A Note From Our CEO
Environmental and social impact issues have captured the world’s attention like never before — influencing purchasing behavior and driving sustainability-focused consumer activism.
Led by younger generations, investors and NGOs, and in many cases supported by brand owners, movements calling for social justice reform, climate action, and more have gained global momentum. The conversation around the responsibility of business to support sustainable development has shifted from a nice-to-have to a need-to-do.
Fulfilling this expectation requires many organizations to adopt an entirely new approach to business but, for PVH, it further validates the critical role corporate responsibility (“CR”) has always played within our broader business strategy. We strive to do the right thing for our people, our stockholders, our communities and our planet — and prioritize long-term benefits over short-term goals. In May of 2019, we launched our new CR strategy — Forward Fashion — setting a new level of ambition and transparency to drive transformational change across both PVH and our industry. It is important to acknowledge that we are living in a very different world than we were just a few months ago. As I write this letter, we are still navigating our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, which has severely affected every aspect of the apparel industry, from the closure of retail stores globally, to impacts on associates, consumers and supply chain workers, their families and their communities.
Our values as an organization and our longstanding commitment to CR continue to drive our approach to decisions we make as a business — and this is especially important in times of crisis. Nothing is more important to us than our people, and our priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of our associates. To date, we have supplied over ten million face masks to associates worldwide and we have expanded the offerings on our education platform, PVH University, which includes courses ranging from remote working skills to mental health and wellness. Our global employee assistance programs are available 24/7 to provide advice and guidance and, for colleagues in the U.S. in need, our Associate Relief Fund is providing financial support to those severely impacted as a result of the pandemic.
We collaborated with our industry peers, NGOs, governments and worker and employer representatives to create and endorse the International Labour Organization’s call to action to protect garment workers during the pandemic. Thanks to the innovative thinking and agility of our associates, we were able to source and supply over six million units of personal protective equipment (“PPE”) for healthcare workers on the front lines. And, through The PVH Foundation, we have donated over $2 million to COVID-19 relief efforts, including to our long-term partner Better Work, to support activities benefitting suppliers and workers through the crisis. We continue to explore meaningful ways to address the needs of the communities where we work and live, collaborating alongside our partners to address ongoing human and business impacts.
Against the backdrop of the pandemic, we are also witnessing a global movement against systemic racism and social inequality in the U.S. and around the world. At PVH, we condemn racial discrimination and stand against the social injustice that has plagued the U.S. and other countries for so long. We believe that Black lives matter. This should not be a controversial or divisive statement — it is a universal truth. Within this report we have been transparent about representation and diversity across our company. We have a lot more to do — and we are fully committed to doing the work. Over the next few months we will be publishing a set of targets focused on racial equality, representation and advancement, and we commit to disclosing the actions being taken across our organization to meet these targets.
Our current reality and evolving business challenges require us to be agile but we remain committed to delivering on our long-term Forward Fashion strategy and targets, and to reporting on our progress. We cannot lose the momentum gained in 2019.
While the apparel industry will be uniquely transformed post-pandemic, we have a responsibility to help shape this “new normal” for the benefit of all stakeholders. We are steadfast in our commitments to prioritize climate action, to build tighter, more resilient supply chains, to fight for social justice, and to deliver more sustainable products to our consumers. This cannot be achieved by one company alone. I’ve been encouraged by the shift in our industry toward collaboration for common solutions. 2019 saw a number of significant initiatives and partnerships that I believe will be powerful forces for achieving change at scale.
We signed the Fashion Pact, a coalition of more than 60 global fashion and textile companies pledging to reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry. Forming a cohesive front at this scale shows how serious the fashion industry is about taking tangible action to protect our planet.
I joined with more than 75 U.S. CEOs and labor leaders in signing a collective statement supporting the Paris Agreement to combat climate change, reaffirming our promise to continue to play our part in the fight for climate action.
I was appointed to the United Nations Global Compact Board, affording me with an opportunity to work with like-minded business leaders at the helm of a group whose mission aligns with my own leadership philosophy — that business leaders have an obligation to take a stand on the pressing issues that we face as a global society.
We signed the “Open to All” pledge, joining a nationwide campaign in the U.S. to build awareness and understanding about the importance of protecting people from discrimination — and to defend the principle that when businesses open their doors to the public, they should be Open to All.
We commenced a partnership with Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business to establish an academic hub for the study of CR and Sustainability. The program is intended to advance the relationship between industry and academia and, most importantly, to invest in the education of talented students and support their development into conscientious business leaders of tomorrow.
Particularly with the significant challenges we have all faced so far in 2020, I could not be prouder of our PVH associates around the world. I want to thank every one of them for their hard work, dedication and integrity. It is through the hardest times that we see the true strength of our collective character, and my confidence in PVH and its ability to drive fashion forward — for good — is unwavering.
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Excerpted from the 2019 CR Report