AEO Celebrates 20 Years of Sustainability Progress

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by KnowESG
KnowESG_AEO Celebrates 20 Years of Sustainability Progress
Image courtesy of AEO

American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) has unveiled its latest comprehensive report on environmental (Planet), social (People), and governance (Practices) progress, highlighting the advancements achieved through the company's "Building a Better World" strategy.

AEO has also announced fresh sustainability objectives, following the surpassing of several water conservation targets. Notably, the company managed to reduce water consumption per pair of jeans manufactured by an impressive 38% in 2022, achieving the initial water reduction goal one year ahead of schedule.

A commitment to social responsibility has been ingrained in AEO's DNA since its inception, as evidenced by its long-standing dedication to ESG initiatives spanning over two decades. With an enhanced commitment to transparency and alignment with sustainability reporting standards such as SASB and TCFD, AEO's quest for increased accountability and performance has yielded significant strides over the past twelve months. Notably, MSCI upgraded AEO's ESG rating from "BBB" to "A."

Jay Schottenstein, Executive Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, emphasised, "Doing good and acting responsibly towards our customers, associates, and communities is deeply ingrained in AEO's culture. We take pride in releasing our second ESG report, showcasing enhanced transparency and our ongoing commitment to creating a better world. Every day, we strive to implement lasting improvements throughout our organisation, contributing to a more sustainable and equitable future."

The report also spotlights several new philanthropic initiatives initiated by AEO aimed at championing causes significant to its customers and communities. In 2022, AEO established the Aerie Real Foundation, formalising and expanding upon the brand's extensive history of philanthropy with a focus on promoting women's empowerment, inclusivity, and sustainability.

Expanded and Enhanced Environmental Goals

AEO has achieved or exceeded several environmental objectives, reinforcing its commitment to safeguarding the planet and catalysing transformative change in the retail sector. To underscore this progress, the company has introduced the following targets to its existing goals:

  • Recycle 70% of the total water used in denim laundries by 2025.

  • Reduce its water footprint by 30% by 2028, encompassing its own operations as well as strategic factories and mills.

  • Pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

  • Reduce virgin plastic usage by 50% and decrease the overall plastic footprint by 30% by 2028.

  • Source sustainable materials for 75% of all fibres by 2028.

Highlights of 2022: Advancing Toward a Better World

In collaboration with its customers, AEO donated over $10 million to non-profit organisations that align with its vision of creating a better world, supporting causes related to mental health, youth empowerment, women's advancement, and educational programmes for teenagers and young adults.

The company awarded nearly $850,000 through the Steven A. Davis Scholarship for Social Justice to 45 associates. Launched in 2021, this $5 million commitment aims to advance educational opportunities for AEO associates actively involved in anti-racism, equality, and social justice initiatives.

Since the inception of its Water Leadership Programme in 2017, AEO has saved an astounding 4 billion gallons of water in its jeans factories. In 2022 alone, they recycled 9 million gallons of water at laundries.

AEO's sustainability efforts extended to the equivalent of saving 174 million plastic bottles by ensuring that 25% of all polyester used in production came from recycled sources.

Associates at AEO logged more than 14,000 hours of volunteer service in local communities, demonstrating their commitment to giving back.

The introduction of "Be Well@AEO," a holistic programme, has equipped associates with tools and resources to manage their mental and physical health, financial goals, and more.

To access the complete report and delve deeper into AEO's initiatives concerning Planet, People, and Practices, please visit this link.

For more social and governance news

To view and compare company ESG Ratings and Sustainability Reports, visit our Company ESG Profiles page.

Source: Business Wire

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