ascena retail group, inc. Reports on Progress to Advance Its Commitment to Women and Girls

Nov 21, 2019 8:00 AM ET
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November 21, 2019 - ascena retail group, inc. (Nasdaq: ASNA) released its 2019 Responsibility Progress Report (the “Report”), which provides a summary of progress on the company’s commitment to drive impact in support of women, girls and the causes they care about globally. The national specialty retailer known for apparel, shoes, and accessories for women and girls announced last year a goal of raising and contributing $250 million by 2025 in support of women and girls globally. The Report highlights a record-breaking year for its philanthropic efforts, achieving gender parity on its Board of Directors, enhanced transparency in its supply chain, and ambitions to set carbon reduction and more sustainable packaging goals in the coming year.

“I am proud of the progress we have made since announcing our responsibility strategy - Her, at the Heart of Us. Helping women and girls thrive is at the heart of our corporate vision and I am committed to this journey,” said Gary Muto, Chief Executive Officer of ascena retail group, inc.

Highlights include:

Philanthropy: Working together with customers and partners to achieve record charitable giving results

  • Contributed $19 million in charitable giving, including grants provided by the company, the ascena Foundation, and the company’s associate matching-gift programs, with 92% of overall giving raised from customers during charitable fundraising events. These outstanding results have put ascena 62% of the way toward its 2025 $250 million goal
  • An additional $6.3 million (estimated retail value) of in-kind donations, specifically to organizations geared towards empowering women and girls
  • Funded 947,280 BCRF research hours; 79% of the way toward its goal to fund 1.2 million research hours by 2022
  • Exceeded goal to donate 1 million pounds of store fixtures and materials to nonprofits, including those supporting women and girls

Diversity & Inclusion: a strategic business imperative that is building strength in leadership

  • The company achieved gender parity on its Board of Directors and reported that 61% of VP-and-above executives are women
  • Launched D&I as a strategic business imperative and progressing on its commitments to the CEO Action Pledge for Diversity & Inclusion
  • Realized a 7% increase in underrepresented groups across total enterprise workforce, bringing ascena’s diverse associate representation to 40%
  • Launched enterprise-wide unconscious bias training and team talks for associates

Supply Chain: increased transparency and enhanced environmental focus

  • Increased sustainable material sourcing and reported the volume of cotton sourced through the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)
  • Factories producing approximately 40% of ascena’s apparel volume completed onsite verifications and submitted Higg FEM modules. Strategic mills submitted Higg FEM self-assessments with the commitment that two thirds of those mills will complete onsite verifications by end of 2019 (calendar year)
  • Reported 75% of Lou & Grey private label apparel is made in factories implementing HER project (with BSR), demonstrating progress towards goal of 100% by 2020
  • Repurposed 3.9 million vendor cartons to pack product – an 11% increase from last year

Future Ambitions: a bold outlook

  • Completed carbon emissions baseline project in preparation for carbon reduction targets expected to be announced in 2020
  • Introduce mentorship programs for women and diverse associates to drive engagement and retention
  • Launch an enterprise-wide hazardous chemical phase-out strategy within the supply chain
  • Achieve zero waste certification in distribution center and fulfillment centers

Recognition of the Her, At the Heart of Us Mission

Maintaining ascena’s “Her, at the Heart of Us” mission, the company took several steps to highlight the importance of women across the enterprise, including reporting its achievement of gender parity on the board, being named to one of the 2019 Best Employers for Diversity and 2019 Best Employers for Women.

The Report further goes on to share progress against goals, discloses new workforce data, and announces work ascena retail group is doing to reduce hazardous chemicals and set environmental impact reduction goals in the supply chain to reduce the footprint and mitigate climate change risks to local communities. The company continues to measure progress in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and, for the first time, reported in reference to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards, highlighting the role responsibility will play within the organization for the coming years.

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About ascena retail group, inc.

ascena retail group, inc. (Nasdaq: ASNA) is a national specialty retailer offering apparel, shoes, and accessories for women under the Premium Fashion (Ann Taylor, LOFT, and Lou & Grey), Plus Fashion (Lane Bryant, Catherines and Cacique), and Value Fashion (Dressbarn) segments, and for tween girls under the Kids Fashion segment (Justice). ascena retail group, inc. through its retail brands operates ecommerce websites and approximately 3,400 stores throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

For more information about ascena retail group, inc. visit: ascenaretail.com, AnnTaylor.com, factory.anntaylor.com, LOFT.com, outlet.loft.com, louandgrey.com, lanebryant.com, Catherines.com, dressbarn.com, and shopjustice.com.

Media Contacts:

Shawn Buchanan
ascena Corporate Communications

Read the Report

Read the Report