In the last year, the fashion house, parent to the Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman brands, has changed its entire c-suite, pursued global expansion and implemented technologies that alter the consumer shopping experience.
But behind the scenes, there were many things happening, too: some small, some large and some multiyear.
“We are encouraged by our achievements during 2019,” Jide Zeitlin, Tapestry’s chairman and chief executive officer, wrote in Tapestry’s 2019 Corporate Responsibility Report.
But, he added, “The road ahead represents our biggest test yet. More than ever, we are focused on driving meaningful positive change for the betterment of our employees and their families, our partners, our communities, and for a safe and sustainable planet.
“With COVID-19’s rapid spread across the globe, we are living through a period of historical significance that will impact each of our lives for years to come,” Zeitlin said. “This is a moment when our actions are particularly important. It is in times of uncertainty when large corporations, like ours, have the greatest responsibility to our people and the communities we are a part of. At our best, corporations have clarity of purpose. This clarity, plus our resources and reach, multiply our influence for good, or bad, as we make decisions that impact employees and members of society.”
The seventh-annual report, which details the company’s performance for fiscal-year 2019, or the period between July 1, 2018 and June 29, 2019, is a sort of report card on how well the company is doing in terms of its social and environmental efforts.
Here, WWD pulled a few takeaways from the report.
In April 2019, Tapestry laid the blueprint for its 2025 goals. Among them was the intent to create a more diverse leadership team at Tapestry North America and across its brands. The plan included hiring more ethnic minorities in North America, filling 60 percent of senior-level roles — vice president or higher — internally in an effort to support career advancement and reducing differences in the company’s Employee Survey Inclusion Index scores based on gender and ethnicity.
Now, one year in, the company is making headway. As of June 2019, three out of Tapestry’s eight board members are women, while four are ethnic minorities. Women also make up the majority of leadership positions within the company: 60 percent. In fact, across all categories, from leadership down to in-store associates, women are the majority.
There’s one exception though: the boardroom.
Tapestry’s board — which makes the majority of the decisions, such as hiring and firing, executive compensations and how much of a dividend should be paid to shareholders — is made up of 62.5 percent men and just 37.5 percent women.
Across ethnic lines, the board is split: 50 percent caucasian and 50 percent minorities. Meanwhile, 70 percent of leadership teams in North America, including Puerto Rico, are caucasian, with just 20 percent noncaucasian and another 10 percent unspecified.
Caucasians also make up the majority of the corporate workforce: 52 percent. Another 40 percent is noncaucasian, while 8 percent is unspecified. The only area where minorities are the majority is in the company’s in-store retail workforce: 54 percent noncaucasian, 34 percent caucasian and 12 percent unspecified.
To help even out the disparities, the retailer created the Tapestry Inclusion Council in 2019. The group was created with two coleaders from the company’s diversity and inclusion department and aims to ensure that people with diverse perspectives and backgrounds are part of the company’s decision-making process.
In addition, Kate Spade New York has the ongoing Heroines of Her Own Story speaker series, which organizes panel discussions between successful females and Kate Spade’s corporate team. This year’s series hosted conversations with Sylvia Acevedo, the ceo of Girls Scouts of the USA; Nancy Lublin, founder and ceo of Crisis Text Line, as well as Dress for Success; Beth Comstock, author and former vice chair of business innovation at GE, and Adrienne Nolan Smith, founder of lifestyle platform WellBe.
Tapestry is working to minimize its impact on the planet — a lofty task for a fashion company that operates in 65 countries and employs approximately 21,000 people.
Still, by 2025, the retailer is aiming to reduce emissions, conserve water throughout the supply chain and up its usage of recyclable cardboard and other paper goods.
It also hopes to source 90 percent of its leather from tanneries that are rated silver or gold level by the Leather Working Group, an organization that rates leather manufacturers around the world. As of June 29, 63 percent of the leather Tapestry sourced was at this level — 32.6 percent gold level and 29.9 percent at silver level.
In addition, Tapestry purchased about one million pounds of Repreve, the material made from recycled water bottles, in aggregate, as of June 2019. That’s roughly 27 million plastic bottles, which are used mostly by Kate Spade as lining for some of its handbags. The energy saved in this process was enough to power 255 homes for one year, according to the report.
Tapestry also reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 2.4 percent in 2019, compared with the year prior. (The company is aiming to achieve a 20 percent reduction in levels, compared with the 2017 baseline, by 2025.)
“One of the most responsible things we can do as a company is to make high-quality products from durable materials that last for years,” the report read.
Meanwhile, Tapestry’s use of shopping bags and shipping boxes made from a percentage of recycled materials varies across brands. More than 70 percent of Coach’s bags and boxes are made from recycled materials across stores and outlet centers, while Kate Spade used about 55 percent (slightly more in shopping bags found in outlet centers.) Stuart Weitzman bags at both retail and outlet stores were made from 50 percent recycled materials, while boxes in both types of stores were made from 85 percent recycled materials.
Still, Tapestry received a “C” on the CDP’s annual Forests survey, the nonprofit that tracks the environmental impact of major corporations. A “C” rating means Tapestry has a general awareness and understanding of the impact it is making on the environment.
The retailer also received a “C” from CDP on its water conservation efforts. That could be because Tapestry’s water consumption throughout the supply chain was mixed. At retail locations, water consumption increased 32 percent, compared with a year earlier, while the corporate global water usage fell 9 percent during the same period.
Tapestry’s humanitarian efforts go beyond its workforce. In fact, over the last year, the retailer donated its time and money to help make the world a little better for the community and its people.
In 2019, the Coach Foundation donated $3.2 million to philanthropic causes around the world. Coach is also one of the founding patrons of the West Side Community Fund, a New York City-based initiative — which includes other businesses from New York’s Hudson Yards shopping center — to support local nonprofits. The fund has granted upwards of $440,000 to more than 50 of Hudson Yards community projects since its inception in March 2019.
Zeitlin said it’s only natural that Tapestry would want to support startups and entrepreneurs — especially in New York City — home to all three brands.
“Coach, Kate Spade New York and Stuart Weitzman were once small businesses,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Kate Spade New York Foundation donated more than $1 million to support mental health and other gender-specific programs for women in the New York- New Jersey area.
In addition, Tapestry donated more than 65,000 products — items across all three brands, such as interview attire for the underprivileged — to nonprofit partners. Tapestry employees also donated more than 5,750 hours of their time in 2019, volunteering for local causes, such as soup kitchens, high schools and cultural events.