Ralph Lauren Names 1st Chief Sustainability Officer, Backs Goals with Senior Leadership

(Pictured: Ralph Lauren Earth polo; Credit: Ralph Lauren)

In the latest sustainability news to come from the fashion industry, Ralph Lauren Corporation has announced that its new strategy, Design the Change, is backed by senior leadership and strong governance; the company’s “Nominating & Governance Committee” has been expanded to include oversight of environmental and social risks and opportunities, the fashion giant says.

Ralph Lauren’s sustainability goals include achieving 100% sustainably sourced key materials, including cotton, and training product development and design teams on sustainable and circular design annually, by 2025. To achieve these and other goals, the company has appointed its first chief sustainability officer, Halide Alagöz, who also serves as the company’s chief supply chain officer.

Newly announced goals by the company include:

  • setting science-based greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets for operations and supply chain by 2020;
  • setting a 100% renewable energy goal for owned and operated facilities by 2019;
  • achieving at least a 20% reduction in total water use across operations and value chain by 2025;
  • achieving zero waste to landfill across distribution centers by 2023;
  • reaching 100% recyclable or sustainably sourced packaging material by 2025.

Last year, Ralph Lauren launched the Earth Polo shirt, crafted from fabric produced entirely from plastic bottles. The creation of the Earth Polo is part of the Company’s commitment to recycle 170 million bottles by 2025. Each Polo is made from approximately 12 plastic bottles and uses a waterless dyeing process.

New research suggests over half (52%) of consumers in the UK and US want the fashion industry to be more sustainable. Though clothing manufacturers like Ralph Lauren are already taking steps to become more sustainable,  45% of the 2,000 consumers polled agree that it is difficult to know which fashion brands are really committed to sustainability.

A Fashion Transparency Index published in April, however, indicated that more than half – 54% – of fashion companies are publishing goals on improving their environmental impact.

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