DATA

THE PROS:

Established in April 2001, The Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation is a charitable organization with a mission to support programs for cancer care and prevention, education, and community building in underserved areas.

The brand reports that it promotes supplier compliance with its Operating Guidelines through capacity building and factory efficiency trainings. Ralph Lauren Corporation states that it engages vendors in continuous improvement programs. The company uses a program that focuses on training mid- to lower-level management. Ralph Lauren Corporation reports that these managers learn essential skills to better manage the workforce and improve the overall factory environment.

THE CONS:

The brand does not publicly disclose the countries in which its suppliers are located or the supplier names and addresses.

The brand does not publicly share any policy against the use of cotton sourced from Uzbekistan in its products.

Ralph Lauren sells products made from angora.

 

/ Ralph Lauren Corporation owns Polo Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Ralph Lauren Collection, Black Label, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, RRL, RLX, Ralph Lauren Childrenswear, Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren, American Living, Chaps and Club Monaco.

/ Ralph Lauren sells its products via 466 retail stores, 536 concession-based shop-within-shops, and 10 e-commerce sites.

/ The brand works with over 700 foreign manufacturers.

/ As of March 28, 2015, the brand had approximately 25,000 employees.

/ The brand’s net revenue for 2015 was $7.62 billion.

 

/ According to Ralph Lauren Corporation over 97% of the brand’s products (by dollar value) were produced outside the U.S., primarily in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. In its 2015 Citizenship Report, the brand states that 83% of its products were manufactured in the Asia Pacific region, 9% were manufactured in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and 8% were manufactured in the Americas.

/ It is unclear if the brand can trace its entire supply chain.

The brand does not publicly disclose the countries in which its suppliers are located or the supplier names and addresses.

Rank A Brand gave Ralph Lauren an E rating. Rank a Brand state that Ralph Lauren has achieved the E-label, because only a little information is published about a policy on sustainability. According to the organisation, it’s hard to see the effort Ralph Lauren is making on sustainability and more policy and transparency is needed

/ The brand has a system for basing sourcing decision on supplier labour conditions including third party assessments and on-site evaluations. This on-site evaluation forms the basis of the Ralph Lauren Corporation’s vendor scorecard, which rates vendors’ manufacturing workmanship and quality capabilities, workplace conditions and human rights practices and policies, as well as customs compliance and security practices.

/ Ralph Lauren Corporation states that its business partners must comply with all laws regulating local wages, overtime compensation, and legally mandated benefits, and that wage and benefit policies must be consistent with prevailing national standards. In some of the countries that Ralph Lauren Corporation may operate in, national living wage standards are less than living wage calculations.

/ Ralph Lauren Corporation states that it regularly monitors its vendors’ manufacturing facilities through independent third-party social audits and on-site visits by the brand’s internal team. It is unclear what levels and how much of its supply chain the brand audits.

/ The brand does not publicly share any policy banning the practice of sandblasting.

/ The brand does not publicly share any policy against the use of cotton sourced from Uzbekistan in its products.

/ In 2014, Huffington Post reported activists rallying against Ralph Lauren for its refusal to sign an international agreement that seeks to improve conditions for factory workers in Bangladesh. Ralph Lauren said in a statement to HuffPost that less than 3 percent of the company’s clothes are made in Bangladesh, where it does business with 15 factories. Its internal auditing systems include fire and building safety and worker surveys, and it participates in the International Labor Organization’s Better Work program, which provides additional “in-factory monitoring,” the company said.

Ralph Lauren Corporation has a Global Testing and Quality Assurance Program, which enforces testing protocol to ensure that products are tested at various stages of the supply chain and production to meet applicable legal, quality and durability requirements.

/ Ralph Lauren sells products made from angora.

/ In 2015, Ecouterre reported that activists from the Rainforest Action Network had targeted Ralph Lauren for allegedly contributing to deforestation, human-rights abuses, and climate pollution. The demonstration outside the 2015 Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards at Lincoln Center in New York City  was part of the nonprofit’s broader “Out of Fashion” campaign, which accuses Ralph Lauren of making clothes at the expense of the environment.

/ GoodGuide gave Ralph Lauren an overall score of 4.0 out of 10. The brand received 3.9 for the environment category and the company’s environmental policies, practices and performance place it among the worst 50% of companies rated by GoodGuide. 

/ Ralph Lauren Corporation began measuring its carbon footprint in 2012. The brand measures Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions for its offices, retail stores and distribution centers in North America and Europe. Ralph Lauren Corporation’s emissions have steadily increased since 2009. In 2015 the brand emitted approximately 70,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

/ The brand does not share any goals regarding how it is working to improve environmental and social conditions in its supply chain. Do you know of any?

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

/ In 2015, the brand’s CEO at the time, Ralph Lauren, earned $23,957,577 in total compensation.

/ Ralph Lauren Corporation is a publicly traded company.

/ In 2009, Huffington Post reported that Ralph Lauren had apologised for photoshopping the image of a model in one of its advertisements to “impossible thinness”. The model in the advertisement was apparently fired for being too fat.

/ In 2013, Huffington Post reported that a Ralph Lauren advertisement promoted cultural appropriation and was insensitive to Native Americans.

/ In 2016, Reuters reported that a Manhattan designer of stuffed animals sued Ralph Lauren Corporation, accusing it of creating an illegal market for stuffed teddy bears resembling her own. She said that the company sells knockoffs in its own stores, online and through retailers such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue.

 

/ The brand reports that it is affiliated with the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s (CFDA’s) Fashion Manufacturing Initiative (FMI) Program. Ralph Lauren Corporation participates in the FMI selection committee that reviews and evaluates candidates (New York City based production facilities) for participation in the FMI grant program.

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VOICES

BRIHANNALA MORGAN (QUOTED BY JASMIN MALIK CHUA) | ECOUTERRE

“The time has come for the fashion industry, and in particular Ralph Lauren, to take responsibility for its impacts on people and the planet and to publicly adopt binding policies that prevent deforestation, human rights abuses, and climate pollution from being woven into the fabrics Americans wear everyday.”

“As one of the biggest fashion brands in the world, Ralph Lauren has the ability and resources to ensure that human-rights abuses and forest destruction won’t be a part of (its) next collection.” – 6/3/2021


KIM BHASIN & LINDSEY RUPP | BLOOMBERG

“Ralph Lauren faces a brutal competitive environment, with the rise of fast-fashion powerhouses such as Zara, H&M, and Forever 21, and a shift toward online sales attacking the brand from all sides.”

“For Ralph Lauren, it’s always been about bringing classic Americana to the masses, whether designs that evoke the romanticized American West, denim workwear that oozes American industry, or preppy polos that vibe with the American Northeast. It’s a label that transports feelings of the past to the present day. By nature, since it’s constantly diving into nostalgia, there’s always the threat of the brand becoming tired and worn out.” – 9/30/2015

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