrowing expedition that the summit of Mount Everest was conquered for the very first time. Reading about the expedition, and knowing all too well of the hardships and poverty of the Sherpa people, prompted Tashi Sherpa to lead the charge in creating a “small brand that can change the world”. In the eyes of any corporation, this would be a timely move considering the values of today’s generations. But Tashi wasn’t looking to have his brand change the world for the bottom line. He was looking to support his country and the Sherpa people of Nepal first. Here are five ways in which Sherpa Adventure Gear makes corporate social responsibility efforts look effortless:
Bringing work back to the people
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. 25.2% of the population already live below poverty level, according to ADB’s Basic Statistics 2017. More than 2.2 million Nepalis have to travel abroad for work in order to support their families back home.
Sherpa Adventure Gear is doing its part by providing more than 1,500 jobs to people in Nepal — many of them women. Women of Sherpa families who’ve lost their loved ones to the Everest, as well as Sherpa men who can no longer handle the physical requirements needed to climb the Everest, are just some of those positively effected by Sherpa Adventure Gear’s efforts to provide employment. Even the Sherpa climbers are on the payroll to test Sherpa Adventure Gear product.
Relief for catastrophic events
And their efforts don’t stop there. Nepal experiences monsoons every year. 2017 has been particularly catastrophic, bringing floods to over 48,000 homes, destroying 80% of the crops in the country’s most fertile region of Terai and killing 70 people so far. This is another serious blow after the April 2015 earthquake, which killed 9,000 people, and “caused $7 billion in damages and losses, affecting 5.6 million workers” as reported in the 2017 Nepal Labour Market Update.
To help the victims of this tragic event, Sherpa Adventure Gear established a relief fund benefiting the Paldorje Sherpa Foundation. They raised 113% of their $150K goal. They were very transparent about the allocation of their funds. The funds went to warm blankets and clothing for the elderly, children, and pregnant women in several villages, financial assistance to educational institutions, to support the growth of tourism, housing, and medical care.
Treating employees fairly
Working conditions are abysmal for many who are employed both in and out of the country. For those working in Nepal, the labor laws are largely ignored and not enforced. And for those working abroad, many suffer depression, abuse, and even death with no investigation for the cause as described in Amnesty International’s 2017 Turning People Into Profits report.
As a member of the World Fair Trade Organization, Sherpa Adventure Gear provides fair wages, transparency, good working conditions, provides sustainable work and does not allow child labor. Women are even allowed to work from home, allowing them to take care of their children. This eliminates the need for factories, which brings us to the brand’s efforts in support of the environment.
Supporting the environment
According to the Nielsen’s 2015 Sustainability Imperative Report, 58% of their global respondents are willing to pay more to a company that is environmentally friendly. And that percentage is increasing. This says a lot about today’s values. In a country wrought with environmental problems and neglect, such as Nepal, Sherpa Adventure is a model of good behavior.
The brand’s garments are certified through Blue Sign. Their best-selling knit hats are made from the scrap pieces of yarn. Their bags are made from scrap pieces of fabric. Scraps are leftovers from the brand’s other hats and garments. All their printed scarves use vegetable ink, and natural fibers are used appropriately. The company has also hired a sustainability manager to help solidify the environmental efforts throughout their production facilities.
Educating the youth
According to The Borgen Project, Nepal’s school system is one of the youngest in the world. Prior to the 1950s there was no university and a small amount of the population received a formal education. An education is not available to everyone. Although the system is improving, there is still a long road ahead with many obstacles in the way, such as the April 2017 earthquake which destroyed many schools, the 2015 blockade — a undeclared border blockade enforced by India severely limiting supplies, cultural beliefs, poverty in general and the lack of importance placed on education.
Sherpa Adventure Gear is helping to push these improvements forward by donating a portion of everything they sell towards the Paldorje Education Fund. The fund has been able to provide elementary through college education for 26 children, and counting. Room & board, textbooks, tutors, computers and other educational tools are also provided.
Values Weaved Into the Fabric
These corporate social responsibility efforts are a part of the very fabric of Sherpa Adventure Gear, spun by the values of Tashi Sherpa. The brand exemplifies what it means to be authentically philanthropic, sustainable, environmentally friendly, and socially responsible. Click here to see our work with Sherpa Adventure Gear.