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To say that Nautica cares about the environment would be just skimming the surface. Case in point: the company’s mantra, which is “We celebrate, love and respect the water, everywhere, every day.”

This story first appeared in the February 7, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The apparel brand adopted this mission statement in 2009, after years of philanthropic work lacking “an overarching platform,” according to Rosalind Drisko, director of marketing communications.

So Nautica teamed with Oceana, the largest international organization focused solely on ocean conservation. Based on similar objectives to save and protect the world’s oceans, Oceana was an obvious match for Nautica’s aquatic focus, resulting in a productive partnership that has continued for the past three years. The brand is currently the organization’s largest corporate sponsor, joining other donors including La Mer, Christie’s and Burgess.

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Besides financial support, Nautica also supports the organization’s efforts with elbow grease. On World Oceans Day, for example, Nautica sends 80 employees to help pick up trash along the Hudson River near its Manhattan headquarters. For those who cannot attend — the number of volunteers is capped each year due to limited resources — the company holds events in New York and Los Angeles to help bring awareness to the cause.

In January 2012, Nautica expanded its charitable efforts to another aquatic-themed organization, pairing with Charity: Water, a nonprofit group dedicated to bringing clean and safe drinking water to developing nations.

Within this new collaboration, Nautica introduced its “Give Change to Make Change” campaign, allowing customers at the brand’s outlet stores to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar, with the extra pennies donated to Charity: Water. Since the program was unveiled in March 2012, funds have reached more than double the initial goal.

“Our initial goal was $150,000,” said Drisko. “Then we got to a point where we moved it up to $250,000. It ended up coming in at about $375,000.”

Nautica currently supports two countries, Nepal and India, through Charity: Water, providing safe drinking water to needy communities through the installation of sanitary water taps and wells.

Despite its more recent dedication to water-themed charities, the company has not turned its back on other causes it has supported in years past. In 2008, the brand began the Nautica South Beach Triathlon, held every April to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

For the past 25 years, it has also been a part of the annual Nautica Malibu Triathlon, which benefits pediatric cancer research at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Celebrities who have participated in the races include Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, Jon Cryer and Tom Cruise.

“It started as a small event, and over time it’s grown to be massive,” Drisko said of the Malibu event. “This past year, we raised $1.2 million in that one day. [That’s] really amazing.”

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