Monday, December 5, 2022

Coach Is Building a Circular Economy, One ‘Reloved’ Bag at a Time

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Tapestry brand Coach is leading the company’s shift to a circular economy with its (Re)Loved resale bag program.

New York fashion label Coach has appeared on the Kearney Circular Fashion Index for the first time, ranking eighth out of 150 brands from 20 countries. The brand was highlighted for its transparent messaging on product longevity and care, including its repair services and its recently launched upcycled Coach (Re)Loved program.

“This is an exciting recognition of the great work that our teams are doing to create a more circular future for fashion,” Coach parent company Tapestry, said in a statement.

The Kearney Circular Fashion Index

The Kearney Circular Fashion Index scores companies on seven garment criteria including the primary market, described as new product sales, and the secondary market, including secondhand resale or recycling programs. Scores are tallied, with more weight given to efforts in the secondary markets. According to Kearney, the industry average score for this year was up to 2.97 out of ten compared to 1.6 last year.

On average, the score is low, but Kearney says awareness has increased significantly since 2020, with a heightened awareness about fashion’s role in creating a more sustainable environment. This is evident in the secondhand market boom where sales are expected to double by 2026, according to recent data from resale platform ThredUp.

Coach bags
Courtesy | Coach

Kearney says luxury and premium brands are seeing the highest scores due to increased after-care and repair services.

Coach (Re)Loved is the brand’s 2021 initiative to promote a circular economy. Coach Insider customers can take their old Coach bags to one of its participating stores for appraisal. Bags requiring minimal to no repairs are accepted in exchange for credit toward a purchase at U.S. Coach stores, including on other used bags.

(Re)Loved Bags

In January, it launched the Coach (Re)Loved Craftsperson Apprenticeship Program, a new one-year craftsmanship skills and training program designed as part of the house’s commitment to helping create “a better-made future through better-made things.” The apprentices learn how to transform pre-loved Coach bags into restored bags for resale.

“Under the supervision of master craftspeople and experts at the house’s one-of-a-kind Coach (Re)Loved and Repair Workshop in New Jersey, apprentices will learn foundational craftsmanship skills as well as develop a deep understanding of the lifecycle of Coach bags and the transformative impacts of circular models in fashion,” the company said in a statement.

Megan Thee Stallion for Coach
Megan Thee Stallion for Coach | Courtesy

The move falls in line with Kearney Circular Fashion Index criteria, aimed at keeping products in circulation longer and emphasizing aftercare—a move adopted by brands including Burberry and Manolo Blahnik, among others.

“Consumers have to be willing to support brands that credibly reduce their environmental impact and punish brands that don’t,” the Kearney Circular Fashion Index said in the announcement. “The same is also true for retailers and regulators.” It points to the United Nations-backed Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, which recently released updated science-based emission reduction targets as an example.

Corporate Responsibility at Tapestry

In its recently released ninth Corporate Responsibility Report Tapestry, parent company to Coach, along with Kate Spade New York, and Stuart Weitzman, outlined its progress across its three ESG pillars dubbed Our People, Our Planet, and Our Communities and its aim of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

“Tapestry’s approach to corporate responsibility is based on driving real, measurable change towards a more sustainable, equitable and inclusive world. I am incredibly proud of the great strides that we made in fiscal year 2021 that are detailed in Our Social Fabric Corporate Responsibility report,” Joanne Crevoiserat, Chief Executive Officer of Tapestry, Inc, said in a statement accompanying the report.

Coach secondhand
SS22 Coach | Courtesy

“Among them are the announcement of an ambitious expansion of our 2025 goals and signing the Science Based Targets initiative’s Business Ambition for 1.5°C, committing to set science-based targets to limit global warming to 1.5°C and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, remaining steadfast in our efforts to make a difference and create a better world.”

The company says it achieved more than 20 percent of its operational energy from renewable sources in North America—about nine percent of its global operations. It’s also working with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and working to improve its supply chain by reviewing verified supplier responses to the Higg Facility Environmental Module.

In fiscal year 2021, it conducted a comprehensive Materiality Assessment to help identify and prioritize its ESG strategy that will be most beneficial to the company’s business and stakeholders, which include biodiversity and circularity initiatives aimed at minimizing the company’s impact on the natural world.

Tapestry is also increased its employee focus, named to Forbes’ “Best Employers for Diversity” and “Best Employers for Women” 2021 lists, and “2021 Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. It donated more than $1 million to racial and social justice organizations and donated nearly $8 million to nonprofits.

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