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PETA Buys Stock in Denim Brands to Influence Sourcing Decisions

People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals (PETA) has a history of putting pressure on fashion brands to make their products more animal friendly. And now, following news of the organization buying shares in companies like Ralph Lauren, Urban Outfitters and Guess, the brands may need to reconsider their methods.

With the economy in flux as a result of COVID-19, PETA used the opportunity to purchase enough stock in certain fashion brands to influence management decisions.

“Today’s kind consumers want to support companies that share their values and sell chic and comfortable vegan sweaters and coats only,” said PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman. “PETA is heading to the boardroom to pressure retailers from Ralph Lauren to Urban Outfitters not to sell items that animals suffered and died for.”

PETA bought shares in Ralph Lauren, Urban Outfitters, Guess and Levi’s to pressure them to use more animal-friendly fibers.
Ralph Lauren Giovanni Giannoni/WWD/Shutterstock

PETA has scrutinized these brands for their use of wool, mohair and cashmere, despite the inhumane and irresponsible methods used to get those fibers. Last year, it took a similar approach when it purchased shares in Levi’s—and the fight continues. In the heritage denim brand’s virtual annual meeting on Wednesday, PETA plans to pressure Levi’s to stop using leather denim tags in its products.

Levi’s can’t claim to be eco-conscious as long as it’s fueling the toxic leather industry,” said Reiman. “PETA is asking the company to take a stand against climate change and cruelty to cows by using only vegan leather patches, which are already used on most of its jeans.”

PETA claims vegan leather is three times better for the environment than standard leather.

Levi’s explained that it abides by international ethical standards.

“Less than ten percent of the raw materials in our supply chain are from sources other than cotton, and a small fraction of that percentage is leather,” said Levi’s. “Nevertheless, Levi Strauss & Co. strives to source all materials responsibly. Our goal is to ensure that wherever materials derived from animals are used in our products, their health and welfare are protected in line with international animal welfare standards.”

As part of its most recent initiative, PETA also purchased shares in Burberry; Chico’s FAS, Inc.; Express; J.Jill; Deckers Outdoor Corporation (the parent company of Ugg); Tapestry, Inc. (the parent company of Coach NY, Kate Spade, and Stuart Weitzman); Aritzia; Lands’ End; Capri Holdings (the parent company of Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors and Versace); Target; Under Armour; and Qurate Retail Group (the parent company of QVC and HSN).