In 1991, we created our Terms of Engagement, which was a first for the apparel industry and details what we require of our business partners in practices pertaining to everything from worker rights to the environment.
We’ve been working to extend these manufacturing guidelines further in our supply to the textile mills, but are happy to see that many of our fabric mill suppliers are already focused on sustainability. For example, one of our largest mill suppliers, in Mexico, operates one of the world’s largest privately owned wastewater treatment plants. This facility has state-of-the art technology that enables it to recycle approximately 75% of its water and direct it to other production processes, rest rooms and landscape irrigation.
We are one of six apparel companies working with the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on a pioneering initiative to reduce the environmental impact of textile mills in China. As part of the NRDC’s Responsible Sourcing Initiative, so far five mills have reduced their water, energy and chemical use, and the NRDC has developed a guide to sustainable practices that will be used by other mills worldwide.