Celebrating Five Years of Fair Trade Partnership with $3.6 Million in Premiums Paid Toward Community Development, Exceeding Goal of $3 Million by 2020
Meeting and Exceeding Company-Wide Goals for Worker Well-Being and Sustainable Materials
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE:WSM) today released its 2018 Corporate Responsibility Scorecard, with several milestones achieved company-wide toward responsible sourcing, sustainable design, landfill diversion, energy and carbon intensity, supply chain development, corporate giving and volunteering.
The company is also proud to celebrate five years of partnership with Fair Trade USA, the leading certifier of fair trade products in North America. As the first global home retailer to partner with the organization, to date Williams-Sonoma, Inc. has contributed $3.6 million in Fair Trade premiums to workers across its family of brands. This exceeds the company’s goal, announced in 2017 to reach $3 million in premiums paid to workers by 2020. The company has also grown its Fair Trade CertifiedTM footprint to 15 factories in five countries, impacting over 12,000 workers. One of the most important aspects of Fair Trade is its ability to help realize economic empowerment in global communities and improve artisans’ and workers’ quality of life through the program’s community development fund. Not only must Fair Trade CertifiedTM factories meet rigorous social and environmental criteria, but workers in Fair Trade CertifiedTM factories also gain access to additional financial benefits through the premiums earned from each Fair Trade CertifiedTM purchase. Premiums received from the sale of Fair Trade CertifiedTM products are pooled into the program’s community development fund, and workers vote together on how to spend these funds to address pressing needs in their community such as water filtration, health clinics, access to affordable and healthy foods, and transportation.
“We want to make a positive impact in the world through our business. Corporate responsibility is central to who we are, the way we run our brands and our vision for our future. Every year, we aim to expand our customers’ access to high-quality, safe and sustainably-made products,” said Laura Alber, President and CEO of Williams-Sonoma, Inc. “Our dedication to sustainability is a key reason why customers choose us over our competitors, and we are proud to share the milestones that differentiate our business through our annual Corporate Responsibility Scorecard. As an industry leader in corporate responsibility, the changes we make in our global supply chain lead to big shifts in the way our industry operates, in our customers’ choices, and in the well-being of our workers and the communities in which we do business world-wide.”
Other highlights from the 2018 Corporate Responsibility Scorecard include:
- Fair Trade CertifiedTM: By the end of 2018, we were close to our 2020 goal of $3M in community development premiums, and today we are pleased to announce that, as of the middle of 2019, we have exceeded this goal by $600,000. Fair Trade CertifiedTM products were first introduced in 2014 by West Elm, which today alone has driven over $1.8M in premiums back to workers. We are tremendously excited to see the program scale across our family of brands – amplifying the positive impact on our workers and the communities in which we do business.
- Worker Well-Being: We remain well on track to reach our goal of educating and empowering 100,000 workers by 2020 through our partnership with HERproject and VisionSpring. Through these partnerships and others, we have helped improve the financial and health-related knowledge of over 40,000 workers in our supply chain and have provided free access to vision exams and correction to over 20,000 workers in our supply chain.
- Sustainably-Sourced Materials: Across our brands, our assortment of sustainably sourced products continues to grow. Whether it’s furniture made with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood or cotton certified to the Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS), we are on track to meet our goals. In 2018, we reached 69% sustainably-sourced cotton across the company, which is over two-thirds of the way to our goal of 100% responsibly-sourced cotton by 2021. In 2018, we also reached 43% responsibly-sourced wood, nearly reaching our goal of 50% sustainably-sourced wood (and 100% traceable wood) by 2021. These achievements have earned Williams-Sonoma, Inc. recognition from Barron’s as the 24th most sustainable company worldwide, Textile Exchange as a top 10 company using organic cotton and preferred fibers, and the Sustainable Furnishings Council as a top scoring wood furniture retailer.
- GreenGuard: Pottery Barn Kids is proud to have reached nearly 100% GREENGUARD Gold Certified bedroom and nursery furniture, which means these products are screened for over 10,000 chemicals to ensure they are low-emitting in indoor environments. This achievement reflects our commitment to making products for children that meet the highest standards for indoor air quality. We are also expanding our GREENGUARD assortment across our family of brands, giving our customers a variety of choices in creating a healthy home.
About Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is a specialty retailer of high-quality products for the home. These products, representing distinct merchandise strategies — Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Pottery Barn Teen, West Elm, Williams Sonoma Home, Rejuvenation, and Mark and Graham — are marketed through e-commerce websites, direct-mail catalogs and retail stores. These brands are also part of The Key Rewards, our free-to-join loyalty program that offers members exclusive benefits across the Williams-Sonoma, Inc. family of brands. We operate in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, offer international shipping to customers worldwide, and have unaffiliated franchisees that operate stores in the Middle East, the Philippines, Mexico and South Korea, as well as e-commerce websites in certain locations. In 2017, we acquired Outward, Inc., a 3-D imaging and augmented reality platform for the home furnishings and décor industry.
About Fair Trade USA
Fair Trade USA® is a nonprofit organization and the leading certifier of fair trade products in North America. Its trusted Fair Trade Certified™ seal on a product signifies that it was made according to rigorous fair trade standards that promote sustainable livelihoods and safe working conditions, protection of the environment, and strong, transparent supply chains. Rather than creating dependency on aid, Fair Trade USA’s model empowers farmers, workers, and fishermen to fight poverty and earn additional money to improve their communities. Recognized as a leading social venture by the Clinton Global Initiative, the Skoll Foundation, and Ashoka, Fair Trade USA also helps brands and retailers tell their stories of impact and educates consumers about the power of their purchase. Visit FairTradeCertified.org for more information.
Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions that, if they do not fully materialize or prove incorrect, could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements include statements relating to our goals to expand our Fair Trade and LOCAL programs. The risks and uncertainties that could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements include the risks that we do not meet such goals on time, and the risk that we are not able to execute our expanded programs as planned. These and other risks and uncertainties are described more fully in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended February 3, 2019, all subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K. All forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available to us as of the date hereof, and we assume no obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
Kendall Coleman (415) 616-7926 / [email protected] – Williams-Sonoma, Inc.