Factory Spotlight: El Salvador

SanMar sources some of our products from a factory in San Juan Opico, El Salvador that is committed to making a difference in its community in a number of ways. From focusing on sustainability to working with an organization that provides education opportunities for at-risk youth, this factory strives to be a good neighbor.

Environmental Stewardship
This factory in El Salvador launched an environmental sustainability program in 2005 that has reduced the amount of solid waste going to landfill by 90%. Over the past 13 years, the factory has diverted an estimated 80,000 tons of textile waste from landfill, converting the bulk of the waste into energy.

Instead of tossing textile waste into the trash, the factory shreds them, along with biomass like paper and cardboard. These shredded materials are then fed into the furnace, which generates 7.8 tons of steam per hour. This leaves just 3% of the original waste, in the form of ashes. The cooled gas is treated to remove air pollutants, which are added to ashes and disposed of in an authorized landfill.

El Salvador’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) recognized these efforts, honoring the factory with the National Environmental Award 2017.

Supporting the Next Generation 
Additionally, this factory sponsors a Central American program that aims to change the lives of thousands of at-risk youth. Supplementing traditional schools, ¡Supérate! provides educational opportunities for students between the ages of 13-18 from low-income households.

Beyond focusing on academics, ¡Supérate! offers support through counseling, nutrition and career planning, five days a week for three hours each day before or after school. The program has a strong focus on promoting community involvement and being a leader in the students’ communities.

The results are astounding with 97% of program graduates pursuing higher education and, ultimately, finding full-time employment earning 2-3 times the minimum wage.

“¡Supérate! has been one of the biggest experiences that I have had in my life,” said William Iván García Ramos, a third year student in the program. “The experience has completely changed my life in different ways, starting with the opportunity to learn English, acquire knowledge in computing and learn about the importance of living a life based on values.”

“If I could summarize what ¡Supérate! means to me, I would definitely say ‘a change of life’ in all the aspects,” said Fátima Guadalupe Santamaría Guerrero, another third year ¡Supérate! member. “At the beginning I was completely lost because I did not know what to do or what I wanted for my future. Now, everything has changed, I have found a direction which helps me to dream big by putting all my effort to achieve it.”

We’re proud of the efforts of this Salvadoran factory to go above and beyond in their neighborhood and inspired by their commitment to empower the next generation with a brighter future and greener planet.