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Guess Raises the Bar for Apparel Circularity and Reduced Water Use

Known for its denim presence, Guess is ramping up its environmental standards—on Thursday, the retailer released its second sustainability report, which highlighted new objectives on reduced water use, apparel circularity and energy efficiency.

The goals comply with principles developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)—an organization that helps businesses assess their impact on climate change and human rights. As a member of GRI’s Standards Pioneers Program, Guess had its data externally validated, to further transparency and take the steps necessary to improve its supply chain.

“Through my experience leading this truly global company, I see one constant across borders: people, particularly the younger generation, are deeply concerned about the future of this planet,” Guess CEO Victor Herrero said. “At Guess, we understand that we must continue to grow and contribute to the global community with increasing care for people and the environment; we aim to embrace existing solutions as well as try new ones to address the social and environmental challenges of our time.”

Following the launch of its first sustainability report in 2015, Guess is expanding on its first formal sustainability strategy and by 2020, aims to make its global operations greener and encourage consumers to buy more eco-conscious garments.

This year, Guess mapped its denim production by water availability and assessed the sustainability of its denim products. To improve its denim production and products, the company is currently drafting a comprehensive water action management plan to address these impacts, which is set to debut in 2018.

Advancing a circular fashion system was another crucial step in report. Joining other leading fashion brands in repurposing garments, Guess will be incorporating a product take back program at the end of 2017, so employees, customers and the community can take part in a more circular economy and provide apparel with a second life.

Energy efficiency also remains crucial to the company’s sustainability goals. Since 2015, Guess has upgraded 286 stores in Canada and the U.S. with more efficient LED lighting. At its distribution centers, including Guess’s primary U.S. distribution hub in Kentucky, Guess installed new HVAC units and achieved 46 percent savings in natural gas consumption. What’s more, the company also recently pledged to the Science Based Target Initiative and aims to transition its current emission reduction goal over the next two years to reduce the impact of climate change.