League Collegiate Wear Goes to Central America

League Collegiate Wear Goes to Central America: A CSR Approach Towards Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in El Salvador

Peggy Takahashi, Dan Blakeley, Kimberly Rae Connor,, Meredith O’Hare
November 11, 2019
Latin & South America, North America
Ethics & Social Justice, Strategy & General Management
24 pages
corporate social resonsibility, CSR, ethics, conscious capitalism, stakeholder, leadership
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The two founders of League Collegiate Outfitters [League], based in Bridgeport PA, were all-in on their attempt to launch a financially and socially responsible enterprise in El Salvador. With the founding of League Central America [LCA], a wholly-owned manufacturing facility, they intended to provide employment along personal and professional development opportunities to marginalized segments of the population. The Company’s strategy included a systematic effort to hire former gang members and other marginalized workers. Their products were marketed exclusively through University bookstores in the United States.

LCA management was interested in assessing current operations and the extent to which they have successfully addressed the overall needs and goals of the Company. Dependent on the outcome of this evaluation was the strategic question as to whether there existed an operational template, based on the El Salvador experience, that could be duplicated by LCA in other regions of Central America or elsewhere. Despite the pressing need to expand production output, management did not want to lose sight of their founding principles.

Due to the pressing need to expand capacity, LCA recently (mid-2015) expanded operations by constructing a second level on the existing factory in Ciudad Arces. This stop-gap measure is not expected to satisfy the longer-term need to expand capacity. Management is now assessing operations and considering a second facility, either in El Salvador or other countries in Central America. Asia is not being considered due to the separation between design and production operations, as well as increased shipping delays and inventory/working capital requirements.