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March 22, 2016

New Report Exposes Social, Environmental Risk in Abercrombie & Fitch Supply Chain

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

CONTACT: Emma Rae Lierley, 425.281.1989, Emma@ran.org

New Report Exposes Social, Environmental Risk in Abercrombie & Fitch Supply Chain

Activists hand-delivered the report to Abercrombie & Fitch CFO, infiltrating an exclusive investor talk

San Francisco, CA – Amid controversy and years of attempted brand overhaul, Rainforest Action Network released a new report today aimed at investors of Abercrombie & Fitch––recently named the ‘most-hated retailer in America’––exposing the social and environmental risk in its supply chain.

Activists hand-delivered the new report, titled “Rebranding for the 21st Century: How Abercrombie & Fitch Can Add Shareholder Value by Avoiding Social and Environmental Risk in its Fabrics Supply Chain,” early this morning to Abercrombie & Fitch’s Chief Financial Officer, Joanne Crevoiserat, as she spoke at the exclusive Telsey Advisory Group’s 8th Annual Spring Consumer Conference in New York City.

Before her speech began, RAN activists entered the conference and placed the report, outlining the risks associated with Abercrombie & Fitch's fabric procurement, at the seat of every conference participant, including Ms. Crevoiserat's podium. Afterwards, RAN activists demonstrated outside with a banner.

“Currently, Abercrombie & Fitch stocks almost 300 items that use fabrics made from trees––like rayon, viscose, or modal. These fabrics are driving rainforest destruction in Indonesia and threatening the livelihoods of Indigenous and frontline communities,” said Brihannala Morgan, Senior Forest Campaigner with Rainforest Action Network (RAN).

“Today’s report should be a clear wakeup call to the new leadership at Abercrombie & Fitch. The company has the opportunity to break from its controversial past and become a leader for forests and fashion. If Abercrombie & Fitch wants to be truly profitable with today’s consumer, then they need to ensure that its products are not hurting the rainforest or the people who depend on it,” Morgan said.

There is growing recognition that the sourcing of fabrics is an important component in apparel companies’ risk management and in attracting today’s younger, more environmentally conscious consumers. Wood-based fabrics, including rayon, viscose, and modal, are used in over 300 items that Abercrombie & Fitch sells. Some plantations that provide the raw materials for these fabrics have been shown to destroy valuable forests in Indonesia, Canada, South Africa, and elsewhere, and to violate the rights of Indigenous and local communities by stealing the land that communities rely on for farms and other basic necessities. This includes habitat for endangered species such as sunbears, caribou, and clouded leopards. Conflicts in pulpwood plantations have lead to violence and the imprisonment and beating of non-violent community activists.

Abercrombie & Fitch currently does not take the due diligence measures necessary to prevent egregious sources from entering its supply chain. Other major brands, however, including H&M, Zara, Marks & Spencer, Levis & Co, and others, are leading the way by developing commitments to ensure that the destruction of ancient and endangered forests, as well as human rights abuses, are never found in their supply chains.

Tens of thousands of American shoppers have directly contacted Abercrombie & Fitch to call attention to the disastrous environmental and social impacts of forest-sourced fabrics and to ask the company to take immediate action, but to date the company has refused to do so. Today’s event in New York was one more action in an on-going consumer-driven movement against controversial fabrics like rayon and viscose.

Rainforest Action Network (RAN) recently singled out Abercrombie & Fitch among the ‘Fashion 15’ group of companies for its inadequate policies and commitments to ensure that the fabrics it sources are not responsible for deforestation, human rights abuses or species extinction. In January, activists caused a scene outside the Santa Monica, CA flagship Abercrombie & Fitch store, while thousands of others contacted the company directly on social media.

RAN’s Out of Fashion campaign is highlighting Abercrombie & Fitch as one of the most prominent brands among the ‘Fashion 15’ group of companies—including Prada, LVMH, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Vince, Guess, Velvet, L Brands, Forever 21, Under Armour, Footlocker, GAIAM and Beyond Yoga. RAN is calling on these fashion companies to take responsibility for their supply chains, identify and eliminate bad actors, and develop strong, time bound commitments to protect forests and human rights.

For more information on dissolving pulp and RAN’s Out of Fashion campaign, see here.

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Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org

 

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