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Ralph Lauren Gets Stricter on Sustainable Sourcing

Ralph Lauren is stepping up its sustainability commitment with a stricter sourcing initiative.

The American retailer created a new policy on the use of wood-based fabrics, including rayon and viscose. As the company continues to develop purchasing guidelines for raw materials, the new policy will prevent Ralph Lauren from sourcing wood-based fabrics that are connected to deforestation and unethical labor.

“We’ve already communicated our commitment to our vendors,” Ralph Lauren SVP of global manufacturing and sourcing Halide Alagoz said. “We believe this initiative demonstrates Ralph Lauren’s commitment to the environment with responsible and traceable sourcing, which we believe will create a positive impact on ecosystems and global communities.”

Ralph Lauren teamed up with environmental organization Rainforest Action Network (RAN) to establish the new policy on wood-based fabrics. RAN currently operates an “Out of Fashion” campaign, which raises awareness about controversial wood-based fabrics and how they negatively impact endangered forests and human rights. Ralph Lauren joins other major brands, including H&M, Levi Strauss & Co. and Zara, that have committed to more sustainable sourcing for wood-based fabrics.

Ralph Lauren’s new policy will send a message to producers in Indonesia and other nations, where fabric pulp production has negatively impacted forest-dependent communities. The policy will also prevent land-grabbing, which has been responsible for over 20 cases of property conflict among Indigenous people and international companies that use traditional forests.

“It’s heartening to see brands beginning to take responsibility for their supply chains,” RAN Senior Forest Campaigner Brihannala Morgan said. She added, “Ralph Lauren’s commitments and actions, along with those of more than 60 other brands who have developed policies, can have a real positive impact for forests and the people that depend on them.”