Corporations’ actions are increasingly scrutinized as a result of last year’s unprecedented global events and a shift to total transparency. After one of the most challenging moments in recent history, companies are expected to do more to ensure the well-being of the workers in their value chain and the future health of the environment.
On Thursday, PVH Corp., which owns brands including Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein and employs more than 40,000 in over 40 countries, documented the progress it made this past year in its latest corporate responsibility (CR) report. The report marks the 13th publication of PVH’s global CR data.
The company called attention to its response to the pandemic, the actions it took to boost diversity and inclusion, and new sustainability and circularity initiatives, outlining its progress and setting sights for a better future with the help of its partners.
“Through the power and passion of PVH’s people, we made notable progress across key initiatives on inclusion and diversity, environmental sustainability, human rights and climate change. These areas of focus and our values are at the heart of everything we do,” said Stefan Larsson, CEO of PVH Corp. “We will continue to build on our core strengths, connect to our consumers in ways that are meaningful to them and remain dedicated to innovation and continuous improvement.”
Through the PVH Foundation, the company joined other fashion brands supporting their communities and donated more than $2 million to Covid-19 relief efforts and delivered over 2 million units of PPE to support healthcare workers on the front lines.
Shifting its focus to its own workers, the company co-created and endorsed the International Labor Organization’s Call to Action to mobilize emergency relief funds. Garment workers were hit especially hard during the pandemic, which heightened attention on issues like unsafe working conditions, sexual harassment, violence, financial debts and more. The partnership helped protect garment workers’ income and employment throughout the duration of the pandemic and beyond.
Furthering its dedication to supply chain workers, PVH expanded its disclosure of living wage data to cover 86 percent of its global manufacturing base—a notable accomplishment, as a recent report led by the Clean Clothes Campaign found that 93 percent of fashion brands don’t pay a living wage.
Throughout the year, the company enrolled 3,078 more female supply chain workers in its women’s empowerment program, a life skills training program launched as part of its Fashion Forward initiative for positive social impact. It also launched its first community program benefiting women near Hawassa Industrial Park in Ethiopia, a site that was established to provide production and employment opportunities for people in the surrounding communities. And through its partnership with global humanitarian organization Save the Children, it connected 29,368 children, parents and teachers with educational programming and services.
Diversity and inclusion
In response to the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, PVH announced new targets for a more inclusive business. It implemented an inclusive hiring policy to ensure a more diverse candidate pool for every role and pledged to roll out unconscious bias training and digital literacy programs by 2023.
Working with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), PVH co-authored a research report on inclusion and diversity that exposed some of the industry’s shortcomings and areas in need of improvement. It contributed $5 million to advance BIPOC representation within the fashion industry and in June 2020 launched the People’s Place Program, a three-pillar initiative focused on building effective partnerships, providing career support and access, and diversifying industry leadership.
It also worked to make its products more accessible to a wider audience, expanding its adaptive collection to Europe, Japan and Australia, providing fits for prosthetics, velcro and magnetic closures, easy-open necklines and expanded openings, one-handed closures, seated-wear pants styles and drawcord stoppers for easier adjustments.
It celebrated gender-neutral styles within its Tommy X Lewis X H.E.R. collection, and expanded its Curve offering and piloted a model-switch function on its European e-commerce site for better size representation. The company also introduced its first-ever hijab line in select markets.
Alongside the new diversity targets set in August, the company announced new circularity initiatives to boost sustainability and reduce waste within its Tommy Hilfiger brand. PVH launched its first circular business model through Tommy Hilfiger’s Tommy for Life program, a zero-waste operation broken up into three collections: The Reloved collection, which features previously owned products traded in by consumers; the Refreshed collection, which offers repaired garments from the store and e-commerce returns; and the Remixed collection, in which items damaged beyond repair are broken down to the fiber level and reimagined into new garments or used for insulation.
The program has diverted 36,429 kg (80,312 pounds) of textile waste to-date.
Furthering its circularity focus, the company launched its circular collection made according to requirements set by The Ellen McArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign program. It also increased renewable energy usage by 15 percent—bringing its total to 43 percent—partially as a result of installing more than 48,000 industry-leading solar panels at its warehouse and logistics center in the Netherlands.
The Calvin Klein brand is showing its emphasis on circularity, with Calvin Klein Europe doubling the use of its sustainable materials from the previous year. Calvin Klein also introduced the CK ONE Recycle program centered on the use of recycled fibers like Repreve, which is made from recycled plastic water bottles, in underwear and swimwear. In 2020, 55 percent of swimwear was made from recycled materials, and it says this year, many of the swim programs will feature 100 percent recycled materials.
Calvin Klein Jeans doubled down on lower-impact denim finishing techniques that, compared to conventional processes, significantly reduce freshwater consumption and lower carbon emissions.
Fragrances are also getting a sustainable update. CK Everyone launched in February 2020 as a genderless, vegan fragrance with a Silver Level Material Health Certificate from Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.
PVH plans to expand its sustainability initiatives, and notes that collaboration is key: By partnering with Fashion For Good, PVH is working to eliminate single-use plastics and scale polybag packing with 80 percent post-consumer recycled content.
“It is a privilege and a responsibility for companies like PVH to use our scale and global reach to make a difference on these important issues,” said Larsson. “We also understand that we will only achieve real and lasting change by working with our peers, partners and the industry as a whole.”
All of this work is part of the company’s efforts to reach its sustainability targets, which include eliminating hazardous chemicals and microfibers, making its top three products fully circular and advancing representation in the workplace by 2025. By 2030, it aims to accomplish goals like using 100 percent renewable electricity, achieving zero waste, and sourcing regenerative materials ethically.