Although children and youth everywhere do not want to hear it – it’s almost time to go back to school. For those who need school uniforms, their parents might want to check out R.J. McCarthy Uniforms, a Canadian company dedicated to social responsibility.
Company History: In 1956, McCarthy began their operations in Toronto with a goal to ‘establish a service-oriented business based on the timeless values of quality, integrity and fairness.’ There are now 14 show rooms in Ontario and one in British Columbia, making them Canada’s largest school uniform supplier. The company knows how to keep up with the times as their product selection clearly shows. McCarthy adapts their products to reflect current fashion trends and offers funky accessories from well-known brand names as part of their inventory.
The Social Responsibility Commitment: In 2009, McCarthy Uniforms decided they wanted to become one of Canada’s leading companies in sustainable practices. As their website says, ‘Social responsibility is now, more than ever, the “north star” that will guide our company’s direction going forward.’ And even more ambitious, is their mission: ‘creating the world’s highest quality school uniforms in a socially responsible way.’
The R.J. McCarthy Social Responsibility Framework includes:
- Responsible Sourcing and Manufacturing
- McCarthy’s wants to do business only with others who share their commitment to safe and fair work environments. An education and monitoring process has been established to meet their standards. They are exploring possibilities to create sustainable products made from recyclable or biodegradable materials.
- Greening Operations
- New innovations in the company include increased use of recycled products in marketing materials, a decrease in paper use, an increase in recycling and the use of environmentally friendly cleaning products, installing energy efficient lighting devices, eliminating plastic bag packaging, and the introduction of a new fleet of hybrid sales vehicles.
- Late in 2009, McCarthy entered a multi-year project to monitor and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions with a methodology by Carbonzero which takes exact measurements rather than general estimates based on manufacturing floor area.
- Inspiring People
- An ongoing workshop series called ‘lunch and learn’ has been set up to engage staff in the mission. This program seeks results, ‘By empowering each and every one of our employees with the knowledge and tools necessary to act in an environmentally conscious way not just at work but in their daily lives as well.’
- Supporting Communities
- McCarthy’s makes very generous donations of money, uniforms and school supplies as part of their community involvement. Two examples from 2010 include $30,000 worth of clothing to Heart to Heart Haiti and 26 skids of clothing to a hospital and school in Zambia, Africa.
Listening to the Customer: Another initiative to be implemented in the near future will create a student panel for dialogue on social responsibility issues. As McCarthy sees it: ‘Students are quite often the loudest and the most vocal agents of change and we recognize the importance of listening to what they have to say.’
So even if your offspring are not enthused about returning to school, if your household is socially conscious and you need uniforms, McCarthy’s sounds like a great choice.