Company events such as the United Way fundraiser at Perry Ellis  International helps firms play a role in social responsibility.

Being a good corporate citizen requires a lot of work.

The concept of corporate social responsibility speaks to a mind-set that balances a company’s business model with ecological and social concerns. CSR requires a forward-thinking approach in how to build processes that push forward the focus of the business to make money and improve the well-being of its employees and society.

For fashion firms, what probably comes to mind most often is the impact that improved manufacturing operations can have on the environment. But an equally important and growing focus at many companies is its corporate conscience. While CSR programs can take many forms, the central concept is focused on how a company conducts business that addresses the concerns of its employees, customers and shareholders.

Companies that have a good CSR program also garner another benefit — it can help build a company’s reputation and, in turn, become the firm’s best form of advertising. Many consumers also seek out brands that share their concern for the environment. And for public companies, there are investors, including institutional funds, who ally themselves with companies that share their values on social responsibility.

Below is a selection of some firms in the fashion industry and what they are doing in the area of CSR.

 

Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

The teen retailer’s Hollister brand has been at the forefront of the stance against teen bullying. And the corporate parent since 2013 has raised more than $2 million for organizations that support antibullying initiatives. But the company also was once plagued by criticism that store associates at its core Abercrombie & Fitch brand were hired only if they had a certain “look.” Chief executive officer Fran Horowitz called those perceptions “outdated.”

“Our global team has worked hard, particularly over the last four years under new leadership, to evolve and ensure that inclusivity is integrated into all that we do — it’s a critical element of our company’s values and formally detailed in our policies,” Horowitz said.

In the last few years, the company has partnered with organizations that support social change and are in alignment with its customer base, such as Roc Nation’s Made in America and The Trevor Project. The company was recently ranked number 1 out of the 55 Fortune 1000 companies in Ohio for gender diversity by the National Diversity Council. Horowitz said the company also has been designated as one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality,” a designation by the Human Rights Campaign Foundations’ Corporate Equality Index.

The company offers domestic partner benefits, six weeks of paid parental leave, phased return from leave, among other benefits that help balance work and home.

Horowitz said corporate sustainability initiatives include programs with vendor partners where the company’s products are made, as well as at the home office. And she said the company has various events to educate its staff about recycling and sustainability issues. Further, there is now close to 40 preferred parking spaces at its Columbus, Ohio, headquarters’ campus for associates with electric and/or plug-in hybrid cars. “We’ve also reduced our printing and shipping overseas by 50 percent and have increased our recycling of paper, cardboard, denim, chambray and fabric swaps across campus,” the ceo said.

Abercrombie’s largest corporate partnership is SeriousFun Children’s Network. Founded by actor and philanthropist Paul Newman, the organization is a global community of camps and programs to aid children who have serious illnesses and their families. So far, more than 300 company employees have volunteered at 15 SeriousFun Camps for a week at a time as counselors, and through customers and partners, Abercrombie this year has raised close to $4 million for the organization. Other partnerships include Room to Read, which has enabled the company to identify areas in need near factories where Abercrombie can make significant contributions to local libraries, and World Vision, a global humanitarian organization through which the teen retailer has donated more than $5 million in excess apparel inventory for families and children in need in Africa and other regions around the world.

An Abercrombie associate at the company’s Operation Warm Coat Giving event last week.  Courtesy Photo

 

Canada Goose

The Canadian outerwear firm in 2009 founded its Resource Center Program, which provides excess materials that otherwise would have been wasted to Inuit sewers in the northern most regions of Canada. The materials — about 1 million meters of fabric to date, are transported by First Air via cargo planes on trips already headed to the area with shipments of food and other deliveries, further helping with sustainability efforts.

Canada Goose gives employees opportunities to travel to places such as Nunavut and Manitoba to experience how the company is helping sustain the local communities and animal populations. And pushing forth its mantra that “doing good is good for business,” the company incorporates philanthropic support of the North into its human resource programs and in outfitting scientists, explorers and conservationists.

 

The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.

The beauty firm is known for its philanthropic activities at the corporate level and for its support of causes its employees care about.

Nancy Mahon, senior vice president, global corporate citizenship and sustainability, said, “We are in the golden age of purpose. Consumers, current and prospective employees, investors and partners are all saying ‘Yes, we care that your company cares.’ To be a successful, sustainable company today, we need to continue to look for ways to make the world a better place — both inside our office walls and in the communities where we operate.”

