Answering the Call to Action

It’s a pretty simple rule: When the White House calls, you answer.

So, when we received an invitation from the Office of Vice President Kamala Harris to join a new initiative promoting economic opportunities, our answer was an enthusiastic yes.

The Call to Action initiative is a multi-industry effort to invest in supporting greater opportunities and better livelihoods in Central America. This initiative is a part of the administration’s pro-active Strategy to Address the Root Causes of Migration, an endeavor launched in July 2021.

“In Central America, the root causes of migration run deep,” writes Vice President Harris in the purpose statement of the strategy document. “Our nation must consistently engage with the region to address the hardships that cause people to leave Central America and come to our border.” This strategy looks to do more than react to immigrants already at the United States border or provide temporary relief measures, instead it aims to facilitate improvements to the conditions that give rise to migration.

The interests and well-being of people in Central America are closely tied to those of the United States through geography, culture and trade. This is also a region important to SanMar – our investments there bolster our overall sourcing strategy and allow us to deliver on your expectations of inventory levels and product quality.

The Call to Action Team
SanMar General Counsel Melissa Nelson with the Call to Action Partnership in Washington, D.C.

“When we invest in Central America, we invest in a cycle that benefits everyone,” explains Melissa Nelson, SanMar’s General Counsel, “bringing much-needed employment and economic growth that elevates lives across the region.”

If that sounds familiar, it should. Our mission at SanMar is to make meaningful connections that elevate lives through the apparel we sell. Those lives include those who wear and use our apparel products as well as those who make them. The Call to Action initiative fits right in with these goals.

“We are thrilled to invest alongside like-minded partners and smart policymakers to grow our commitment to make a positive impact in the communities where we do business,” said SanMar CEO Jeremy Lott.

Like SanMar, some companies joining this initiative come from the apparel industry. Others focus on agriculture, automotive, finance and technology – all with a shared goal of using their resources to invest in inclusive economic growth in Central America. 

SanMar’s contribution takes shape in several ways. We have committed to increasing our purchasing of products made in the region by $500 million by 2025. This growth will lead to 4,000 new full-time jobs created at Elcatex, our partner in Honduras, to meet the increased demand. This effort will also allow us to decrease our environmental footprint through enhanced sustainability practices – a container shipped from Central America uses 80% less greenhouse gas emissions than one shipped from China, for example.

Altogether, the commitments from companies involved in the Call to Action represent more than $3.2 billion in new private-sector investments in Central America over the next several years.

We like to say that we’re not just selling blank t-shirts – we’re creating a canvas for good. This is a philosophy that doesn’t pay attention to borders, instead focusing on where we can make a real difference.

With this in mind, SanMar contributing to the Call to Action initiative is a perfect fit. And it’s why, when we got the call to join in, there was only one possible answer: let’s do this.