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Abercrombie’s Vision for ‘Sustainable World’ Focuses on Female Empowerment, Human Trafficking

After joining the United Nation’s Global Compact in August, Abercrombie & Fitch announced its participation in three workers’ rights initiatives aimed at advancing the brand’s new social sustainability targets, each informed by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) chosen by the UN General Assembly in 2015.

The three programs, P.A.C.E, PALS and HERproject, are focused on SDGs 3, 8 and 17: “Good Health and Well-being,” “Decent Work and Economic Growth” and “Partnerships to Achieve the Goal.”

The United Nations Global Compact is designed to push signatory organizations to reach benchmarks related to those goals by 2030.

“As a new participant of the United Nations Global Compact, we are proud to bring greater awareness to the important work of P.A.C.E, PALS, and HERproject,” Kim Harr, senior director of sustainability at Abercrombie & Fitch Co., said in a statement. “With operations around the world, A&F Co. continuously takes steps to enhance the health and well-being of those working throughout our supply chain, particularly women, and we’re able to do this with the crucial education and training these partners provide.”

P.A.C.E., the “Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement” program, was originally created by Gap Inc. in 2007 to support women working in the apparel industry. Essentially an education program, it has provided life skills, technical training and more to 400,000 working women and girls so far.

Abercrombie & Fitch plans to begin work on the program this fall and expects to eventually roll it out to almost 9,000 workers in Cambodia—along with supporting the implementation of a similar program in Indonesia, which includes funding for 40 new P.A.C.E. trainers to work with 1,500 Indonesian junior high girls by the end of 2020.

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PALS, or the Pacific Links Foundation, is another program dedicated to the training of factory workers and managers, specifically in the prevention of human trafficking and forced labor through its Factory Awareness to Counter Trafficking (FACT) training program. Founded in 2018, FACT trained more than 3,100 workers and 100 managers in its inaugural year.

Finally, Abercrombie & Fitch has also pledged its support for BSR’s HERproject, an organization dedicated to empowering working women to “take charge of their health and finances” as well as providing training on issues related to maternity. According to the brand, since 2008, more than 20,000 women have benefited from the program in Bangladesh, China, India and Vietnam.

Overall, the brand said that it was pleased it could begin work on creating a “more just and sustainable world” over the next decade.

“We are committed to our social sustainability targets, which align to the UN’s SDG’s, and are honored to work alongside these organizations to help us and our supply chain have a positive impact on the communities in which we operate around the world,” Harr concluded.