Athleta earns B Corp certification
As part of the certification process, Athleta amended its corporate charter to reflect its new role as a company focused on social and environmental change. The new charter includes corporate goals of "‘creating positive social and environmental impact, taken as a whole, through the products we offer, the treatment of our employees, customers, suppliers, and partners, the marketing of our products and brand, and our engagement with the broader community."
Speaking of the certification in a release, Athleta CEO and President Nancy Green commented, "We believe with Athleta’s growth comes even greater responsibility to lead as a force for good.“ The company currently uses 40% recycled and sustainable materials, and is tracking towards its goal of 80% by 2020.
The San Francisco-based company is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Green said that gaining B Corp (short for Benefit Corporation) certification "accelerates our course forward as a purpose-driven brand."
According to Green, the purpose of obtaining the certification was also to honor Athleta's "mission to ignite a community of healthy, confident, active women and girls; [...] cementing our commitment to environmental sustainability.”
Indeed, Athleta's ethical commitments are manifest through a variety of initiatives: as a subsidiary of Gap Inc., the brand has access to Gap's PACE program, designed to educate and empower girls and women, and the label has also been expanding its Fair Trade assortment through a partnership with Fair Trade U.S.A.
"By Athleta becoming a benefit corporation, it has created a legal commitment to people and the planet. There is a growing impatience with old ways of doing business, and by joining the thousands of benefit corporations formed to date, Athleta is changing the game,” said Andy Fyfe, Senior Growth at B Lab, the organization that certifies and grants companies B Corp status.
While the apparel and beauty industries have embraced sustainability as a trend, achieving B Corp certification is a more substantial step that aims to redefine the role that the business will have going forward.
Most notably in the apparel and activewear industry, Athleta joins Patagonia as a trailblazing B Corp with a mission to benefit the planet and do good while also making a profit. Other B Corps in the apparel industry include Eileen Fisher, Inc. and Hawaii's OluKai.
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