Ralph Lauren joins sustainability movement to prevent deforestation

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Dive Brief:

  • Apparel maker Ralph Lauren will be adopting sustainability policies to reduce sourcing its wood-based fabrics, such as viscose and rayon, from already threatened rainforests, Supply Management reported Tuesday.
  • The company’s new approach to sourcing fabrics was initiated with the help of Rainforest Action Network (RAN), which has developed an Out of Fashion awareness campaign aimed at apparel and luxury-good makers to persuade them to favor environmentally sound sourcing for their wood-based materials, the Environmental Leader reported last week.
  • Along with Lauren, dozens of other brands have undertaken similar initiatives, such as H&M, Zara, Stella McCartney, ASOS, and Levis Strauss & Co.

Dive Insight:

As companies continue to pivot toward to more ethical sustainable sourcing, there is dual reward in both the public perception as well as long-term recognizable benefits.  

More than half a dozen international companies, such as Unilever, GE, Ikea, Chipotle, and Whole Foods have found this to be true. The idea that profitability can go hand in hand with environmental responsibility, while not brand new, still makes for a turnaround, and a timely one in light of recent stories that have come to light,

And as Unilever discovered, within four years of implementation, approximately 50% of company growth was generated by its “Sustainable Living” program and rebranding, both of which expanded two times as quickly as all of the company’s other brands and products. Rather than perceiving sustainability as a burden or a demand made by eco-conscious consumers, companies can learn from Lauren and Unilever’s example, and beginning to factor in sustainability as move toward growth. 

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