For Guess, two principles drive its sustainability efforts; transparency and purpose

For Guess, two principles drive its sustainability efforts; transparency and purpose

In a milestone for the company, US fashion retailer Guess has outlined its first formal Sustainability Plan, and says it intends to publicly release a multi-tier supply chain map and improve its responsible raw material sourcing practices by 2025.

The developments are outlined in the second sustainability report from the retailer, which directly operates 945 retail stores in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

"In 2016, we talked to people inside and outside the business about how they see the future fashion industry," explains Victor Herrero, CEO at Guess Inc. "This exercise highlighted the need to continue our efforts to protect workers in the supply chain and focus on diversity and inclusion."

The exercise also identified other priority topics such as water stewardship, reducing energy use and carbon emissions throughout the extended value chain, and raising awareness through sustainability education and engagement with associates and partners.

Since publishing its first sustainability report in 2015, Guess has worked to develop its first formal sustainability strategy and commitments, and has now established new goals and initiatives that will guide its business in the coming years.

The sustainability strategy is organised into commitments and goals that focus on "Our World – the people, operations and suppliers we work with; and Our Brand – the customers and communities we connect with," it says.

Established in line with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards, the retailer's sustainability goals include plans to complete and publicly release a multi-tier supply chain map, strengthen its vendor training programme and civil society participation, and improve its responsible raw material sourcing practices by 2025.

In addition it says it will implement a Water Management Action Plan to be disclosed in 2018 and has pledged to reduce scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions per square foot by 15% by 2021; expand carbon footprint baseline to include scope 3 emissions; and transition current emissions reduction goals to align with science based targets.

Guess says it is taking a 'phased approach' to advance its sustainability commitments, including plans to publicly disclose its sustainability goals in 2017-18, publicly disclose status of goals and supporting initiatives in 2018-21, and finally publicly disclose evaluation of goals and achievements, and create a new approach for positive impact from 2021.

The report also shares highlights during the past year, including an assessment of the water footprint of the brand's denim, and the mapping of its denim production by global water availability – both important first steps to better manage impacts.

Guess also joined a global industry pledge to advance a circular fashion system with the Global Fashion Agenda, and says it will be announcing a product take-back programme later this year.

The report also updates other areas of progress, including successfully reducing the carbon footprint across its stores, distribution centres and headquarters in Los Angeles, California. 

Click here for more information about Guess' sustainability report.