PVH Takes Corporate Responsibility Deeper Into Supply Chain

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PVH Corp. is taking its corporate responsibility program deeper into its supply chain, including fabric mills and dye houses.

In its 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report, PVH said it’s making moves and setting goals to expand the reach of its commitment and tenets. For one, the company has a global greenhouse gas reduction target to reduce emissions by 35 percent by 2030 for direct operations.

The apparel powerhouse, with more than 35,000 associates operating in over 40 countries with more than $8 billion in annual revenue, said it achieved accomplishments across each of the three strategic pillars of the program: driving positive impacts for people, the environment and the communities in which it operates.

PVH said these efforts illustrate the company’s mission to help lead the apparel industry’s progress by harnessing innovation, collaborating with like-minded stakeholders, and increasing transparency in its supply chain and across the industry.

The company recognizes its responsibility as one of the world’s largest apparel companies to address the social and environmental impacts of the industry and to contribute toward a fair and healthy future. PVH is addressing these global challenges collaboratively, including through membership in three United Nation-led initiatives—the UN Global Compact, the CEO Water Mandate and the Women’s Empowerment Principles. PVH has demonstrated its support for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by working to align its CR commitments with the goals, covering issues such as clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, and inclusion and diversity.

“Business leaders across the world must unite in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and take action to adopt cleaner energy, in line with the Paris Agreement,” Melanie Steiner, PVH senior vice president and chief risk officer, said in the report. “This must take place amid global political shifts that could signal economic uncertainty and political backsliding, potentially posing a barrier to positive change.”

Steiner added, “Our $2.5 trillion industry has an important role to play. We still see worker unrest, poor safety and labor conditions, and political instability in sourcing countries. Separately, the apparel industry contributes 20 percent of industrial water waste and 10 percent of global carbon emissions…We have a real opportunity to work toward a cleaner, fairer world. It is not only the right thing to do; it is essential to our future business success and critical to meeting our stakeholders’ expectations.”

As Steiner explained, PVH works to understand how it can create higher quality products while using less energy and fewer natural resources. As an example, she cited the Speedo business, which in partnership with Aquafil, has created the swimwear industry’s first fabric take-back program, closing the loop on production by using fabric scraps to create new swimsuits made from 100 percent regenerated Econyl nylon. The company is also exploring waterless dyeing and carbon-negative packaging and fibers across its businesses.

The company is also directing $1 million to support programs in Sub-Saharan Africa, as part of its $5 million commitment to Save the Children. In that region, Steiner noted that PVH has invested significantly in creating a responsible, best-in-class manufacturing operation at Hawassa Industrial Park in Ethiopia, where it has supported a group of its top suppliers in establishing factories and a fabric mill, and formed a joint venture in a woven shirt factory.

“We have sought to create positive impacts for workers, the environment and the wider Hawassa community from the outset, drawing on the lessons we have learned in other sourcing countries,” she said. “For example, we helped to create a Code of Conduct for park tenants and commissioned rigorous independent building safety assessments. We also helped ensure that HIP housed a zero liquid discharge effluent facility to recycle approximately 90 percent of the park’s water.”

[Read more about companies’ eco efforts: Tesco Publicly Pledges to Detox its Garment Supply Chain]

In 2017, PVH will launch the Higg Index Facility Environmental Module with its top level strategic cut-and-sew and mills and trim suppliers. Suppliers can complete one Higg Index FEM self-assessment per year that can be reviewed by multiple brand owners, helping to reduce the auditing burden on suppliers and allowing PVH to focus more on partnering with suppliers to help them improve their environmental sustainability performance.

“We continue to believe that corporate responsibility helps strengthen our organization by managing risk, maximizing efficiencies and driving value in a rapidly changing world, and through our CR efforts we can continue to create value for both society and our stockholders,” Emanuel Chirico, PVH chairman and chief executive officer, said.

PVH owns the Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, van Heusen, Izod, Arrow, Speedo, Warner’s and Olga brands, and market a variety of goods under these and other well-known company-owned and licensed brands.

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