Environmental and social impact issues have captured the world’s attention like never before — influencing purchasing behavior and driving sustainability-focused consumer activism.
Led by younger generations, investors and NGOs, and in many cases supported by brand owners, movements calling for social justice reform, climate action, and more have gained global momentum. The conversation around the responsibility of business to support sustainable development has shifted from a nice-to-have to a need-to-do.
Fulfilling this expectation requires many organizations to adopt an entirely new approach to business but, for PVH, it further validates the critical role corporate responsibility (“CR”) has always played within our broader business strategy. We strive to do the right thing for our people, our stockholders, our communities and our planet — and prioritize long-term benefits over short-term goals. In May of 2019, we launched our new CR strategy — Forward Fashion — setting a new level of ambition and transparency to drive transformational change across both PVH and our industry.
It is important to acknowledge that we are living in a very different world than we were just a few months ago. As I write this letter, we are still navigating our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, which has severely affected every aspect of the apparel industry, from the closure of retail stores globally, to impacts on associates, consumers and supply chain workers, their families and their communities.
Our values as an organization and our longstanding commitment to CR continue to drive our approach to decisions we make as a business — and this is especially important in times of crisis. Nothing is more important to us than our people, and our priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of our associates. To date, we have supplied over ten million face masks to associates worldwide and we have expanded the offerings on our education platform, PVH University, which includes courses ranging from remote working skills to mental health and wellness. Our global employee assistance programs are available 24/7 to provide advice and guidance and, for colleagues in the U.S. in need, our Associate Relief Fund is providing financial support to those severely impacted as a result of the pandemic.
We collaborated with our industry peers, NGOs, governments and worker and employer representatives to create and endorse the International Labour Organization’s call to action to protect garment workers during the pandemic. Thanks to the innovative thinking and agility of our associates, we were able to source and supply over six million units of personal protective equipment (“PPE”) for healthcare workers on the front lines. And, through The PVH Foundation, we have donated over $2 million to COVID-19 relief efforts, including to our long-term partner Better Work, to support activities benefitting suppliers and workers through the crisis. We continue to explore meaningful ways to address the needs of the communities where we work and live, collaborating alongside our partners to address ongoing human and business impacts.
Against the backdrop of the pandemic, we are also witnessing a global movement against systemic racism and social inequality in the U.S. and around the world. At PVH, we condemn racial discrimination and stand against the social injustice that has plagued the U.S. and other countries for so long. We believe that Black lives matter. This should not be a controversial or divisive statement — it is a universal truth. Within this report we have been transparent about representation and diversity across our company. We have a lot more to do — and we are fully committed to doing the work. Over the next few months we will be publishing a set of targets focused on racial equality, representation and advancement, and we commit to disclosing the actions being taken across our organization to meet these targets.
Our current reality and evolving business challenges require us to be agile but we remain committed to delivering on our long-term Forward Fashion strategy and targets, and to reporting on our progress. We cannot lose the momentum gained in 2019.
While the apparel industry will be uniquely transformed post-pandemic, we have a responsibility to help shape this “new normal” for the benefit of all stakeholders. We are steadfast in our commitments to prioritize climate action, to build tighter, more resilient supply chains, to fight for social justice, and to deliver more sustainable products to our consumers.
This cannot be achieved by one company alone. I’ve been encouraged by the shift in our industry toward collaboration for common solutions. 2019 saw a number of significant initiatives and partnerships that I believe will be powerful forces for achieving change at scale.
Particularly with the significant challenges we have all faced so far in 2020, I could not be prouder of our PVH associates around the world. I want to thank every one of them for their hard work, dedication and integrity. It is through the hardest times that we see the true strength of our collective character, and my confidence in PVH and its ability to drive fashion forward — for good — is unwavering.
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
2019 was a year defined by positive momentum for CR at PVH. Centered around the launch of our ambitious sustainability strategy — Forward Fashion — we set a new level of ambition and transparency for sustainable business — and our 15 timebound targets provide a clear plan of action to achieve this.
Building on many years of hard work, the launch of Forward Fashion was a landmark moment for us as leaders of the CR team. We quickly pivoted from planning to action through program implementation, signing impactful pledges, and joining industry groups that aligned with our strategy and harnessed the power of partnership to drive lasting positive change.
We are pleased to share our 12th annual CR Report with you, which honors our commitment to accountability and transparency by reporting the advancements we have made over the last 12 months. We are extremely proud of what our teams have accomplished and, while you will notice that we have approached this year’s report differently and scaled back our storytelling content to be sensitive to the current pandemic environment, we continue to increase transparency by sharing more detailed performance data and progress indicators. We will continue to expand our data disclosure from year to year and, as appropriate, we will also share more in-depth narratives about our work. While there is still much more to do, we are dedicated to making our progress publicly available, and to holding ourselves accountable to being transparent about opportunities for improvement.
The unprecedented challenge brought on early this year with the rapid spread of COVID-19 continues to have a profound impact across the entire apparel value chain. A crisis of this scale demands a collaborative industry response and, while the power of collective action has always been at the heart of our strategy and how we lead our teams, during these challenging times it has never been more critical. We are working actively alongside our peers and stakeholders, and adapting many of our CR actions both to tackle immediate issues and to plan ahead for emerging social and environmental needs.
Both the pandemic and the recent global uprising against systemic racism and social inequality have exposed the fragility and injustices of many of our global systems. As we navigate the path toward recovery, we are presented with a responsibility — and an opportunity — to emerge stronger than before and build back a better, more just and resilient future for all people, for the planet and for business.
While this moment in time is truly trying for so many, we can — and will — rebuild stronger by doing the hard work required to reach our Forward Fashion targets, by ensuring CR continues to play a vital role in our business recovery plans, and by fostering the connections and collaborations with our stakeholders that are necessary to drive transformation at scale.
It is a journey that is often difficult, always humbling and infinitely rewarding. We thank you all for joining us.
Chief Risk Officer
Marissa Pagnani McGowan
Senior Vice President, Corporate Responsibility