As the global population increases and the world’s cities expand, conserving natural resources, creating a fair, healthy future for all and mitigating the impacts of climate change have never been more important. Increasingly, business is playing a critical role in the global sustainability agenda. Business leaders across the world must unite in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”) and take action to adopt cleaner energy, in line with the Paris Agreement. This must take place amid global political shifts that could signal economic uncertainty and political backsliding, potentially posing a barrier to positive change.
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% of industrial water waste and 10% of global carbon emissions.1 As a global leader in our industry, with approximately 35,000 associates worldwide and approximately one million workers in our supply chain, 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.
At PVH, we are committed to helping lead our industry’s progress by harnessing innovation, collaborating with like-minded stakeholders and increasing transparency in our supply chain and across our industry. We want to empower our associates, suppliers and workers in our supply chain to succeed. In particular, we believe that sustainable innovation will be a key factor in delivering our strategic priorities. We continuously seek to understand how we can create higher quality products while using less energy and fewer natural resources. As an example, our Speedo business, in partnership with Aquafil, has already 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% regenerated Econyl® nylon. We are also exploring waterless dyeing and carbon-negative packaging and fibers across our business.
Working in partnership with our stakeholders sits at the heart of how we establish, act upon, and evaluate our progress. Inclusive partnerships are central to supporting positive social, economic and environmental change at the pace required to meet the SDGs by 2030. Our approach to stakeholder engagement reflects our commitment to SDG 17: revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development. Among the many social and environmental partnerships we engage in, we are especially proud of our contribution to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety (the “Accord”) in Bangladesh. We were a founding member of the Accord and, in 2016, PVH was named as its top remediator, in recognition of the progress we made in addressing safety violations in our Bangladeshi suppliers’ factories.
We took several important steps in 2016 to improve the quality and transparency of our reporting. We reported on our environmental commitments for the first time, and set a global greenhouse gas reduction target for our direct operations. We also completed our first CDP Climate and Water Questionnaires and obtained Fair Labor Association re-accreditation for the third time.
We continue to invest significantly in creating a responsible, best-in-class manufacturing operation at Hawassa Industrial Park (“HIP”) in Ethiopia, where we have supported a group of our 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. 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% of the park’s water. Additionally, we allocated $1 million of our five-year, $5 million Save the Children grant to support programs providing employment skills for disadvantaged young people.
Above all, we see our CR commitments – social and environmental – as interconnected. Addressing each of these issues in a coordinated manner, from building safety to chemical management, is the only way in which we truly will be able to succeed on our CR journey and achieve maximum impact. We are strengthening our human rights program, bringing new emphasis to our environmental efforts by assessing our suppliers’ environmental performance and expanding into deeper levels of our supply chain for greater transparency.
Looking forward, we will continue to empower our associates and suppliers to take further action to drive positive impacts, and collaborate across our industry to help create a cleaner, fairer fashion future.
Senior Vice President, Chief Risk Officer
Group Vice President, Corporate Responsibility
"Above all, we see our CR commitments – social and environmental – as interconnected. Addressing each of these issues, from building safety to chemical management, is the only way in which we will truly be able to succeed on our CR journey and achieve maximum impact."
Senior Vice President, Chief Risk Officer