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How Lulu Plans to ‘Change the World for the Better’

As consumers, especially Gen Zers, grow to expect businesses to play an active role in fighting issues like systemic racism and climate change, fashion companies are reaching a point where they must put up or shut up.

With Lululemon Athletica’s first-ever “Impact Agenda,” the activewear firm looks like it is trying to do exactly that. Released Thursday, the plan outlines 12 multi-year goals to address critical social and environmental issues.

“Lululemon has a unique opportunity, responsibility and platform to drive meaningful change,” Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald said in a statement. “We share our Impact strategy against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, a global climate crisis, and systemic inequities in our society. As a global brand, industry, and as individuals, we must play a part to change the world for the better.”

The athletic apparel company broke its goals down into three areas of focus: Be Human, Be Well and Be Planet.

Lululemon’s Be Human goals focus generally on social issues. They are to “reflect the diversity of the communities the Company serves and operates in around the world by 2025;” “be the place where people come to develop and grow as leaders by 2023,” including by providing mental wellbeing training to all employees by 2021; achieve full gender and race pay equity by 2022; and provide empowerment programs on issues such as human rights education, resilience and wellbeing practices to more than 100,000 workers across its supply chain by 2025.

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The Vancouver-based yogawear company outlined three goals under its Be Well focus: provide access to tools that embrace mindfulness and movement practices for more than 10 million people globally by 2025; invest $75 million in direct funding, partnerships and advocacy in its global and local communities by 2025; and establish a Centre of Excellence for social impact by 2021.

Lululemon’s last five Be Planet goals focus on sustainability. They are to ensure 100 percent of the company’s products will include sustainable materials and end-of-use solutions by 2030; guarantee at least 75 percent of its products contain sustainable materials by 2025; provide options including resell, repair and recycling by 2025; source 100 percent renewable electricity to power its operations by 2021 and reduce its global supply chain carbon emissions by 60 percent per unit of value added; and reduce its freshwater consumption by 50 percent during manufacturing and reduce single-use plastic packaging by 50 percent by 2025.

After the killing of George Floyd sparked protests across the country and around the globe, Lululemon was one of many fashion companies to respond by donating to causes championing social justice. In an Instagram post at the time, it said it contributed a total of $250,000 to local Minneapolis organizations, as well as the NAACP, Black Lives Matter and Reclaim the Block. “We haven’t always got it right,” it wrote, adding, “And we know that to be a stand against inequity and injustice of any kind, we all need to do so much more. You have our commitment we will.”