Ralph Lauren products are designed with a sense of timelessness. We create iconic garments that our consumers treasure for a lifetime by matching longevity of style with quality of manufacture. We aspire to use responsibly sourced and sustainable materials that prolong product life while requiring less from our planet.
REDUCING IMPACT BY DESIGN
SUSTAINABLE PRODUCT DESIGN
We commit to designing more sustainable products and experiences by sourcing responsibly, manufacturing efficiently, and investing in innovation that advances these efforts.
Product sustainability begins with our designers. In FY19, we held our first internal sustainability fair to raise awareness across design and development teams on the use of responsible materials as well as preferred manufacturing processes that use less water and energy.
By 2020, all of our design, product development, and merchant teams will receive annual training for sustainable, circular, inclusive, and culturally aware design
We will monitor and reduce hazardous chemical use and discharge, ultimately eliminating all hazardous chemicals from the production of our products.
A key part of our approach to sustainable design is sourcing textiles made with responsible dyes, chemicals, and other processes. By 2020, we aim to achieve 100% transparency of the chemicals used during production and adopt a manufacturing-restricted substances list that will be implemented across our supply chain.
By 2025, we will eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals in our supply chain
In FY19, we continued to make progress in sustainable product design. Our initiatives included:
Continuing the use of AVITERA® dyes to create the signature colors for our iconic polo shirts. These dyes use approximately 42% less water and 80% less energy than conventional methods. Last year alone, we made 1.2 million polos using this process. We also created 21% of polos in FY19 using fabrics certified to STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®. This standard ensures that fabrics are created without the use of harmful substances.
Launching an internal report card to rank our denim products based on sustainable manufacturing parameters such as raw material use, dyeing and finishing, garment washing, and add-ons like zippers and hardware. The report card allows designers to easily pinpoint areas for improvement. To reduce the manufacturing impact of our denim, we continue to use liquid indigo and are transitioning to laser-friendly denim with eco finishes. These technologies yield energy and water savings while reducing the use of harmful chemicals and in turn chemical waste.
ENGAGING WITH OUR SUPPLIERS
We are implementing a Supplier Engagement Strategy that drives transparency and efficiency, while building partnerships that advance our work to deliver positive impact across our value chain.
We recognize that our suppliers are key to ensuring that our product quality and sustainability standards are upheld. We are finalizing a new Supplier Engagement Strategy to help us identify our strategic suppliers and engage with them in a more meaningful way. A key aspect of this strategy will be to increase production with these suppliers from 60 to 80% within two years. To further these relationships, we will roll out a supplier relationship management tool to all of our strategic and key suppliers, factories, and fabric mills by 2021.
By 2022, 80% of our business will be with strategic and key suppliers
We are focused on responsible sourcing to secure a long-term, sustainable supply for key raw materials.
Knowing where our materials come from and how they are made is key to creating our products sustainably. Our responsible sourcing program guides our commitment to sustainable materials and traceability, and focuses on our priority raw materials. In FY19, we began developing a sustainable fiber road map, including new polices, partnerships, and goals.
By 2025, 100% of our key materials will be sustainably sourced
Cotton is used in the majority of our products and makes up 78% of our material use. By 2025, we will only source sustainable cotton, such as organic, recycled, transitional, and U.S. grown. Our sustainable cotton portfolio will also include cotton certified by the Better Cotton Initiative, an organization we joined last year that is dedicated to addressing the environmental, social, and economic issues associated with growing cotton.
By 2025, 100% of the polyester we source will be recycled polyester
We believe that we, and the entire fashion industry, can become more sustainable by using recycled materials to make textiles. For Earth Day 2019, we released our Earth Polo, which is crafted from an innovative fabric produced entirely from plastic bottles. The recycled polyester made from these bottles uses 45% less energy and emits 30% less carbon dioxide compared to virgin polyester. Each Polo shirt is made from an average of 12 bottles—which may have otherwise ended up in oceans or landfills—and uses a completely waterless dyeing process. The Polo is part of our 2025 commitment to stop using virgin plastic across the Company and recycle 170 million bottles in the process.
Although we only use a small amount of leather, we recognize the significant impact it can have on the environment. The dyes and chemicals used to manufacture and finish leather can lead to water and air pollution if not managed correctly. We have committed to sourcing all of our leather from Leather Working Group (LWG) certified tanneries by 2025. We also aim to have all tanneries we source from achieve LWG’s highest certification level (gold) by 2030.
By 2025, 100% of animal-derived materials―as covered in our animal welfare policy―will be certified or traceable to safeguard animal welfare.
Although animal-derived products are only a small portion of our materials portfolio, we make the humane and ethical treatment of animals a top priority. As of FY19, all Ralph Lauren down is fully traceable and only sourced from suppliers that are certified by either the Responsible Down Standard or the Traceable Down Standard.
To achieve our sustainable sourcing goal for all animal-derived material by 2025:
- All wool sourced will either be recycled or certified by the Responsible Wool Standard
- All cashmere will be certified by the Sustainable Fibre Alliance
We are also working on novel alternatives to animal-derived materials that maintain our quality and do not cause more environmental harm. For more information, see our Animal Welfare Policy.
DESIGNING WITH RESPECT
As a design-driven company, we find inspiration in everything around us, from nature to experiences to people and, as Ralph Lauren has said, “from living.” For decades our aesthetics have drawn on sensibilities inspired by the heritage and cultural landscapes of America and beyond.
We understand and respect that there is a line between celebration and appropriation. We are committed to continuous learning about cultural awareness and sensitivity and train our design, product development, and merchant teams on this topic.