Following the Thread: Supply Chain Sustainability

Our commitment to a sustainable world drives how we do business at Macy’s, Inc. We pay attention to how we, as a company and as individuals, take care of our planet. In celebration of Earth Week, we took a look at one way our company ensures our footprint – on the fashion runway and in the real world – is a responsible one.

Sustainability and social compliance in the supply chain are an important part of Macy’s commitment to social responsibility. Now more than ever, “consumers are interested in where their merchandise comes from, how it’s made, and what the environmental and social impact of that merchandise is,” said Michael Singer, Macy’s vice president of customs and social compliance.

In order to answer those customer questions and continue our improvements, it’s important to first understand factory operations where Macy’s private brands are produced. To that end, in 2014, Macy’s, Inc. joined forces with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), an organization dedicated to reducing environmental harm and promoting the positive impact of apparel industries on the communities and people associated with them.

One of the tools our teams now use to understand the supply chain for our extensive portfolio of private brands is the SAC’s Higg Index, a detailed questionnaire on environmental impact and social issues. Anthony Ng, associate manager, social compliance, shared that the Higg Index has, “more than 125 questions, and covers topics from energy usage and greenhouse gases to water use and chemical management to the number of hours worked, health and safety, and compensation.”

2018 marks the third time Macy’s will require our suppliers to complete the Higg Index. When we first rolled out this initiative, we were able to collect data on 40 percent of our volume, which is based on value, but this year, Michael said, “we’ll cover at least 50 percent, or about 400 facilities. That’s a tremendous increase from the initial rollout.” He also noted that the Higg Index covers not only factories, but also mills, label suppliers, trim suppliers, dye houses, and other entities in the supply chain. “It’s a detailed review of the materials that go into Macy’s private brands.”

Michael’s closing thoughts on the SAC partnership: “This is the future of sustainability, and this group will really set the path for where we’re going to be as an industry in the next five to 10 years.”


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