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By 2023, Ralph Lauren has promised gender parity in all leadership positions. By 2025, the number of women in management roles at the factories that supply the brand will increase by 25 per cent. To achieve these goals, which were outlined in Ralph Lauren’s 2019 Global Citizenship and Sustainability report, the company will put forward at least one qualified female candidate for each job opportunity. From 2020, it will also ensure the inclusion of candidates from diverse backgrounds during the recruitment process.
As well as bolstering women in leadership, Ralph Lauren outlined social responsibility measures to ensure that all of the brand’s products are “inclusive and culturally aware”. “Being a global company and an iconic US designer, Ralph Lauren has always been careful and caring about being respectful to all the cultures around the world,” said Halide Alagöz, Ralph Lauren’s first chief sustainability officer, who was appointed last year. “We want to make sure our products are always designed through the filter of that respect.”
Under the guidance of Alagöz, Ralph Lauren has pledged several sustainability goals. By 2025, the company aims to use no virgin polyester, only recycled polyester, and all “key materials”, including cotton, will be sustainably sourced. It is working to identify ways of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and fully switch to renewable energy for its operations over the next year and a half, according to WWD.
“When Ralph founded our company more than 50 years ago, he did so with the conviction that whatever we create is meant to be worn, loved and passed on for generations,” commented Patrice Louvet, president and chief executive officer. The recently launched Earth Polo shirt collection (each tee is made from roughly 12 plastic bottles and dyed without water) was one of the outcomes of previous Global Citizenship and Sustainability reports. The goal is to remove at least 170 million bottles from landfills and oceans by 2025, as the company makes increasing efforts to monitor its raw material supply chain.
“We really decided to lean on the timelessness of our brand,” Alagöz added. “Living in a world that is beautiful and cared for is the ultimate luxury.” Ralph Lauren won’t smash its targets tomorrow, but when lack of transparency is one of the biggest barriers to sustainable fashion, it is commendable that a household-name brand is making public commitments.