DATA

THE PROS:

The brand has signed the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety. However they don’t report it on their site.

A & F has policies against the use of Uzbek cotton and sandblasting.

On environmental goals, the brand communicates that they plan to reduce GHG emissions for US operations by 8% from 2008 – 2018. From 2008-2010 A&F reduced gas usage by 40% and electrical usage by 25%. The brand has not reported on any progress since 2010.

THE CONS:

A & F has not updated their sustainability report since 2012.

The only accessible information A & F shares about their supply chain is that they work with vendors in 28 countries, including the USA.

According to investigative reporting by AlJazeera’s program 101 East in 2015, Chinese garment factories used by brands including A & F are continuing to use the harmful sandblasting method for ‘ageing’ denim jeans.

 

/ A & F reported US$3.74 billion in net sales for the year 2014.

/ There is no mention of how many suppliers are used, how many garments the brand manufactures per year, or how many collections the brand releases annually.

/ There is also no mention of how many people are employed throughout supply chain or how long products are designed to last.

/ In January 2015, A&F had 799 stores in the USA and 170 stores outside the USA.

/ The brand states that it has 65,000 associates. We are not sure if this includes both stores and head office.

 

/ A & F has not updated their sustainability report since 2012.

/ The only accessible information A & F shares about their supply chain is that they work with vendors in 28 countries, including the USA.

The company does not communicate anything about the potentially negative environmental or social impact of their operations.

The most they communicate is that they are trying to improve their carbon footprint.

/ A & F has a code of conduct that covers most of the industry standards, but it does not apply to multiple levels of the supply chains, nor does it include the following:

  • guarantee of a living wage
  • right to collective bargaining
  • any policies in place to ensure the rights of people who are discovered as child or forced laborers
  • policies in place to protect migrant workers
  • a policy that addresses sub contracting in supply chains
  • programs in place to ensure workers get paid when they terminate relationships with suppliers
  • a functioning grievance mechanism

/ Supply chain management and all major vendors are trained on human trafficking issues.

/ The brand is a signed Buyer Partner of Better Work, a partnership between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) that brings together governments, employers, workers and international buyers to improve compliance with labour standards and promote competitiveness in global supply chains. A & F has been a member of Better Work since 2007. However we couldn’t find information about progress.

/ The brand has signed the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety. However they don’t report it on their site.

/ According to investigative reporting by AlJazeera’s program 101 East in 2015, Chinese garment factories used by brands including A & F are continuing to use the harmful sandblasting method for ‘ageing’ denim jeans.

/ A & F has policies against the use of Uzbek cotton, and sandblasting.

A & F reports to the Carbon Disclosure Project and promotes a goal of zero discharge of hazardous chemicals in the industry and its supply chain.

/ A & F does not comment on :

  • use of sustainable materials
  • animal welfare policies
  • use of renewable energy
  • a clothing take back program
  • any measurable goals or report on progress to do with waste management and recycling

/ Good Guide gives the brand a 4.6 score out of 10, and a 4.4 for environment;  “this company’s environmental policies, practices and performance place it among the worst 50% of companies rated by GoodGuide.”

/ On social goals, the brand communicates that they plan to keep the number of high risk factories below 10% of the total active factory base for 2013. No progress report as of yet.

/ On environmental goals, the brand communicates that they plan to reduce GHG emissions for US operations by 8% from 2008 – 2018. From 2008-2010 A&F reduced gas usage by 40% and electrical usage by 25%. The brand has not reported on any progress since 2010.

 

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/ The A&F Challenge has raised over $10 million to date to benefit various organizations and charities in central Ohio and communities in which A&F operates throughout the U.S.

/ Internationally, A & F has implemented BSR’s HERproject programs in some of their factories. HERproject uses peer health education and training programs to improve women factory workers’ awareness of reproductive health issues and access to health services in the developing world.

/ A & F has also partnered with organizations like Room to Read, who works with local communities throughout the developing world to provide quality educational opportunities by establishing libraries, providing children’s literature in local languages, constructing schools, and providing education to girls.

 

 

 

 

/ There have been numerous issues with management, causing A & F to be sued several times for violating federal anti-employment discrimination guidelines. The company, for example, has paid out $71,000 to settle lawsuits over hijabs.

/ In 2014, The Guardian reported that A & F CEO Mike Jeffries made his mark by exclusionary marketing, filling the chain’s stores with young, attractive workers and models acting as greeters. That meant refusing to create large-size clothes, limiting the biggest shirt sizes to “large” and pants to size 10. “It’s almost everything. That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that,” Jeffries said.

 

/ We have no information about any of A & F’s innovation efforts at this time. Do you?

VOICES

ALICIA COOK, FORMER A&F MODEL | HUFFINGTON POST

“As we were leaving, another group of kids my age were heading into the lounge area. The manager nonchalantly mentioned that these were people who did not meet the criteria to be “allowed” on the floor to interact with customers, but they would be good working in the “back,” which I would later find out was the stockroom.”  – 4/29/2015

 


SALLY COHN | CNN

“Abercrombie’s “rebrand” isn’t fooling anyone. If you want to know what structural bias looks like, this is it. Hiding in plain sight. Rationalized by the supposedly benign motives of profit making, but in fact very clearly relying on and reinforcing discrimination and bias to turn a buck.” – 08/21/2015

 

We haven’t heard anything from the brand, yet. Check back soon!