Ralph Lauren Corporation (RL) unveiled its renewed strategy on Global Citizenship & Sustainability as part of its fiscal year 2019 (FY19) report, published today. The strategy, Design the Change, is both a commitment and a journey to accelerate the Company’s work across citizenship and sustainability and includes a new set of goals that bring clarity and focus to how Ralph Lauren will deliver the change required to create a better future. As part of its commitment, the Company also announced it has signed onto the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), joining other companies across industries to implement universal sustainability principles and to take steps to support UN goals.
“When Ralph founded our Company more than 50 years ago, he did so with the conviction that whatever we create is meant to be worn, loved and passed on for generations,” says Patrice Louvet, CEO and President, Ralph Lauren Corporation. “This philosophy is deeply embedded in our culture, our brands and our Purpose–to inspire the dream of a better life through authenticity and timeless style. It also inspires Design the Change, a strategy that will accelerate our efforts to create a positive impact in society and a more sustainable future.”
Design the Change is led by senior leadership, with strong governance in place. The Ralph Lauren Corporation Board of Directors has expanded the responsibilities of the Company’s Nominating & Governance Committee to include oversight of environmental and social risks and opportunities; the Company formed a Senior Steering Team made up of members of the Global Leadership Team; and the Company recently appointed its first Chief Sustainability Officer, Halide Alagöz, who also serves as the Company’s Chief Supply Chain Officer.
Design the Change is focused on three areas where Ralph Lauren can create the greatest positive impact: Creating Timeless Style, Protecting the Environment, and Championing Better Lives. Its foundation is 16 ambitious goals that will guide the Company’s work across each of these areas.
Select goals include:
Achieve 100% sustainably-sourced key materials – including cotton – by 2025
Train design, product development and merchant teams on sustainable, circular, inclusive and culturally-aware design annually by 2020
Set science-based greenhouse gas reduction targets by 2020 and 100% renewable energy targets by the end of 2019
Achieve gender parity with equal representation in leadership positions at the Vice President level and above by 2023
Increase female representation in factory management by 25% by 2025
The report also highlights significant Company achievements from the past year. Of note, Ralph Lauren:
Unveiled the Earth Polo, a reimagination of the iconic Polo shirt crafted from an innovative 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 – which may have otherwise ended up in oceans or landfills – and uses a completely waterless dyeing process.
Donated more than 14,000 hours of time and talent to non-profit organizations through Ralph Lauren Gives Back. In FY19, the Company hosted three Ralph Lauren Gives Back weeks, during which Company teams volunteered with 80 organizations. Employees also took part in 64 fundraising walks for life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and AIDS.
Achieved a global workforce gender balance of 64% female, with women holding 53% of positions at and above the Senior Director level.
Launched the “Lead Like a Woman” campaign, a platform which aims to close the leadership gap between women and men, and includes media, products and events celebrating female leaders and providing support for the NGO Women in Film.
The 2019 Global Citizenship & Sustainability Report and the 2019 Standards Supplement are available for download on the Company’s website.
ABOUT RALPH LAUREN
Ralph Lauren Corporation (RL) is a global leader in the design, marketing and distribution of premium lifestyle products in five categories: apparel, accessories, home, fragrances and hospitality. For more than 50 years, Ralph Lauren's reputation and distinctive image have been consistently developed across an expanding number of products, brands and international markets. The Company's brand names, which include Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren Collection, Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Polo Ralph Lauren, Double RL, Lauren Ralph Lauren, Polo Ralph Lauren Children, Chaps and Club Monaco, among others, constitute one of the world's most widely recognized families of consumer brands.
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.
Sustainable fashion is a movement and process of fostering change to fashion products and the fashion system towards greater ecological integrity and social justice. Sustainable fashion concerns more than addressing fashion textiles or products. It comprises addressing the whole system of fashion.