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Abercrombie, Joining UN Global Compact, Outlines Sourcing and Supply Chain Sustainability Goals

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is the latest fashion retailer to join the United Nations Global Compact, and with it comes new sustainability targets through 2025.

The new targets are in line with the U.N.’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). For Abercrombie, one big initiative is the goal to use 30 percent less water in denim production by 2022. The teen retailer’s highest volume material is denim, and its two nameplates–Abercrombie and Hollister–are known for their bottoms business.

Another includes responsibly sourcing materials that use sustainable processes or are derived from recycled fibers by 2025. Sourcing materials with sustainable fibers include a 25 percent better cotton initiative; 25 percent recycled polyester; 50 percent Canopy-supported innovating viscose; 100 percent responsible wool standard, 100 percent responsible down standard and 100 percent linen.

On the supply chain front, the company also plans to collaborate with its vendor partners on training programs, including human trafficking prevention and health and wellbeing. Abercrombie also said it will work on capacity building to support the training of 75,000 additional workers by 2022.

At its global stores initiative, beginning in 2020, the company will recycle 100 percent polybags in participating stores, recycle 100 percent hazardous waste in all domestic stores by 2022, and reduce print by 10 percent globally year-over-year through 2022. At corporate headquarters, the plan is to reduce waste, including 100 percent recycling of cardboard, e-waste, fabric and denim scraps.

The company said that alignment with the U.N.’s SDGs builds on the retailer’s existing global, social and environmental sustainability programs, many of which were started almost 20 years ago. Through the U.N.’s SDGs, Abercrombie will also learn additional best practices to address social, economic and environmental issues related to water and sanitation from the “Water Security through Stewardship” platform.

Fran Horowitz, Abercrombie’s chief executive officer, said joining the U.N. Global Compact is part of the company’s long-term journey to ensure that “sustainability is truly embedded throughout our entire organization.” The CEO added that “Sustainability is an important part of who we are as a company, and to our customers, our employees and our partners. These goals demonstrate our commitment to having an enduring positive impact on the communities we touch around the world.”