Corporate programs include the breast cancer campaign, which is active in more than 70 countries and has raised more than $76 million globally for lifesaving research, education and medical services with the goal of creating a breast-cancer-free world; a charitable foundation that operates grant portfolios focused on health, education and the environment, and good works, a digital platform where employees can sign up for volunteer activities and register donations for match by company funds.

There are also brand-specific initiatives. MAC has its HIV/AIDS Fund and the Back-to MAC Program, a recycling program for the return of certain packaging materials. Aveda focuses on responsible manufacturing using renewable energy, ingredient sourcing and packaging. Aveda was also the first beauty company to use 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials, and all products are manufactured with 100 percent wind power through renewable energy credits and carbon offsets that help balance electrical and natural gas usage.

On the diversity and inclusion front, the company is continuing with a global rollout of programs, primarily educational in nature, that adjust to local workplace cultures, governmental influences and business leadership. There are also employee resource groups where they can they use the platform to share experiences and ideas. More than 85 percent of the worldwide workforce is female; 52 percent of the staff holding vice president positions and above are women; 55 percent have worked outside their countries of origin, and 43 percent of U.S. employees are minorities, the company said.

Aveda’s products are manufactured at factories using wind power.  Courtesy Photo

 

Etsy

Women comprise 55 percent of the company at the marketplace platform, along with 50 percent board representation. And as a show of the technology company’s push on gender diversity, the engineering team as of the end of June was 31 percent female, compared with an average of less than 15 percent representation in the tech industry, according to an Etsy spokeswoman. She added that the company is expanding processes to mitigate bias in recruiting and performance management.

Much of the push on D&I efforts is due to Josh Silverman, Etsy’s ceo. In addition to signing the CEO D&I pledge, Silverman is chairman of Code Nation, a nonprofit that helps students in underresourced high schools with skills, experiences, and connections that provide them with access to careers in technology.

The company offers 26-weeks of gender-blind parental leave for a birth or adoption. It also offers paid volunteer time off. It is rolling out paid family leave, and has entered into partnerships to offer back-up child-care services and access to wellness and fitness programs.

On the sustainability front, the company has a commitment to run zero-waste operations by 2020, which is defined as diverting a minimum of 90 percent of outgoing waste from landfill or incineration.  Last year, the company diverted 87 percent of its waste through recycling, compost and donation programs. Other initiatives include powering its operations with 100 percent renewable electricity by 2020. It procured 30 percent of energy from renewable sources across global operations in 2017. It also is planning to reduce the intensity of its energy use in its offices and computing infrastructure by 25 percent by 2025. That would be up from a 3 percent reduction in office energy intensity in 2017, measured in kilowatts per square foot and based on a 2016 baseline. The company this year began a multiyear move to the Google Cloud Platform to transition away from operating its own data center infrastructure.

 

Levi Strauss & Co.

The company’s commitment to service is grounded in its founder’s contributions to society. San Francisco businessman Levi Strauss donated some of his first profits to an area orphanage, and he pushed to integrate factories in the South before the Civil Rights Act. Today the company offers matching gift programs and grants through the Levi Strauss Foundation to organizations assisting vulnerable communities. Levi’s also offers assistance and support to current and retired employees and their families in times of need through the Red Tab Foundation.

On the sustainability front, Service Corps is a program that lets employees visit locations where Levi’s has a supply chain operation to better understand the scale of the operation and experience the company’s Worker Well-Being program. A climate action strategy aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent and use 100 percent renewable energy in company owned-and-operated facilities by 2025. There are also goals to reduce emissions in its global supply chain by 2025, and similar goals for the reduction of use of water and chemicals in the supply chain. That’s on top of the LEED Gold certified office building that includes in-office sustainability measures. The company composts all food and flatware in the cafeteria, and it collects unused cooked foods to give to a local organization for distribution to people in need.

On the wellness side, the company has a comprehensive wellness program that awards redeemable points for carrying out wellness tasks and offers support on health, sleep and family life. Employees have access to paid hours each month for volunteer work, and work-from-home options.

 

Movado Group Inc.

The company’s chairman and ceo, Efraim Grinberg, has also signed the D&I pledge. “This is something that as a company we believed in for a long time. About nine months ago, PwC, who is our auditor, told me about what they are doing and asked if we are interested in signing their pledge.…They did have a meeting about three weeks ago that was attended by other ceo’s committed to the pledge. It was a whole afternoon of presentations, and something we brought back to the company [to] talk about it,” Grinberg said.

