The global lifestyle fashion brand, Guess, released its third sustainability report (FY 2018-2019). Prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards for sustainability, and externally assured by KPMG, the report highlights Guess’s progress since releasing its second report as well as its 2021 sustainability goals. Apparel Resources explored the report and brings you excerpts.
Sourcing as well as sustainable efforts are increasing for India and Bangladesh
In FY 2017, Guess sourced 7.67 per cent of its total sourcing of apparels and accessories (volume wise) from India. The same was 9.57 per cent in FY 2018 and 12.39 per cent in FY 2019. So, the numbers do tell the story. Bangladesh is also almost on similar growth track as far as brand’s sourcing is concerned. Simultaneously, the share of China, Vietnam and Turkey is reducing.
As far as sustainable efforts are concerned, the brand’s commitment to sustainability keeps continuing! Guess has supported access to clean water for communities in India. Guess Europe donated US $ 10,000 to charity: water, a non-profit organisation that provides drinking water to people in developing nations, is set to develop a water well in India.
In FY 2019, Guess completed a series of trainings for supplier factories that focused on transparency, and shared best practices for continuous improvement. 12 suppliers/factories from Delhi and Bangalore, two major Indian sourcing destinations, were part of this training, while from Dhaka the number was 32 (highest after China).
Guess Responsible Sourcing Policy on Cotton was launched with the purpose of increasing procurement of preferred cotton sources while working to improve traceability and avoid prohibited cotton sources from entering our supply chain. It joined the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) in 2018 and set a target to procure 50 per cent BCI cotton by 2022; currently it is only 2 per cent. It is continuously increasing the use of cotton in its products while the use of synthetic is reducing slowly.
It also submitted its first survey with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index (CEI) and is proud to have received a score of 85 per cent.
Guess’s goals for 2021 include strengthening sustainability oversight at the board level and obtaining third-party assurance of non-financial data to increase stakeholder confidence in reporting. The second pillar of their sustainability plan, empowering people, showcases the brand’s commitments to diversity and inclusion, supply chain social responsibility as well as sustainability education and engagement. Goals in this area include expanding Guess’s Diversity Council internationally, educating 100 per cent of product teams on sustainability and, lastly, engaging 100 per cent of North American stores in sustainability initiatives.
The brand is committed to product responsibility, water stewardship and reducing greenhouse gases in its operations. 2021 goals include implementing science-based targets, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15 per cent, sourcing certified sustainable materials for 20 per cent of its global portfolio across brands and fulfilling its pledge with Global Fashion Agenda’s 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment. The brand is geared up to setting a science-based target in 2020, which will include ambitious goals for the supply chain.
It is pertinent to mention here that since the release of its last sustainability report in 2017, the company has educated over 250 students and associates on sustainability. Besides, it achieved 10 per cent energy emission reductions from FY 2016 baseline, and trained over 150 supplier factories in top sourcing countries.
In addition, Guess has expanded worker welfare programmes, increased female representation on its Board of Directors and expanded the Eco Collection globally. This fall, nearly 10 per cent of US women’s denim purchased for the season is made with water-saving technology and contains environmentally preferred materials. Notable progress towards reaching its 2020 commitment with Global Fashion Agenda’s Circular Fashion System includes the launch of RESOURCED, a clothing and shoe recycling programme, in all US stores and the introduction of Guess Vintage, a selection of second-hand Guess garments curated from around the globe.
Goal 2021 and current status
- 25per cent of Guess denim to meet Guess Eco guidelines
9 per cent of Guess US women’s denim ordered during FY 2020 Q1 met the Guess Eco guidelines. (Global numbers not available)
- 15per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (direct operations)
10 per cent emission reductions per square foot achieved since our FY 2016 baseline.
- 100per cent of Guess laundries to complete Higg FEM Environmental Survey
Over 25 per cent of Guess suppliers by volume completed the Higg FEM Surveys during FY 2018-2019. Starting at the end of FY 2020, for the next reporting cycle, the brand will track the completion rate specifically for denim laundries.
Women on front
More than 71 per cent out of 14,500+ total employees of the company across the globe are women. Thanks to Future Leaders Program of the company, overall 30 per cent of new retail assistant manager positions came from internal promotions rather than external hires.
Strong global presence
- 1,162 retail stores are there, directly operated by the company in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
- 562 additional retail stores are there worldwide operated by the company’s partners and distributors.
- 100+ countries around the world are there;Guess is present with full range of denim, apparels and accessories.