While we have made significant strides in our programs, we remain steadfast in our commitment to finding additional ways to improve our performance.
Here is a look at some of the highlights of what we have achieved and where we’re going:
Since 2008, we have reduced our carbon footprint by 27% per square foot. Our Associates at our corporate offices and in our over 1,000 stores have worked tirelessly to help us achieve this significant goal.
We are still committed to our goal of reducing our footprint by 30% per square foot by 2015 (over a 2008 baseline). We are confident that the hard work of our associates will help us meet this goal.
This footprint focuses on our North American operations, including our home offices, distribution center and stores in both the U.S. and Canada. This footprint includes Scope 1 and 2 and was conducted using WRI’s GHG Protocol Corporate Standard.
We will strive to achieve our corporate goal to reduce our carbon footprint 30% per square foot by 2015 (over a 2008 baseline).
We will continue with our current initiatives and establish new programs to achieve this 30% reduction, including increased energy conservation efforts, the use of new technologies and a continued focus on behavioral changes.
We are constantly working to become more energy efficient in our operations. Since 2008, we have reduced our energy use by 19% per square foot. We achieved this reduction by engaging our Associates through our ACE program, and they helped us reduce our energy use by following guidelines on lighting, temperature control and equipment use. We also have upgraded our lighting systems and have installed energy efficient LED bulbs in over half of our stores.
We will continue to drive energy efficiency in our operations to reduce our carbon footprint and to find cost savings. Our Store Facilities team is always looking for more efficient lighting, fixtures and HVAC systems for our stores, and we continue to engage our passionate Associates around these efforts. We will also continue to find opportunities at our Distribution Center, which has already made great progress towards becoming more energy efficient.
We look forward to sharing our progress towards energy efficiency in the future.
At ANN INC., we are deeply committed to Supplier development and have worked tirelessly to build strong Supplier relationships to drive compliance. Through AT CONNECT, our program for our top 15 apparel Suppliers, we have worked with our strategic Suppliers to share best-in-class practices targeted at some of their biggest challenges.
We are proud to work with these strategic Suppliers to further develop their capacity to extend their social compliance and environmental sustainability programs even further. This group is significant to ANN INC. and represents 73% of our total business.
We will continue to focus on delivering results through our AT CONNECT program and to work closely with our Suppliers to improve compliance outcomes, build Supplier capacity and provide best-in-class compliance and environmental sustainability solutions.
We are committed to building the compliance capacity of our strategic Suppliers and are continuously looking for the next generation of Supplier engagement and training programs. As we evolve, we will continue to strengthen our relationships with the compliance staff of our Suppliers and expand our efforts to further align compliance with business priorities.
Through our program, we review the social compliance performance of the vast majority of active factories that produce branded apparel products for ANN INC. by using unannounced and independent third-party audits, in-factory training programs, regular progress reporting, and visits from our global CSR team. We develop our annual monitoring strategy using various criteria, including a factory’s previous compliance performance. We recognize the performance of factories who consistently demonstrate good results by conducting audits of those factories less frequently.
We remain diligent in our commitment to only approving factories that meet our strict criteria. This past year, we approved 76% of the new factories that we reviewed, continuing our commitment to only doing business with factories who meet our high standards.
At ANN INC. we are committed to reporting on our social compliance programs, impacts and challenges. This is an important way to demonstrate accountability to our clients, Associates, and other stakeholders who expect ANN INC. to maintain high ethical standards.
We are proud of our performance and will continue to share our achievements and challenges.
To reduce the burden on our Suppliers, we are committed to increasing joint brand collaboration for factory reviews. By working with other brands and retailers, we offer an opportunity for Suppliers to reduce audits and duplicative remediation requests. This past year, the percentage of factories we reviewed with other brands shifted from 26% to 23%. We continue to drive towards our goal of supporting our Suppliers and helping them to deepen their commitment to compliance.
We believe that our Suppliers can benefit from participation with in-country compliance and training programs. Collaboration through industry programs such, as Better Work, builds best practices, shares knowledge and creates efficiencies for both companies and Suppliers. As such, we actively participate in the Better Work program in Vietnam, Indonesia and Jordan and have been pleased to see compliance improvements from these initiatives.
At ANN INC. we will continue to work towards increased joint brand collaboration, as well as additional participants in the Better Work program, to reduce audit and remediation burdens for our Suppliers. We will also continue to provide Suppliers with consistent goals, which will free up time for them to achieve key social compliance objectives such as strengthening their management processes or initiating worker empowerment programs.
As we evolve, we will look for ways to further participate in industry programs which are aligned with ANN INC.’s compliance priorities, while maintaining our current commitment to supporting our Suppliers.
At ANN INC., we believe every woman deserves a chance to be her best self every day. Through our Responsibly ANN commitment, we’re dedicated to empowering 100,000 women in our global supply chain community who make our beautiful products. By providing health and financial education, we are giving women all over the world the opportunity to reach their full potential. It’s our commitment. It’s her future.
Our Distribution Center in Louisville, Kentucky is certified as a Zero Waste Facility by the U.S Zero Waste Building Council. We divert approximately 97% of our waste from entering the landfill, and have committed to continuously improving on that amount. We recycle all of the cardboard and poly bag waste generated, as well as electronics, metals, and paper and plastics.
We continued our program to evaluate and reduce our environmental impacts throughout our Supply Chain. We evaluated our strategic Suppliers using the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index and helped them set goals around energy reductions. Together, our Suppliers have committed to $3.3 million in energy savings by 2015.