This year, A&F Co. celebrated Earth Month around the globe, from speakers at our EMEA and APAC home offices, to activations each week at our Global Home Office (GHO) in Columbus, Ohio.
The month began with the release of our virtual Earth Month workbook. Our sustainability program is vast, so the workbook did the heavy lifting of providing associates an overview of what sustainability means to A&F Co. It included our company’s focus areas, up-to-date facts on our impact, the progress we’ve made towards our goals and more.
We welcomed virtual speakers such as Mark Messura from Cotton Inc. who helped us answer the question: what does sustainability in fashion really mean? And what role does cotton play as one of the largest fibers used in our products? Our EMEA home office also welcomed an internal speaker, Brian Scarbo from our Asset Protection team, to learn what happens to excess inventory—from resale to donations and more.
Food plays a big role in sustainable practices at GHO. An interview with Laszlo Marczé, the general manager of our café management company Bon Appetit, shed light on how we’re staying green in the kitchen. “We focus on purchasing from local and regional producers to limit the distance these goods travel our kitchen,” Marczé said, “We also operate a scratch kitchen, meaning we utilize every part of our products to their fullest extent.”
Associates were also given the opportunity to get their hands a little dirty with a tree planting at GHO. But you can’t have work without play. We encouraged everyone to kick back during our Earth Month happy hour, market and trivia event near the end of the month. We partnered with local breweries who are prioritizing sustainability in their business practices, as well as vendors selling plants, natural bath products, eco-friendly vintage jewelry and more.
Our Sustainability Team doesn’t just work to minimize our impact on the natural environment. Part of their mission is also to ensure that our products are made in safe work environments. Our social sustainability programs include a focus on global human and labor rights, which also means the prevention of human trafficking. That’s why we were happy to welcome organizations to GHO for Earth Month whose anti-trafficking missions align with our own.
Freedom a la Carte, a local café providing services to adult survivors of sex trafficking, hosted a lunch and learn where a survivor recounted her story firsthand. Additionally, we worked with local nonprofit She Has a Name—whose mission is to fight human trafficking through education—to place a temporary art gallery in the GHO lobby that provides a glimpse into the life of a trafficking survivor.
We wrapped up the month with an important acknowledgment: protecting the planet needs to be a year-round priority. Associates were asked to participate in a chalkboard challenge where they wrote down how they plan to stay green even once Earth Month is over, mirroring A&F Co.’s own commitment to sustainability 365 days a year.