Dubbed the U.S. Regenerative Cotton Fund, or USRCF, the initiative mobilizes some 1 million acres of U.S. cotton cropland toward regenerative practices, among them cover cropping, no tillage and compost use.
Participating partners of the fund include Cotton Incorporated, National Cotton Council and Field to Market.
Roseann Lynch, Ralph Lauren Corp.’s chief people officer and head of the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation, stressed the fund “is an ambitious effort” that “puts growers at the center of creating a sustainable future for U.S. cotton production.” Cotton makes up more than 80 percent of Ralph Lauren Corp.’s total material use and the USRCF initiative complements the brand’s recent material and dye process investments.
The USRCF will initially operate in four states including Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi and Georgia, with expansion plans to Alabama, North Carolina, Missouri, California and Oklahoma as these nine states represent 85 percent of U.S. cotton production.
The Soil Health Institute will work closely with cotton farmers to help them prioritize soil health management systems on their operations and monitor gains through soil health and soil carbon targets measurements.
PVH Expands Diversity Recruiting: As part of its diversity recruitment priorities, announced Wednesday, PVH has expanded its partnership with Fashion for All Foundation, or FFA, carving out additional internship, job, education and mentorship opportunities.
Under the expanded program, FFA will deliver year-round student programming, including mock interviews, résumé writing clinics, networking workshops and opportunities to meet professionals in the industry. The programming centers around access for women, Black, Indigenous and people of color communities, LGBTQ individuals and those “with diverse abilities,” per FFA.
“Both at PVH and within the broader fashion industry, we are committed to addressing the significant barriers to entry for underserved or underrepresented communities. That’s why we’re excited to expand our partnership with Fashion for All Foundation and bring our shared commitment toward diversity, equity and inclusion in the fashion industry to life,” said Lance LaVergne, chief diversity officer and senior vice president global talent acquisition and associate experience.
Hannah Stoudemire, cofounder at FFA, said she “can’t think of a better partner than PVH Corp. to continue to put a real dent in difference making in the areas of diversity, equality and inclusion as it pertains to student programming opportunities.”
PVH and FFA have been working together for a number of years through PVH’s Summer Intensive Program, placing FFA students and alumni in internships and full-time roles at PVH.
VF’s New Targets: Publishing its latest “Made for Change” report Tuesday, VF Corp. has tacked on 12 new goals on people, planet and profit.
Sean Cady, vice president of global sustainability, responsibility and trade at VF Corp., enforced that VF finds a “reciprocal relationship between purpose and profit,” in the report, the fourth sustainability and responsibility report from VF. It spans supply chain, equity and inclusion principles and a number of reduction targets.
Among the 12 new goals, VF said it will “aspire to achieve 25 percent representation of Black, Indigenous and people of color representation within our director and above population by 2030 in the U.S.”
As the company looks to broaden diversity and inclusion gains, it also highlighted as new goals supplier diversity spend, hiring opportunities, employee representation and pay equity — among associates, sponsored athletes and influencers — by 2024.
VF bookmarked a number of goals on people while marking out progress. Per the report, more than 375 leaders were trained on VF’s inclusion and unconscious bias. (VF did not specify the outcome or success of training.)
The report also underlined workplace goals and progress. For one, the company said it helped 290,315 workers on its goal to improve 1 million worker lives by 2025. VF said it would amplify the voices of “in-scope supply chain workers through gender-proportional workplace committees,” which has a puzzling resemblance to unions but remains to be clarified by the company.
VF touted progress on emissions including a 17 percent reduction in direct emissions (on track to cut emissions by 55 percent by 2030). Despite business growth, VF saw no “corresponding increase in Scope 3 emissions” (or indirect). On the materials front, VF touted 75 percent of all cotton purchased by VF as grown in the U.S., Australia or under a third-party sourcing scheme.
The company also said it will “eliminate all nonessential, single-use plastics from VF direct operations and sponsored events by 2023.”
Fair Harbor Inks Funding: Fair Harbor, the sustainable men’s swimwear brand founded by siblings Caroline and Jake Danehy, has found a backer.
Gerber Finance, an e-capital company focused on backing companies experiencing strong growth, has invested $7 million into the business. The funding will fuel Fair Harbor’s plans to expand into a full lifestyle brand for men, women and children.
Since its founding in 2014, Fair Harbor has been focused on building a business centered around turning post-consumer recycled water bottles into swimwear and apparel. To date, the brand has recycled more than 10 million bottles. Sales exceeded $18 million last year and the brand has since expanded into shirts, hoodies, T-shirts and Henleys. It also launched a kids’ line.
“We chose Gerber Finance for two reasons,” said Jake Danehy, chief executive officer of Fair Harbor. “First, they offer a more creative financing structure than we saw elsewhere in the market, and this structure will be pivotal in facilitating our continued growth. And we spoke with some of Gerber’s existing clients and they all said Gerber stands out by being a true partner through good times and bad. We’re most excited about that partnership as we work with Gerber to continue to build our business.”
Jennifer Palmer, CEO of Gerber Finance, pointed to Fair Harbor’s “incredible growth” as well as the “passion and purpose” of the Danehys as the primary reason for its investment. “Fair Harbor’s model of turning recycled water bottles into clothing aligns with our commitment to fund companies giving back to the community and the planet through our Naturally Gerber Finance division, and we look forward to supporting their continued success,” Palmer said.
Gerber is focused on helping to grow natural products companies including Honey Stinger, Stasher and Pact, another sustainable apparel brand.