Tapestry, Faherty On the Path From Greenwashing to Green Governing

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As greenwashing and its trendier counterpart, greenhushing, are rampant in fashion—not to mention forced laborOSHA violations and supply chain malpractices—corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives have become more than nice-to-haves. It’s how the industry progresses and holds itself accountable.

Faherty Brand’s director of global sustainability Lisa Diegel joined Tapestry’s vice president of ESG and sustainability Logan Duran for a conversation on approaching these initiatives in a panel titled “CSR & ESG: Obligation or Opportunity” at Sourcing Journal’s Road to 2030 Sustainability Summit, moderated by editor in chief Peter Sadera.

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“We basically go out to all of our stakeholders and say, what are the topics that you value or think are important? What are the things that we, as an organization, should be paying attention to? And that’s really how we build our strategy,” Duran said. “From there, we have developed an approach of four pillars—people, planet, products and communities—and have specific goals established underneath those.”

While the Coach owner has been releasing relevant reports on the topic for at least a decade, Faherty is still finding its voice.

“We have been trying to get involved in more industry initiatives and be more public about that,” Diegel said, acting on that statement by revealing that the San Francisco lifestyle label is signing on to be a supporter of the Fashion Act, which is “another way of communicating to everyone what’s important to us.” The aspiring B Corp is also working on its first impact report, which is slated to come out later this year.

But to Duran’s point, including stakeholders—who don’t have a seat at the table, Sadera said—poses a challenge; “it’s impossible to make change in a silo that you’re just going to dictate what’s going to happen that may or may not be reasonable,” Sadera noted, asking if companies are setting reachable goals or ambitious goals, and how the industry can hold themselves accountable.

Tapestry, for instance, has established internal governance to utilize its materiality assessment and framework of those four pillars to set ambitious goals.

“We really use our internal teams to say, is this too easy? Or is this too hard?” Duran said, explaining that Tapestry has a task force that reports quarterly to the executive committee on the brand’s progress against those goals. “We’re making sure that accountability exists to say you’re not just off doing what you think is maybe important, but that you’re actually setting up and establishing the frameworks to treat your CSR and ESG targets the same way you would treat your financial targets.”

For Faherty, the process of becoming a B Corp is just one way the brand is holding itself accountable.

“I think both the B Corp and preparing for our first impact report has really brought to attention the gaps that we have; we’re doing all of these great things [but] sometimes it’s hard to tell what you aren’t doing or what you need to focus on,” Diegel said.

Some of those great things include working on the anti-appropriation of Indigenous and Native artworks and designs and a social impact program that covers working with formerly incarcerated individuals and youth in the Rockaways.

“Depending on where you’re at in this journey, like if you’re trying to get started, the B Corp assessment is a really good place to start,” Duran added. “It just outlines every single item that you could look at, as an organization, with respect to core responsibility—it doesn’t mean that everything is going to be relevant for you and your business, but it definitely creates a good roadmap.”

Tapestry has established itself as somewhat of a leader in this space, involving itself in numerous multi-stakeholder initiatives to address issues like the risk of forced labor in its supply chain.

“If we don’t tell our story, someone else is going to try and fill in the gaps. There are definitely areas that we know we need to improve on—we’re working really hard to do that— and so we want to get that information out there, to share that story and share those initiatives,” Duran said, noting that this is for two reasons: to show peers it’s possible and to perhaps be a catalyst for change.

“Folks who have been in this industry long enough [know] no one really wants to be in the front,” he continued. “If we can help with sort of leading the way, we’re happy to do it.”