The Day of Understanding on Dec. 7 saw Movado posting a number of videos provided by PwC. Employees were sent an e-mail about the videos with a notation that, while voluntary, it was suggested that they watch the short clips to get a better understanding about inclusion and diversity. The e-mail included an invitation for them to individually pledge to “check your bias, speak up for others and show up for all.”

Grinberg said, “This was not only the right thing to do, it is also good for business….We do business all over the world, and it is important to understand other cultures and people’s perspectives. It has been proven that companies that have a higher level of inclusiveness become better companies [and] play a bigger role as employers of choice and as global citizens.”

On the sustainability front, the company at its corporate headquarters in Paramus, N.J., has made a commitment to reduce waste by not using plastics and only using recyclable containers. The head office frequently hosts seminars and fairs on health care and retirement to ensure employees are aware of their best options.

The company participates in other opportunities for it and its employees to give to communities. Earlier this month, the company underwrote an evening — Movado has done this annually for years — with Derek Jeter to support his foundation and bring in 50 high school teens to expose them to different career opportunities. This year they went to the sets of “Saturday Night Live” and “The Jimmy Fallon Show,” and met with NBC producers. Other volunteer events include providing meals to people in need in New Jersey, supporting the arts program at Lincoln Center, providing internships to design students at Montclair State University, and helping kids who have high potential out of disadvantaged communities to give them better educational support.

 

Perry Ellis International

The company has a range of energy initiatives at the office locations the company owns. LED lighting and solar panels are the primary initiatives. There are sensor lights that turn off in conference rooms, as well as motion and water sensors used in rest rooms.

Yanire Avila, director of social compliance, said the company’s Miami office has a recycling program. “We also partner with Waste Management for tours at a facility so our associates can see first-hand what the process is to recycle materials,” Avila said. There are also water conservation measures at offices here and abroad, as well as clean-up days at a river site and at the beach.

The Miami office houses two charging stations for hybrid vehicles. “The charging station is free to employees. The head of our IT department created a chat group through our internal instant-messaging system where users can work with each other to coordinate use of the stations,” she said. The office is located about a quarter-mile from the parking lot, and the company provides shuttle buses at regular daily intervals to take employees back and forth.

According to Avila, the company has been building out its health and wellness options for employees, which include zumba and yoga classes, workshops on nutrition, wellness events outside of the office and discounts for gyms.

One new program is called Millennial Think Tank, which meets as a group at least once a quarter to share opinions on sustainability and general topics on how to improve processes and understand what is most important to its associates.

 

Procter & Gamble

The conglomerate’s corporate citizen efforts involve areas such as gender equality, D&I, environmental sustainability and community impact. In a 2018 report on corporate citizenship, the 160-page document cited recycling of packaging materials, renewable energy efforts, a goal to reduce by 20 percent freshwater use in manufacturing facilities and constant monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions. One example is the Milenio blades and razors plant in Mexico, which is LEED Silver certified. The plant sends zero manufacturing waste to landfill, reuses treated wastewater and utilizes 100 percent wind electricity. The company also has programs aimed at monitoring the health and safety of its employees and those at its contractors.

The report noted P&G’s efforts to create water-efficient products, such as its Herbal Essences dry shampoo and the Pantene dry oil leave-in conditioning treatment. P&G’s Eastern European Team, in partnership with the Beauty Care Business Unit, replaced plastic gift-set trays with pulp trays made of recycled paper and are biodegradable.

On the gender equality front, the company has programs that help women-run businesses, including a commitment to spend at least $100 million with more than 200 women-owned businesses outside the U.S. The company is working with Sesame Workshop to produce episodes that value a girl’s education and her aspirations. It’s shifted its campaigns to do away with stereotypical thinking. For Olay North America, one campaign does away with conflicting expectations on how to look, feel and behave by encouraging women to “Face Anything.” Olay China says to use “meaningful numbers” instead of years, so “59” would represent not an age but winning 59 championships.

