Ralph Lauren announced this month that it will be the latest company to join others in committing to source sustainable supply chain products. The multi-national has communicated this commitment to its vendors, and will trace the source of wood based products to ensure that they are not derived as a product or byproduct of deforestation or human rights violations.
Later this year, the company is expected to publish its sourcing guidelines, and to implement them in practice. The policy is a collaboration with Rainforest Action Network, an organization which pressures companies to employ responsible practices in manufacturing and sourcing. Rainforest sourced products are frequently used in the manufacture of clothing products, such as rayon, viscose and modal. Rainforest Action Network created the Out of Fashion campaign in an effort to encourage consumers to demand that responsible sourcing be utilized by top fashion brands.
Earlier this month, Unilever released a research-based report which cites that environmentally and socially conscious practices are good for a company’s bottom line. The study included a survey and purchase mapping of 20,000 adults in 5 countries, and concluded that 33% of consumers are choosing products which they believe promote environmental or social good. The study projects that these consumers represent an untapped market of approximately $1,024B. Unilever itself generates over a $1B annually solely from sustainably sourced and marketed products.
Unilever and Ralph Lauren are only two of the over 60 brands working with Rainforest Action Network to improve sustainable sourcing practices. Among these are H&M, Levi Strauss & Co., and Stella McCartney.