Cover A model presents a creation by Ralph Lauren during the New York Fashion Week on February 12, 2018, in New York. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD

The brand has unveiled its vision for a more sustainable future with a new report

Ralph Lauren has shed light on its updated commitment to the cause with the publication of ‘Global Citizenship & Sustainability' as part of its fiscal year 2019 report. Dubbed ‘Design the Change', the initiative lays out a new set of goals focusing on the ways in which Ralph Lauren intends to deliver change, in addition to announcing the company's signing of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC).

"When Ralph founded our Company more than 50 years ago, he did so with the conviction that whatever we create is meant to be worn, loved and passed on for generations," said Patrice Louvet, CEO and President, Ralph Lauren Corporation, in a statement. "This philosophy is deeply embedded in our culture, our brands and our purpose⁠—to inspire the dream of a better life through authenticity and timeless style. It also inspires Design the Change, a strategy that will accelerate our efforts to create a positive impact in society and a more sustainable future."

The company will focus its efforts on 16 goals across the areas of "creating timeless style," "protecting the environment" and "championing better lives." Key aims include using 100 per cent sustainably-sourced key materials by the year 2025, setting science-based greenhouse gas reduction targets by 2020 and 100 per cent renewable energy targets by the end of this year, and increasing female representation in factory management by 25 per cent by 2025.

Ralph Lauren has been making strides towards a more sustainable approach over the past year: in April, it launched the ‘Earth Polo', a version of its signature Polo shirt crafted using plastic bottles (each shirt is made from approximately 12 bottles). The company also introduced its "Lead Like a Woman" campaign, which aims to close the leadership gap between the sexes, and saw the number of women in its global workforce tip 64 per cent.

Following suit

Sustainability is a major fashion topic at the moment: the Ralph Lauren report follows an announcement by Gap Inc. this week announcing a new partnership with its Indian sourcing and franchise partner Arvind Limited to open a new innovation center in 2020 focused on reducing water waste within the textiles industry. The duo will also invest in a new water treatment facility in Ahmedabad, India, replacing freshwater with reclaimed water with a view to conserving the local community's resources.

It was also reported this week that Chanel had taken a minority stake in the green chemistry company Evolved by Nature, which specializes in using liquid silk in the creation of high-performing textiles, providing a natural alternative to harsh or toxic chemicals that are often currently used in the process.

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