LETTER FROM EILEEN
I am very pleased to share the news that EILEEN FISHER is now a New York State benefit corporation. That means we have a legal obligation to use our business to preserve the environment, empower women and girls, support the fair treatment of all people and advance ethical business practices through our collaborations with other industry leaders.
I invite you to read our 2017 Benefit Report—our first-ever public report of this kind—to learn how we’re doing. This report represents more than a few statistics. It tells the story of where we are in our journey toward greater human and environmental well-being. It also serves as a guide to the hard work that still needs to be done.
I hope you’ll sense the pride we feel for all that we have accomplished so far. We’ve made substantial progress reducing the environmental and social impact of our products, nearly achieving our VISION2020 goals for cotton and linen, while also advancing our other goals around chemistry, water, carbon and worker well-being. We’ve used our voice to propel the industry forward through strategic partnerships by sharing best practices, speaking out about our experiences and supporting promising initiatives that have the potential for radical change.
Though we’ve made great progress, we’re far from done. We have a commitment to create an inclusive workplace, but we’ve fallen far short of the diversity we want for our employees and our leaders. Similarly, we’re just beginning to think about how to integrate our values around environmental sustainability, women & girls and human rights so they aren’t siloed efforts: we believe that the true power of change happens when they intersect. We know every business decision throughout the company must consider the impact on these connected values—and we need to create the conditions that make that possible. These are just some of the opportunities facing us as we continue a complex journey.
The Benefit Report represents the extraordinary efforts of many talented people and teams in the company. It is just a start—we hope to show up every year at this time with some indication that we’ve listened and grown, that our journey has more positive impact than negative, and that we’ve made the world a little better along the way.
I invite you to read our 2017 Benefit Report.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM OUR 2017 BENEFIT REPORT
These are the 4 areas of impact that we promise to effect through our business—and what we did in 2017 to make that happen.
Benefit #1: We are committed to designing clothing that creates minimal environmental and social harm.
We know that our clothes have environmental and social impact. We take full responsibility for their entire lifecycle, from the natural resources needed to make them to the well-being of the workers involved. And for what happens after our customers no longer need them.
Progress we made in 2017 with our materials:
- 95% of our cotton was recycled or organic (our 2020 goal is 100%).
- 94% of our linen was organic (our 2020 goal is 100%).
- We increased the total amount of eco materials we produced from 48% of our line in 2016 to 58% in 2017, a 10-point leap.
Progress we’ve made through EILEEN FISHER Renew, the program that is leading our commitment to circular design:
Benefit #2: We are committed to creating an inclusive workplace that respects and honors differences in gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and political views.
- We took back 200,000 garments, 18% more than in 2016. That’s
roughly 4% of the number of new clothes we produced last year.
- We sold 70,000 Renewed, or gently worn, pieces—22% of the total number we’ve sold since we launched the Renew program in 2009.
Here’s why: We recognize that no one thrives alone, that we are part of a larger whole. We create conditions that empower people, that let them be their full selves, so that we can all thrive together.
Progress we’ve made toward an inclusive workplace:
Benefit #3: We believe in conducting business in ways that empower women and girls, support the fair treatment of all people and preserve the environment.
- 84% of our employees are women and 77% of our leaders (director and above) are women.
- 35% of our employees identify as persons of color and 20% of our leaders (director and above) identify as persons of color—numbers that fall short of where we want to be.
Here’s why: We know it’s not only possible for a company to be successful both as a business and as a force for positive change, it’s necessary—in fact, it’s the only business model that’s sustainable.
What we did in 2017:
Benefit #4: We strive to work collaboratively and transparently with other companies in the fashion industry to advance ethical business practices.
- In 2017, our total giving was $1,474,496 for US, UK and Canada Retail Giving, as well as for corporate donations and grants to 308 organizations
- We gave $1,474,496 to 308 organizations through our US, UK and Canada retail partnerships, corporate donations and grants.
- We created a new division of the company, called Impact & Innovation, dedicated to fostering disruptive business ideas around sustainability and women & girls that support our quadruple bottom line.
Here’s why: We recognize that we cannot do this work in a silo. We need to share our successes and learn from the experiences of others in our industry to use business as a force for good.
What we did in 2017:
- We signed Global Fashion Agenda’s 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment and pledged to achieve circular targets by 2020.
- We maintained an open-door policy at our Tiny Factory for anyone wanting to experience circularity firsthand.
- We joined the Steering Committee of the New York State Council on Women and Girls.