Demonstrators gathered outside SF storefront after recent Corporate Citizenship Report ignores major human rights and environmental risks in company’s fabric supply chain
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***High-res Images available, here.
CONTACT: Emma Rae Lierley, 425.281.1989, Emma@ran.org
San Francisco, CA – Activists gathered today outside of a San Francisco Ralph Lauren store, calling on the fashion giant to do more to cut deforestation and human rights abuses from its supply chain. Creating a festive event by handing out balloons to passersby printed with a brand jam of the company’s iconic logo turned into a saw blade, today’s event was one more action in a growing consumer-driven movement against controversial fabrics like rayon and viscose.
Tens of thousands of American shoppers have directly contacted Ralph Lauren 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.
Rainforest Action Network (RAN) recently singled out Ralph Lauren 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.
Recent global expansion of mega-plantations for the production of pulp for fabrics has been devastating to forests and indigenous and forest-dependent communities. Illegal land-grabbing is rampant in the industry. In the area owned by just one company, Toba Pulp Lestari, in Northern Sumatra, Indonesia, over 20 distinct cases have been documented where traditional, community-owned land has been forcibly seized without the consent of the community and clear-cut for fabric pulp production.
“Ralph Lauren is aware of the problem and is failing to address it,” said Brihannala Morgan, Senior Forest Campaigner with Rainforest Action Network (RAN). “Ralph Lauren is one of the biggest fashion brands in the world, but their most recent Citizenship Report can’t ensure that human rights abuses and forest destruction aren’t a part of next season’s collection.
“Indigenous communities in North Sumatra and elsewhere have been suffering the direct impacts of land-grabbing and human rights abuses caused by the production of forest fabrics for years. These communities have been fighting back against expansion into their traditional lands for over twenty years, and it’s time for Ralph Lauren to step up and be a leader for the forests and the people that depend on them. Ralph Lauren must commit to assess its supply chain risk and eliminate controversial sources with a tight, time-bound implementation plan and clear steps to drive change on the forest ground level.”
Last month activists caused a scene on the red carpet at the CFDA awards in New York City, while others contacted Ralph Lauren directly on social media, generating a wave of media stories spotlighting Ralph Lauren’s substandard environmental and human rights policies around forest sourced fabric.
RAN’s Out of Fashion campaign is highlighting Ralph Lauren 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, Abercrombie and Fitch, 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.