GUESS is committed to making sustainable style sexy, managing environmental impacts in our supply chain, and greening our operations.
We believe sustainability and sexy CAN go hand in hand, with responsibly sourced apparel and accessories ushering in a new era of responsible consumption.
We recognize the role we have in creating a more sustainable fashion industry, and will collaborate with other industry stakeholders to extend product life and recycling, and prioritize responsible chemicals management.
In FY2018 (June 2017), Guess pledged to advance ‘circularity’ in the fashion industry. Circularity is the idea that fashion should last, and be continuously reused, repurposed and recycled. As official signatories to the Global Fashion Agenda’s 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitments, Guess has committed to increase the volume of used garments we collect, an important step to creating a circular fashion system. Our official target is the following: By 2020, we will have implemented an on-going, customer-facing product take-back program in our retail stores in the United States and will have expanded the program’s presence globally to a minimum of three markets.
As a first step in promoting a circular fashion system, GUESS launched its customer wardrobe recycling program throughout the U.S. on October 23, 2018. For more information visit guess.com/resourced.
GUESS partners with third parties to ensure any leftover or defective goods are either donated to local non-profit organizations or reused or recycled to reduce waste. We’ve donated more than 290,000 items with a total value of nearly $20 million to local non-profits in the United States and Canada, and have diverted over 50 tons of product from landfill in Europe.
As part of our Spring/Summer ’16 offerings, Guess Europe released the brand’s first eco-collection called #GuessEco. All pieces in this collection were created using production methods known to reduce environmental impacts. Sustainability attributes of this collection included:
The results of the above analysis, which was conducted by the garment manufacturer, were verified in person by GUESS’ internal CSR team.
As the safety of our supply chain workers and consumers are at the heart of everything we do, we are working to actively manage the chemicals that are used in our supply chain and incorporated into our products. Our Global List of Restricted Substances and Materials is compliant with EU REACH and other countries’ stringent standards. By requiring our suppliers comply with this list, we will reduce environmental, health and safety risks and ensure our products meet customer expectations.
Our products are manufactured by a network of suppliers around the world. To understand and help reduce our suppliers’ environmental footprint, we focus on areas where we can have the largest impact and influence.
The GUESS brand was founded on denim, a material reliant on water from cotton growing to fabric washing to customer care. GUESS will focus on responsible materials sourcing and water stewardship in production.
At GUESS, we are committed to being good water stewards. We are collecting data and measuring our water footprint to help guide a new water stewardship strategy that will be released in 2018.
Denim is a staple product for GUESS and part of our signature look. Primarily because of its high content of cotton, denim has a relatively high water footprint when compared to other apparel products.
The process of making and wearing a pair of Classic 1981 Skinny Fit Jeans involves four major processes that use water: irrigating cotton as a raw material, manufacturing fabric, washing in factories to get the right denim look, and washing by consumers at home. We found that for GUESS denim, raw materials (64%) and consumer wash (32%) are the most water intensive parts of the product lifecycle. The processes over which we have the most control, however, are the denim wash process (factory laundry) and fabric manufacturing that together are responsible for 4% of total water use. This is consistent with other comparable Life Cycle Assessment studies*.
With better context for regional water availability, we will tailor our Water Management Action Plan. This country-level data will serve as a blueprint on which regions to focus future initiatives related to more water-efficient cotton sourcing and supply chain management. Opportunities to improve water stewardship may include – but are not limited to – sourcing more sustainable cotton, ensuring responsible water management practices of vendors, and communicating with consumers on the impact of wash. We will publish a separate report on this topic in 2018.
We make our products from a variety of natural and man-made materials. Cotton, including denim, accounts for approximately half of the materials used by GUESS. Synthetic materials such as nylon, polyester and spandex are the second largest category.
In FY2017 we instituted a formal policy to eliminated angora from our supply chain. GUESS Chief Executive Officer Victor Herrero said that “while in the past, GUESS worked to ensure the small amount of angora used was ethically sourced, we feel the decision to eliminate angora moving forward is just the right thing to do”.
Rayon is a cellulosic material made from wood. With many forests around the world under threat, we have issued an internal policy to trace the origin of the rayon in our products to ensure that we never knowingly source rayon or other cellulosic fibers that originates from endangered forests.
The fashion industry relies on the natural environment for its materials and resources. Protecting the environment and improving our resource efficiency is crucial to our business and important to our customers and associates. Through environmental programs at our corporate headquarters, distribution centers and retail stores, we are building a company culture of care for the environment.
Carbon emissions and climate change are global issues of concern to our stakeholders and bring business risk. We will contribute by reducing our use of fossil fuels and minimizing our climate impacts.
Our total carbon footprint in FY2017 for GUESS global operations at 878 sites was 36,669 metric tons CO2e, representing a 2% decrease in absolute emissions from our FY2016 baseline. Our reduction per square foot was approximately 8%, an area of focus for us going forward.
Electricity consumption had the largest overall impact on our carbon footprint and accounted for 97% of total location-based emissions. Globally, operations in Asia had the largest amount of CO2e per square foot. We will use this and other information gained from the assessment to help us reduce electricity use at our stores, distribution centers and headquarters, which will be a focus for us in the future.
To ensure our reduction trajectory continues, we have committed to reduce our scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions per square foot by 15% by 2021 compared with our FY2016 baseline. In coming years, we will expand this goal, as well as create a goal for scope 3 emissions, to align with science based targets.
Source: EPA (2017) Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, May 2017
*GUESS Global means a reference collectively to Guess Canada, Europe, US and Asia. For more information please see About this Report.
Cutting our electricity use reduces our carbon footprint and saves money. In FY2015, we reported our efforts to improve store energy efficiency by replacing existing lighting systems with more efficient LED lighting. This effort has continued with the retrofitting of 71 stores and remodeling of 5 stores in FY2016 and FY2017; bringing the total number of upgraded stores in US and Canada to 286. In the United States and Canada, we worked with our lighting vendors to provide LED lighting for our new and remodeled retail and factory stores. For the past two years, all new stores in the US, Canada and Europe have been built using LED lighting, including overhead and furniture lighting as well as graphic lightboxes. In California, Nevada, and our Canadian stores, we comply with regulatory requirements by installing lighting upgrades in our stores, including occupancy sensors, light dimmers and separate storefront lighting controls to maximize the use of natural daylight and minimize electricity use.
In addition to our commitment to extend product life with our product recycling and reuse initiatives, we are also embracing a culture of conservation inside the business.
Our Guess US corporate headquarters sent 488.5 tons of waste to landfill in FY2016 and 496.6 tons in FY2017, representing a 1.7% increase. In the same time period, however, we nearly doubled the recycling of paper and cardboard boxes from 24 tons in FY2016 to 46.12 tons in FY2017. In 2018 associates at the U.S. corporate headquarters received recycling education as the campus committed to further increase waste diversion and recycling rates.
At our Guess Europe corporate offices, we recycled 10.84 tons of cardboard in FY2016 and 19.31 tons in FY2017, and aim to recycle 100% of our paper and cardboard going forward. We also recently implemented a program to recycle old printers.
At our distribution center in Louisville, Kentucky, we have been reusing and recycling vendor corrugated cartons since 2006. We divert 90% of our carton waste from landfill through reuse and recycling efforts, and from FY2016 – FY2017, we recycled 57,400 pounds of steel from various capital improvement projects in the facility.