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JCPenney Is Working to Clean Up its Fashion Supply Chain

JCPenney is partnering with the Apparel Impact Institute to improve its supply chain sustainability performance.

The work with the institute (Aii) will help improve performance related to energy, water and chemicals in 2021 and beyond.

“We are pleased to see JCPenney take this leadership position by recognizing the serious environmental impacts of wet processing activities in Tier 2 production by joining our Clean by Design program,” Lewis Perkins, Aii’s president, said. “As the world seeks to build back with better solutions, JCPenney is ‘leaning in’ to this opportunity to improve existing facilities in the ways that will have the most positive impact for both sustainability and production cost.”

Aii is a strategic partner of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), an industry collaboration of brands and retailers. SAC’s Clean by Design program helps members like JCPenney, Target, Gap and Levi Strauss provide strategic suppliers with subsidized environmental engineering support. The support is aimed at improving energy efficiency, as well as the transition to more sustainable fuel sources, such as biomass and solar energy. Costs of programs are shared between the company, supplier and Aii.

JCPenney has been a participant in the Clean by Design program since 2015. It began working with a select group of Chinese suppliers and is now in collaboration with Daysun, Masood, Nishat and Soorty to enroll four additional facilities into the program in Pakistan and Vietnam. The mass merchant said in a company blog post on Thursday that the selected mill and laundry facilities are strategic production partners for the retailer’s private brands, and are located in “high water stress communities.” These facilities “have demonstrated a commitment to improving their sustainability performance. These types of Tier 2 facilities often represent the largest emissions hot spots, making them prime candidates for Aii’s Clean by Design program,” JCPenney said, adding that enrollment in the program will continue on a yearly basis.

JCPenney’s retail operations are now owned by Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management, and the retailer is searching for a new CEO.