Friday, December 9, 2022

Ralph Lauren’s Citizenship and Sustainability Goals are ‘Timeless By Design’

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In its 2022 Global Citizenship & Sustainability Report, Ralph Lauren says it’s launching a new chapter in its sustainability journey, Timeless by Design.

This year marks Ralph Lauren’s 17th designing the uniforms for on-court officials including chair umpires, line umpires, ball boys and girls for the Wimbledon tennis tournament. The American luxury label continues to bring sustainable materials and practices into the uniforms, just as it did for the U.S. 2022 Winter Olympics uniforms, with recycled materials and lower-impact production methods.

Now, the fashion house is detailing its ongoing sustainability and equity commitments in the new 2022 Global Citizenship & Sustainability Report.

“I discovered the heritage of a timeless world, uncontrived, free-formed and free-spirited, natural and from the earth, and it touched me and became the living part of all I design,” Ralph Lauren said in the report.

ralph lauren hbcu
Ralph Lauren’s HBCU collection | Courtesy

“For more than half a century, we’ve stood for things that last—that never go out of style. This core belief in timelessness influences everything we create—from our iconic Polo shirt to our cashmere sweaters and hand-stitched ties. These products and more were created to be worn, loved and passed on through generations,” he said.

Patrice Louvet, President & Chief Executive Officer, Ralph Lauren Corporation, praised Lauren’s “embrace of timelessness,” which he says has “kept our designs and, ultimately, our business resilient and relevant for more than 50 years,” Louvet said in a statement. “Embedding this philosophy across our entire value chain is a natural and critical extension of Ralph’s vision as we work to address our impacts beyond the beautiful products and experiences we create.”

According to the brand, it has evolved its three-pillar Timeless by Design approach: Create with Intent, Protect the Environment, and Champion Better Lives. Now the label says it’s ensuring its philosophy of timelessness is “embedded from inspiration through to products’ every use and reuse across generations.”

Supporting social development

Social issues take center court for this next phase at Ralph Lauren. Specifically, that commitment now includes the new Design with Intent department that’s responsible for the brand’s culturally sustainable designs, product development, and its storytelling. It’s also launched an Artists in Residence program that builds on its efforts to engage with Native American and Indigenous communities.

The company says its donations total more than $2.5 million to school scholarship funds from the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation to institutions working to provide equitable access to higher education. For Black History Month, Ralph Lauren launched its first capsule collection with HBCUs Morehouse and Spelman with designs from alumni now working for the label.

ralph lauren sustainable-cotton
Courtesy Ralph Lauren

A comprehensive DEI strategy focused on six key pillars, includes integrating accessible design practices into its product offerings. The company is increasing transparency and reporting on human rights due diligence across its supply chain, which includes its commitments to support long-term and sustainable cotton production. The label says its Regenerative Cotton Fund is aimed at increasing production of regenerative cotton in the United States with the goal of eliminating one million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from the atmosphere by 2026.

The brand has also made strides in reducing its water usage. It says it’s working to reduce water by 20 percent across all operations and value chain over 2020 as a baseline by 2025. It has been developing a waterless dyeing system and has plans to introduce a color-on-demand scheme at select stores.

It will also continue to work to “elevate factory workers,” which includes commitments to advance worker life skill training including personal health and digital learning programs to supervisory and leadership training.

ralph lauren sustainable
Courtesy Ralph Lauren

At the core of all these commitments is the label’s increasing emphasis on building a circular economy—timeless products built to last by a community of farmers, designers, and producers elevated in the process. It’s set a circular design goal for 2025 to see the implementation of circular principles into design and development. It also includes a new commitment to increase rental, repair, and resale efforts in “select top cities,” by 2025.

This also includes what Ralph Lauren says is plans to develop a biodiversity strategy with science-based targets for nature by 2024.

That builds on what Lauren says is the “next chapter” in the brand’s Citizenship and Sustainability journey.

“It represents our commitment to ensure timelessness is embedded from inspiration through to
products’ every use and reuse across generations—taking into account how we value nature, and how we champion the people and communities that intersect our business.”

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