For D&I initiatives, P&G has eight company-sponsored groups that connect employees with similar interests or aspects of diversity. The groups help with networking and professional development. More than 75 percent of P&G employees participate in Flex@work, a program designed to help with work-life integration to manage personal needs and complete work assignments and grow their careers. And P&G’s U.K.’s Reading Innovation Center has a work-experience program for people on the autism spectrum. The program gives P&G’s Talent Supply team an understanding of how to build accommodations in the hiring process for people with autism. P&G is working with a grocery chain in Germany to build inclusive playgrounds for kids, and in 2019, the Herbal Essences brand will include raised indentations on its bottles so people who are visually impaired can distinguish between shampoo and conditioner.

Initiatives that aid with employee well-being include morning tea in Hong Kong, meditation and stretch breaks in São Paulo, and an outdoor walking trail at its Greensboro plant in the U.S. P&G also conducts volunteer events through Habitat for Humanity, park and river cleanups, and participation in the “Sharing Fridge,” a goodwill gesture to the local community by the Dubai office to give low-income workers access to free food and drinks during the Islamic month of Ramadan.

David S. Taylor, P&G’s chairman, president and ceo, noted in the report that the company made progress in each area of the company’s citizenship work in 2018.

Taylor also wrote: “We want to be a force for good and a force for growth. We know that the more we integrate and build Citizenship into how we do business, the bigger the impact we can have on the people we serve, the communities where we live and work and the broader world that surrounds us. In turn, this helps us grow and build our business.”

 

PVH Corp.

In September, PVH Corp. said it joined the RE100, a global corporate leadership initiative moving businesses toward 100 percent renewable electricity. At PVH, the goal is to source 100 percent renewable electricity throughout company owned-and-operated offices, distribution centers and stores globally by 2030, with an interim goal of 50 percent by 2025.

PVH chairman and ceo Emanuel Chirico said at the time, “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today. As a leader in the apparel industry, we believe that we have a responsibility to limit our environmental impact, support cleaner energy alternatives and mitigate the negative impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.”

Joining the RE100 followed an earlier announcement in June that the company is participating in three initiatives — Global Fashion Agenda, Fashion for Good and Ellen MacArthur Foundation — focused on accelerating the transition to a sustainable fashion industry based on circular economy principles, along with setting circulatory targets across all of its businesses.

PVH this year was also selected as one of two winners of the 2018 U.S. Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence, which recognizes U.S. firms that uphold high standards of responsible business conduct. PVH received the Sustainable Operations award for its investment — a venture in which PVH holds a 75 percent stake — in its vertically integrated, apparel manufacturing facility in Hawassa, Ethiopia. The industrial park is powered by renewable energy, has a zero-liquid discharge treatment plant and women comprise more than 80 percent of its workforce.

In the company’s Corporate Responsibility Report for 2017, released in September, the company noted its CR strategy to support the U.N.’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The report extensively details CR initiatives in 2017 on multiple fronts. Highlights include the launch of WERK on D&I front, a business resource group for the firm’s LGBTQ community; improvement of safety across factories in Bangladesh; expansion of parental leave policy in the U.S. to cover foster parents, as well as secondary caregivers, and the contribution of nearly $24 million to different communities through product, cash, associate contributions and retail store consumer donations. Last year, the company celebrated the 10th anniversary of PVH HealthMatters, a health and wellness program in North America designed to encourage a healthy lifestyle through a variety of benefits and offerings. The program was expanded to employees in Canada last year, and in 2018 expanded further to include their dependents. Other highlights include creation of a global partnership with WWF to steward water conservation in four key basins; reaching 70 percent for the recyclability of on-product packaging materials, and producing 25 million men’s dress shirts across brands that are slated to be certified as free from harmful chemicals and bearing the Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX label this year.

 

Ralph Lauren Corp.

The company has a chief supply chain and sustainability officer, Halide Alagöz, as well as a corporate responsibility steering team. The senior executives on the team include Alagöz; Katie Ioanilli, corporate senior vice president, global corporate communications; Roseann Lynch, chief people officer, and David Lauren, vice chairman, chief innovation officer and president of Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation. The company implemented programs such as sabbaticals, flexible working arrangements and an adoption assistance program. There is also the Ralph Lauren Employee Relief Fund, funded by donations from the company and its employees to help colleagues facing financial hardship after a natural disaster or an unforeseen personal hardship.

