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Tapestry’s Secret Weapon for Fighting Climate Change: Its Suppliers

Tapestry pared back its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 6 percent and its Scope 3 emissions from upstream freight shipping by 28 percent for the fiscal year ending July 3, the Coach, Stuart Weitzman and Kate Spade parent revealed in its latest corporate responsibility report Thursday.

The conglomerate said it’s now setting increased targets for Scope 3 emissions as well as expanding the category to include upstream and downstream transportation, business travel and more as it sets its science-based targets with an eye to achieving net-zero by 2050. (The vast majority of a company’s footprint stems from its supply chain, with more than half of those emissions emanating from material production alone, according to the Apparel Impact Institute.) More immediately, it plans to reduce its Scopes 1 and 2 emissions, along with Scope 3 emissions from freight shipping, by 20 percent below 2017 levels by 2025.

Though Tapestry’s emissions across Scopes 2 and 3 increased from fiscal years 2020 to 2021 as business activities “returned to normal” following the first hits of the Covid-19 pandemic, they still fell below 2019 levels, it said. But maintaining this momentum won’t be easy. “As we work toward achieving our GHG emissions reduction goals and a net-zero value chain, we know it will take the full participation of our business, our brands and our supply chain partners,” the report noted.

Working with its suppliers is especially critical to its success, Tapestry said. In 2020, the company joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and asked factories representing 85 percent of its purchased volume for handbags and footwear to complete the Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM), a suite of tools that evaluates performance in areas such as water use, chemical management and energy consumption. In the coming year, Tapestry plans to organize training sessions to help suppliers establish emissions-reductions targets of their own.

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Even as Tapestry commits to procuring 100 percent renewable energy in its stores, officers and fulfillment centers by 2025, the conglomerate also seeks to promote solar and wind consumption across its supply chain, it said. Nearly 80 percent of suppliers who completed the Higg FEM energy module and had their data verified by a third party achieved a Level 1 “foundational” score and 22 percent received a Level 2 “progressive” score (Level 3, pegged as “aspirational,” is the highest rating.) So far, 7 percent of Tapestry’s supply chain employs renewable energy, the wide deployment of which experts say is necessary to power a low-carbon economy.

Tapestry said it’s also working with suppliers to incorporate more responsibly sourced materials. Coming in at 85.3 million feet, the company’s top-used material in 2021 was leather, which environmental campaigners have linked to deforestation, a major contributor to climate change. Tapestry has pledged to ensure that 90 percent of leather will originate from Silver- and Gold-rated Leather Working Group tanneries by 2025, up from a present 60 percent. It is also working with the National Wildlife Federation, to map leather and other materials of high risk of deforestation across its supply chain. By 2025, Tapestry hopes to achieve 95 percent traceability and mapping of its raw materials to “ensure a transparent and responsible supply chain.”

In 2021, the conglomerate started using leathers that are re-tanned and finished using bio-based chemicals, reducing the amount of fossil-fuel-based ingredients used in production. The same year, Coach launched products using Upwoven, a leather made from salvaged scraps.

Meanwhile, Tapestry developed 100 percent recycled polyester linings, switched zipper coil to recycled materials and is “continuing to work on finding closed-loop circular recycling solutions,” it said. By shaking its reliance on virgin materials and shifting to recycled polyester, recycled nylon and organic cotton, it will be able to reduce its material-sourcing climate emissions by 2,338 megatons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Boosting soil health is another climate-change mitigation lever Tapestry is pulling. Coach recently joined arms with the Savory Institute’s Land to Market program, the first verified sourcing solution for regenerative agriculture, to incorporate regenerative raw materials that improve biodiversity and lower carbon emissions.

“​​We started an effort to source regeneratively grazed hides and are working with suppliers and partners to support soil health and responsible land management practices and aid in the development of regenerative agricultural supply chains,” the report said. “Preserving and restoring biodiversity helps to combat climate change and protect vital ecosystems.”