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ABOUT THE BRAND
Lululemon is a Canadian athletic apparel retailer, available worldwide, selling yoga-inspired, technical athletic wear for yoga, running, training and most other sweaty pursuits. The brand was at the forefront of the movement creating stylish, upmarket workout clothes that people love to wear outside the gym, too. As part of its community focus the brand partners with providers to run classes and events at cities around the world.
💪🏼 The brand states that they audit tier one suppliers (cut and sew facilities), tier two (textile mills) and is working to include tier three (raw material and trim suppliers) in the scope of their auditing program.
♻️ Lululemon states that they are currently working with other apparel brands through the Sustainable Apparel Coalition to implement the Higg Index 2.0 facilities module at their cut and sew factories and mills to measure the environmental impacts of manufacturing.
🔍 Lululemon has not updated much of its sustainability information since 2012/2013.
💪🏼 Lululemon states that vendors must pay employees the local minimum wage, and if that doesn’t exist, they must pay an industry-average wage. The brand states that because they don’t own any of the facilities that manufacture their products, they can’t set wages.
🏢 Founder and former CEO, Chip Wilson, has made a number of offensive comments.
/ Lululemon has 35 partners with 80 factories. The brand obtains all of their Luon fabric from two suppliers. Lululemon works with a group of approximately 30 suppliers that manufacture their products, five of which produced approximately 63% of the brand’s products in fiscal 2014.
/ Lululemon does not have long-term contracts with any of their suppliers.
/ We don’t have any information on: how many people the brand employs throughout its supply chain, how many garments the brand makes annually and how many collections the brand releases annually.
/ Lululemon typically brings new products from design to market in approximately 8 to 10 months, however the brand’s vertical retail structure enables them to bring select new products to market in as little as two months.
/ Lululemon states that the majority of their products are designed to withstand five years of intended use.
/ Lululemon shares a public list of the countries in which their suppliers are located but they do not share a list of names and locations of these suppliers.
/ Lululemon publicly shares the reports it generated on the brand’s carbon and water footprints that were submitted to the Carbon Disclosure Project. However the reports are from 2010/2011 and they only apply to operations in Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand and China.
/ The brand states that they audit tier one suppliers (cut and sew facilities), tier two (textile mills) and is working to include tier three (raw material and trim suppliers) in the scope of their auditing program.
/ The brand’s 10-K states that Lululemon employees are not covered by collective bargaining agreements. They state that they have had no labor-related work stoppages by their employees and believe their relations with their employees are excellent.
/ Lululemon states that vendors must pay employees the local minimum wage, and if that doesn’t exist, they must pay an industry-average wage. The brand states that because they don’t own any of the facilities that manufacture their products, they can’t set wages.
/ According to the Australian Fashion Report, published on 16 April 2015, Lululemon has a partial policy of non-interference toward trade unions and worker organizing, they don’t guarantee a stable price for suppliers, the brand does not have a program to ensure workers are fully paid for hours worked if they end their relationship with a supplier, they don’t have a functioning grievance mechanism, Lululemon does not have local partnerships in place in high-risk areas to rehabilitate child or forced laborers when found, when child or forced labour is removed from the workplace, the brand does not later verify by unannounced monitoring and they do not have any policies in place to support the victims of child or forced labour.
/ Lululemon collaborates with Better Factories Cambodia and Better Work Vietnam, a branch of Better Work (an ILO initiative), which aims to improve working conditions in Cambodia. The brand states that in 2014 they were looking to expand to other geographies but no update is publicly available.
/ Lululemon uses some sustainable materials such as recycled polyester, Tencel and organic cotton.
/ One third of the brand’s fabric mills are bluesign system partners.
/ Lululemon reports they have a new sourcing policy that requires all of our wool vendors to provide only non-mulesed wool. The brand source a mix of wool fibres from Australia, New Zealand, China and South Africa and are working with vendors to trace all wool sources in their supply chain. Lululemon states its suppliers must comply with domestic animal welfare, transport and wool clip standards, as well as market regulations, which are governed by local and federal agricultural departments and animal welfare agencies.
/ In 2012 Lululemon measured the carbon and water footprint of all tier one and tier two manufacturing.
/ Lululemon states that they are working to reduce their transportation footprint by partnering with logistics provider, Damco, to ship products around the globe quickly with as little impact as possible. The brand claims that the results and learnings from this project will help them design long-term solutions, such as improved container utilization and airfreight reduction.
/ Lululemon is working to reduce the use of polybags by 2015.
/ The Environmental Leader reported that Lululemon had pledged to assess its existing use of forest-sourced fabrics and develop a plan by December 2014 that would promote the use of fabrics from responsibly managed sources. It was also reported that the brand had pledged to ensure it is sourcing fabrics outside of ancient forests by 2017.
/ Lululemon support some of their vendor community-driven projects through the Metta Movement. Each year, select vendors are awarded metta grants for projects that drive social and environmental sustainability. Vendors initiate and own these projects and Lululemon supports through metta funds.
/ In 2015, the Guardian reported that when Lululemon debuted its Curiosity Lager on Instagram it was met with backlash from fans over ‘offensive cultural appropriation’.
/ In March 2013, the brand had to recall its yoga pant for being too sheer.
/ In response to complaints about the pilling of Lululemon yoga pants, The Huffington Post reported that Lululemon founder and former CEO Wilson said: “Frankly some women’s bodies just don’t actually work for it. They don’t work for some women’s bodies…it’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time, how much they use it.”
/ Business Insider reported that Wilson had said he favors using child labor in Third World countries because it provides them with much-needed wages.
/ Chip Wilson stepped down as CEO of Lululemon in December 2013. He later resigned from the Lululemon board in 2015 after voting against the reelection of two board members and speaking out publicly about what he perceived as the board’s short term vision.
/ Lululemon states that they are currently working with other apparel brands through the Sustainable Apparel Coalition to implement the Higg Index 2.0 facilities module at their cut and sew factories and our mills to measure the environmental impacts of manufacturing.
/ Lululemon states that they are working to reduce their transportation footprint by partnering with their logistics provider, Damco, to ship products around the globe quickly with as little impact as possible. The brand claims that the results and learnings from this project will help them design long-term solutions, such as improved container utilization and airfreight reduction.
/ For products that cannot be sold the brand works with a Vancouver-based company, debrand, to reuse and recycle the product.
/ If a customer wants to return a Lululemon product, they can at anytime.
/ Lululemon hosts an annual Vendor Summit in Vancouver. Suppliers are brought together to share best practices and challenges and this builds on the brand’s relationships with these vendors.
/ The brand’s second “Lululemon Lab” will debut in New York City, March 2016. This incubator space will be part design center – part retail shop, that will allow shoppers to meet designers at work and see product manufacturing in action.
The average US woman’s dress size is 14, according to the president of the lingerie line Frederick’s of Hollywood (among other studies). That is not, however, a size Lululemon even offers. – 11/9/2013
Immediately after I started work at Lululemon, I realized that almost all their talk about empowerment and happiness was empty. The years I’ve spent there since have confirmed it: the company’s culture is delusional, hypocritical, and cult-like. – 7/15/2015
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