Inside Nordstrom’s Plan to Become More Sustainable & Improve on Corporate Social Responsibility

Ella Chochrek

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Over the next five years, Nordstrom is taking a number of steps aimed at making the world a better place.

The Seattle-based retailer today published its 2025 Corporate Social Responsibility goals — with the overarching aims of becoming more sustainable, driving positive labor practices and philanthropically supporting the communities it serves.

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“As a company, we believe the impacts we have on our employees, customers and communities extend well beyond the walls of our stores,” wrote Pete and Erik Nordstrom in a letter. “The idea that we have a role to play in building and shaping a positive, more inclusive and sustainable future isn’t new to us, but it’s become more important than ever.”

In terms of sustainability, Nordstrom hopes to halve the single-use plastic used in its value chain by 2025, as well as to help customers extend the life of 250 tons of clothing through donations and to take back 100 tons of beauty packaging to ensure it’s recycled. What’s more, the retailer plans to contribute $1 million in grants to support industry innovation for textile recycling, along with $250,000 in grants toward slowing and preventing climate change.

Toward driving positive labor practices, Nordstrom hopes to disclose traceability to the factory for 90% of Nordstrom Made products by 2025. In addition, the company’s goal is to produce 90% of those products in factories that invest in women’s rights and to ensure that all Nordstrom Made strategic suppliers receive a living wage.

With regard to corporate philanthropy, Nordstrom plans to invest more than $50 million in communities where it operates, as well as raise $5 million each from its Treasure & Bond give-back brand and from cause-marketing campaigns for core partners that support families. Nordstrom also wants its employees to get in on the action: The retailer aims to increase employee participation in its charitable match program to 20% annually and to boost employee volunteer hours to 250,000 per year.

“We can and must do more and we’re continually pushing ourselves to be a better company,” Pete and Erik wrote. “With these commitments, we’re taking a more aggressive stance to make meaningful progress not only on environmental sustainability, but also human rights and corporate philanthropy.”

While there are still several months to go in 2020, Nordstrom has already hit or surpassed a number of the benchmarks it set for the year. The company has increased clothing donation by 42% over the past two years, as well as achieved 100% pay equity for employees. What’s more, the retailer has exceeded its goal of sourcing 90% of its energy from renewables in deregulated markets where it has flexibility to chose energy sources.

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