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How Tapestry Plans on Hitting Lofty Sustainability Goals

After it established the Tapestry Foundation last year, the owner of Kate Spade, Coach and Stuart Weitzman is focused on driving change in the industry, particularly in developing a sustainable supply chain. Tapestry has since committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by no later than 2050, tied 10 percent of leadership’s incentive compensation to the execution of equity, inclusion and diversity goals, and launched a craftsperson apprenticeship program to extend the life of Coach handbags.

But Logan Duran, Tapestry’s senior director, ESG and sustainability, knows the journey has only just begun. At Sourcing Journal’s Sustainability Summit: The Road to 2030 last week, he described how the Coach and Kate Spade brands are in different phases of their sustainability strategies.

According to Duran, Coach has rehabilitated more than 166,000 handbags over the past three years. But perhaps more important, the premium brand now has a better grasp of the footprint of its average product, the footprint if it is repaired, and the impact if it’s spruced up with materials that already exist.

“When you prepare a product and you extend the life of that product for three years, you’re ultimately reducing the footprint of that product by 29 percent,” Duran said. “And if you’re repairing it with materials that are ‘Frankensteined’ together with other scrap material, you’re reducing the impact by 76 percent. That really was this opportunity to prove that repair as sort of a first step into the world of circularity could still deliver customers the products they want.”

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While Coach is continuing to build out this program, Kate Spade has been focused largely on the impact of materials, he said, transitioning all product lining to recycled polyester.

Across all of its brands, including Stuart Weitzman, Tapestry developed robust sustainability targets for 2025, with the company aiming to achieve 95 percent traceability and mapping of its raw materials and generate 90 percent of its leather from tanneries that have a “gold” or “silver” environmental rating.

Duran said Tapestry wanted to address the traceability of its “core materials” like leather and other textiles that account for the majority of its impact.

In April, the fashion firm unveiled a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) through a $3 million philanthropic grant from the Tapestry Foundation. Duran said the partnership was specifically to support those goals, as the grant will be used to develop an innovative system to enhance traceability within Brazil’s leather value chain, and combat deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.

Overall, the partnership better enables Tapestry to ensure that the company is using materials from “deforestation-free” land, Duran said.

Additionally, the Coach parent has been moving further into regenerative agriculture with partnerships with the Savory Institute and keeps an eye on alternative materials.

Duran described what he called an “aggressive” material development team that constantly weighs sustainability against function.

“If it’s an alternative to leather, it is a petroleum-based or bio-based product? And if it’s a bio-based product—mycelium is one that often gets a lot of publicity—does it perform the same way leather does?” Duran said. “The challenge for us is just making sure that it’s going to perform and meet customers’ expectations.”

Of course, the aspirations to improve the supply chain can’t be fully realized without all stakeholders moving in sync. That’s why Tapestry rolled out training programs to its suppliers, educating them on setting science-based targets and the Higg Facility Environmental Module to measure environmental impact.

“It’s an interesting exercise. Obviously, everyone knows you are going to manage what you measure, but you have to make sure you’re measuring what you’re willing to manage,” Duran said. “It’s amazing that when you just start to ask the questions, you start to learn quite a bit about what your suppliers are already doing. Maybe that’s even the tipping point, when they say, ‘I’ve had enough customers ask me about this. I might as well do something about it.’”

Duran noticed that once Tapestry began to engage in more of these conversations, suppliers would start seeking out renewable energy sources, and carving out plans to transition to renewable energy at or near their factories.

Going ahead, Duran hopes the company down the line can pick new suppliers that align with Tapestry’s sustainability goals, but admitted those plans are in the working stages.

“We’re developing the plans to start to introduce environmental performance into the supplier selection conversation,” Duran said. “I’m not necessarily saying that we’re going to go ‘A over B’ as a result of performance, but at least we want to get that visibly in front of the designers and from the sourcing teams. Ultimately, in getting that information in front of them, they’re going to be drawn toward the ones that they know have had a significant impact.”