SanMar (PPAI 110788, S16), promo’s leading supplier in this year’s PPAI 100, has released its 2022 “A Canvas for Good” sustainability report.

Committed to transparency, the Issaquah, Washington-based firm shared the progress it has made in its corporate responsibility initiatives, such as reducing its carbon footprint and being a leader in ethically sourced materials.

Here are the six things that stood out from SanMar’s 2022 sustainability report:

  1. Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

At the forefront of the promotional products industry’s sustainability revolution, SanMar began tracking and reporting energy use in 2016. Since then, the company has doubled down on building and maintaining sustainable operations to combat climate change.

For example, the company has vowed to reduce not only its Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions by 50% per pound of product by 2030, but also its Scope 3 GHG emissions from purchased goods and services by 50% by the same deadline. 

In October 2022, SanMar’s goal was approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

  • SBTi is a partnership between CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project), the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).


  • The coalition’s goal is to drive ambitious climate action in the private sector by enabling organizations to set science-based emissions reduction targets.

SanMar has been working toward its goal by improving container utilization, combining individual shipments to cut back on shipping miles and partnering with carriers who have green initiatives, among other eco-friendly efforts.

  1. Fighting “Brandfill”

To reduce waste and keep it out of landfills, SanMar not only provides recycling and compost options at its home office, but also facilitates packaging reduction efforts at its distribution centers. The IT department goes one step further, hosting recycling events for e-waste, which is any electronic equipment that’s been discarded (old computers, laptops, TVs, etc.).

In 2022, the company diverted 1,989 metric tons of waste from disposal and recycled 14,969 pounds of e-waste.

  1. Reaccredited by the Fair Labor Association

SanMar understands the importance of evaluating not only its own business, but also its supply chain and the communities where its products are used. As an industry leader, the company has taken it upon itself to make improvements where necessary, inspiring other promo firms to do the same.

This past March, SanMar was reaccredited by the Fair Labor Association (FLA), a collaborative effort of socially responsible companies, colleges and civil society organizations to improve working conditions in factories around the world.

  • In order to achieve such a distinction, SanMar must have corporate systems in place to identify and remediate unfair labor practices in its global supply chain.


  • Furthermore, SanMar’s suppliers are required to submit to random, independent monitoring by the FLA, fostering transparency and accountability at the factories that manufacture SanMar products.

In addition to the FLA monitoring, SanMar has its own “Global Operating Principles” which suppliers must abide by. Each year, these suppliers are required to train their workers to ensure they understand their rights under the principles.

  1. Supporting Employees Holistically

SanMar understands that employees’ expectations of employers have drastically changed since the COVID-19 pandemic. Standard benefits, such as health insurance and a 401(k) retirement plan, simply aren’t enough to be competitive in the marketplace. Workers want assistance with their physical, mental and financial situations.

Well, SanMar has certainly invested in its people, offering an employee assistance program, mental health app, caregiving and parenting webinars, and specialty support for hypertension, pre-diabetes and diabetes management. As part of its employee financial assistance program, the company awarded more than $5,360 to nine employees with COVID-related hardships.

In addition to providing paid maternity and paternity benefits, SanMar also gave 10 employees experiencing a hardship related to a medical emergency or needing to tend to a parent, spouse or child additional paid time off (PTO).  

  1. Giving Back To The Community

SanMar doesn’t just take care of its own employees. In fact, the company annually participates in several charitable events, matching employee contributions to donate nearly $31,000 to nonprofits in 2022.

As if that wasn’t enough, the supplier truly stepped up its stewardship. Last year, SanMar partnered with the W. Duke Kimbrell Family Foundation, an affiliate of yarn manufacturer Parkdale Mills, to invest in the Mhotivo School in Choloma, Honduras, where many of the families of its factory partners live and work. The investment supported the addition of 22 classrooms, a computer lab and additional administrative offices to help increase enrollment by 600 additional students.

  1. Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

SanMar has created a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy that enables employee well-being and business success. As far as a diverse workforce is concerned, employee representation across SanMar, as of 2022, is:

  • 55% female and 45% male


  • 38% Hispanic/Latino, 29% White, 16% Asian, 15% Black, .6% American Indian Alaska Native, .4% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander and 2% some combination of the above.

In terms of employee representation in executive positions, there’s plenty of room for improvement:

  • 58% male and 42% female


  • 88% White, 4% Asian, 4% Hispanic/Latino, and 4% some combination of the above

Of course, a company’s DEI campaign is never finished, and SanMar certainly isn’t resting on its laurels. A survey of employees was conducted in February 2022 to inform 2022-2023 key initiatives, which include DEI training, raising cultural awareness and improving the representation of people of color, persons with disabilities and inclusive sizing in the images and video SanMar uses for its printed product catalogs and online.