The steering team oversees initiatives such as the Ralph Lauren Gives Back program. The program had its origins in 2000, when it was known as Polo Volunteers. The current program — available in more than 10 countries and 30 cities around the world — includes three volunteer weeks a year, numerous walks and runs throughout the year, and a holiday giving and volunteer campaign. Corporate and store employees can prepare and deliver meals, host drives to collect food and clothing, and clean public parks, among some of the options. Beneficiaries of the fundraising and volunteer programs include American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House, Boys and Girls Clubs, Habitat for Humanity and others.

There is also an employee engagement program in sustainability. The company reduces plastic and paper waste across the corporate office by eliminating the purchase of disposable water bottles, paper cups and lids. Ralph Lauren partnered with GiveMeTap, purchasing its reusable stainless-steel bottles to give to employees, with each purchase helping to provide access to clean and safe drinking water for 20 years to thousands of people in Ghana, Africa. The company also committed a minimum of $2 for every Polo-branded water bottle sold on ralphlauren.com to help fund the installation of water pumps across rural Ghana. Other efforts include a move toward digitalization in certain circumstances to cut down on paper waste.

Lynch said, “Ralph Lauren has said, ‘Be anything you want to be, and be many things.’ That philosophy sets the tone for creating an environment for our 24,000 employees that allows them to thrive by being themselves and having many opportunities to grow and develop in our business.”

According to Lynch, the arrival of chief executive officer Patrice Louvet last year has placed an emphasis on expanding the company’s diversity and inclusivity initiatives to “get more people engaged. That conversation changes as the workforce changes.” She explained that with new generational groups in the workforce, it goes beyond compliance. “Antibullying was not something we talked about 15 years ago, but it is a very important part of the conversation today,” Lynch explained.

On behalf of the company, Louvet is also a signatory to the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion Pledge initiated by PwC. At the company’s Investor Day presentation earlier this year, Louvet said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” He said a top priority is ensuring that the company has the right environment and cultural focus areas to support delivery of the firm’s strategy. The company’s D&I focus includes company-wide training where employees partake in respect and inclusion sessions to raise awareness on issues such as unconscious bias, dimensions on diversity and behavior in the workplace.

Ralph Lauren employees at a St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters event in N.Y.C.  Courtesy Photo

Tapestry Inc.

The owner of the Coach, Stuart Weitzman and Kate Spade brands offers its associates career planning at multiple levels. It has an in-house people and organizations development team that assembles a diverse curriculum on professional development for leaders, managers and individual contributors. The programs educate employees about the company’s business, and targets skill-building and team-effectiveness sessions where needed.

Victor Luis, Tapestry’s ceo, said, “We want Tapestry to be a place where people want to come to work, and we’re dedicated to helping our people achieve their greatest career aspirations. We believe that anyone, from anywhere, can have a groundbreaking idea, and we’re committed to helping our employees develop the knowledge, skills and abilities required for continued success. For our current and future leaders, we have a partnership with the Tuck Executive Program at Dartmouth College that offers a diverse curriculum focused on professional development at every career stage.”

The company has also taken up the D&I mantle with a particular focus on unconscious bias. Earlier this month, the company launched its unconscious bias education effort to give everyone a starting point for a conversation to better understand each other and be aware of blind spots. More programs are slated for 2019 to educate everyone on biases they may not be aware of. The effort furthers the company’s stance that inclusivity fosters empathy, as well as a safe place to work. This year the Working Parents Community was formed as a forum for working parents to communicate with each other and enable the company to learn how to support them, while recognizing that the definition of family has evolved. Other programs under consideration are the relaunch of its Inclusion Council, formation of formal employee resource groups and expansion of efforts to celebrate International Women’s Day and LGBTQ + Pride.

The company offers corporate benefits, including brand discounts and a matching gift-donation program, technology discounts and tuition assistance. It provides eligible employees, including part-timers, with company-matched contributions in its 401(k) program.

On the philanthropic front, the company has multiple programs it participates in, and supports many nonprofits located in its Hudson Yards neighborhood. They include The High Line, The Shed, Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen and the West Side Community Fund. Tapestry places excess product with charities whenever possible. Tapestry associates have volunteered at Fabscrap, sorting donated fabrics to be recycled for insulation; sponsored a backpack drive to benefit Backpacks Foundation; hosted a mentoring meet-up for women entrepreneurs in partnership with Accion East, and held volunteer events at the Food Bank for New York City’s Community Kitchen.

