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Chico’s Doubles Down on Sustainability Following Strong Quarter

Coming off its best quarter in four years, Chico’s FAS Inc. is focused on growing sales—and it’s doing so with a focused sustainability strategy.

The company, which owns Chico’s, White House Black Market and Soma, recently banned alpaca fleece from its assortment following a PETA report in 2020, which showed animals being treated roughly as they were shorn, often sustaining injuries in the process. It also outlined the sustainability commitments it’s rolled out throughout its supply chain, stores and headquarters. According to Kristin Gwinner, Chico’s FAS, Inc. executive vice president, chief human resources officer, the planet-friendly initiatives require participation from everyone inside and outside of the company.

“Sustainability is a journey that we are navigating together with our customers, our associates and our value chain partners, and we are always actively looking for ways to better our impact on the planet,” she said. “We are customer-led and product-obsessed. It is our goal to be a responsible steward of our planet’s resources, and to be recognized as a brand that cares for the environment.”

Denim, which Chico’s FAS attributed to much of its significant revenue growth in Q4 2020, is undergoing a sustainable update at White House Black Market and Chico’s. The labels are using more sustainable techniques in the finishing process, focusing on laser printing, mechanical dry processing, biodegradable cellulase enzyme finishes and ozone bleaching that result in water, chemical and energy savings.

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White House Black Market is increasing its recycled fiber usage across denim, swim and everyday essentials. It debuted 19 fabrics featuring Tencel, Ecovero, Repreve and other recycled polyester and lyocell fibers.

All three brands are looking to 3D technology to streamline and reduce waste throughout their design processes and aim to roll out the practice to more of its assortment. They’re also looking to increase their recycling initiatives, with White House Black Market teaming with Cotton Incorporated’s Blue Jeans Go Green denim recycling program to keep denim out of landfills and upcycle them into insulation for new homes. Developed in January of this year, the partnership has already collected more than 8,000 pounds of denim from consumers at White House Black Market stores. Shoppers are encouraged to bring any brand’s pre-owned denim containing at least 90 percent cotton to White House Black Market stores for recycling.

Soma is also a part of the circular movement, and works with bra donation programs like I Support The Girls and The Bra Recyclers nonprofit organizations. Over the past 10 years, Soma has donated more than 2 million collected bras to women in need.