The Coach Foundation has donated $48.5 million to nonprofits since it was founded 10 years ago, and the Kate Spade New York Foundation has helped organizations such as The Moth, Ghetto Film School, Girls Who Code, The International Rescue Committee in New York and Rising Tide Capital. The foundation gave a $1 million grant to the Mental Health Space this year following the passing of founder Kate Brosnahan Spade.

Coach store employee Carmen Williams participating in a Coach Foundation mentoring workshop.  Courtesy Photo

ThirdLove

The bra firm has partnered with I Support the Girls, a national nonprofit that collects and distributes new and gently worn bras and hygiene products around the world. It has donated more than $4 million worth of bras, with the nonprofit distributing them to organizations including shelters for the homeless and victims of domestic violence, refugee settlement homes and foster care agencies.

The company has incorporated office procedures that include recycling and composting. And company employees are encouraged to participate in volunteer work. More recently, the San Francisco team donated and transported supplies to colleagues who lost everything in the aftermath of the Camp Fire in Northern California. The company also started a GoFundMe page that so far has raised $15,000 to help affected team members.

 

VF Corp.

VF’s long-term sustainability and responsibility strategy is called Made for Change. The focus is on minimizing waste streams and increasing reuse and recycling. The company’s web site says such strategies lead to “significant financial savings, while creating a platform for greater engagement with our associates.” It notes that apparel and footwear waste contribute a considerable amount to local landfills and that moving and making company products across the supply chain adds a “significant amount of waste in our system.” To that end, the company is focused on zero-waste sites that divert 95 percent or more of their waste away from disposal through recycling, composting and reuse. The company said since 2014, waste-reduction efforts have led to more than 135,000 metric tons of waste being diverted from landfills and more than 229,000 pounds of plastic have been diverted from landfills through polybag recycling efforts. VF has attributed both strategies to helping it save more than $750,000 annually at its distribution centers.

The company owns and operates more than 1,200 facilities globally and one way it increases the efficiency at its buildings is through LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. At least 11 buildings have received LEED certification, and the company has a set of Green Building Standards for all new VF facilities. It is expected the new corporate headquarters in Denver will follow the company’s Green guidelines.

One example of a VF Green building is the Vans headquarters in Costa Mesa, Calif., that was completed last year. The office includes one MW solar array that supplies 50 percent of the facility’s energy needs, 38 EV charging stations, drought-tolerant landscaping and Forest Stewardship Council certified wood throughout. It serves as a model for VF’s real estate team as they remodel and rebuild the company’s facility portfolio to meet its green standards.

VF provides mentoring opportunities, training and ongoing professional development initiatives, along with wellness programs and community volunteering. Wellness programs include supporting participation in outdoor activities on the weekends, or joining an early-morning meditation class, and there are on-site gyms, nutritious food options, annual health fairs and local walk-run challenges. Social responsibility programs include programs to support local communities either by time, expertise or financial donations. VF’s goal is to have one million volunteer hours collectively from its employees by 2025.

On the D&I front, VF’s chairman and ceo Steve Rendle last year became a signatory to the D&I pledge. And in 2016, the company joined the Paradigm for Parity Coalition, representing a commitment by the corporate signatories to minimize unconscious bias and achieve gender parity in corporate leadership positions by 2030. As of Dec. 5, the group had commitments from 92 firms. Part of the coalition’s efforts is a Five-Point Action Plan, which calls for minimizing or eliminating unconscious bias, increasing the number of women in senior operating roles, setting measurable goals and holding the senior team accountable, finding ways to allow work flexibility to meet the needs of employees, and identifying women of potential and giving them sponsors and mentors.

At VF, the company places the focus on inclusion before diversity. VF’s Anita Graham, chief human resources officer, wrote about the company’s inclusion and diversity efforts as it relates to the coalition’s plan in a blog post earlier this month. She said efforts include strengthening the company’s commitment by extending the pledge for gender parity beyond senior leadership to the director level; launching inclusion and diversity dashboards; establishing a Global Women’s Activation Council of women business leaders from diverse industries; holding VF’s first Women’s Leadership Summit in the Asia-Pacific region, and launching multicultural and female-focused employee resource groups to foster engagement and networking opportunities among women.

“Conversations about inclusion and diversity in general, and about advancing gender parity specifically, are now a regular part of our culture, our talent management processes and our operating business review. And while we are pleased with our progress, we recognize that we are in the early stages of an ongoing journey to be a highly inclusive place to work and build a career,” Graham wrote.