Just as a consumer has choices, at Forever 21, we take our business choices seriously, including in the way we obtain the products we sell. We strive to have a positive impact not only within our stores and corporate family, but also upon hundreds of vendor manufacturing facilities throughout the world which make our products, as well as on their employees.
We see these choices as part of a work in progress. Sustainability efforts can be challenging and difficult, often hampered by limitations in technology, but we are trying to take the steps in the right direction.
Forever 21 Facts:
- All of Forever 21’s plastic and paper bags are 100% recyclable and reusable
- In the spirit of the holiday season, Forever 21 HQ employees hold an annual donation drive which collects toys, food, books and clothing that are distributed to local community organizations
- Forever 21’s Headquarters is the site of California’s 3rd largest solar power installation
- We will continue to transport our products via sea vs. airfreight in order to help reduce carbon emissions.
- Our new stores are using energy efficient lighting systems to vastly cut down on the energy usage.
- We recycle all shipment boxes at our distribution center daily.
- More than $11.5 million (retail value) of merchandise was donated throughout 2016
- $100,000 was donated to DonorsChoose.org from our 2016 holiday Give to Love, Love to Give collection
- Nearly $20,000 was donated to Keep a Breast from our 2016 October BCA collection
1. Supplier and Vendor Social Compliance and Ethical Sourcing
We care for our employees and for the employees of hundreds of vendor manufacturing facilities that we work with throughout the world. We want all of these employees to work in safe and healthy environments.
Forever 21 shares the same goals of eliminating child and adult forced labor, and we are fully aligned with the spirit and purpose of Responsible Sourcing Network’s cotton pledge. Forever 21 has signed the cotton pledge effective October 7, 2016. Forever 21’s commitment to this issue is not new. Since 2013, Forever 21 has worked to ensure that none of its third party vendors knowingly obtain their supply of cotton from Uzbekistan.
Our Corporate Social Responsibility program includes the Forever 21 Vendor Audit Program. While many of our vendors have worked with Forever 21 for a number of years and are trusted, all suppliers and vendors must provide factory contact information and all factories must participate in the audit program.
Here are Some Important Elements of our Program:
- Forever 21 enters into a comprehensive agreement with each of our vendors and their factories under which they promise to utilize legally qualified workers, pay them wages which are fair and legal in their jurisdiction, and provide an environment that complies with their legal requirements. Our agreement also covers issues of time off, free association rights, nondiscrimination, environmental protection and security, and prohibits the use of forced or slave labor, child labor, or prison labor.
- These Vendor Compliance Standards were developed to comply with industry standards, local labor laws, the California Transparency in Supply Chain Act, the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the ILO Core Conventions.
- We have a highly trained Vendor Compliance Team, which promotes and enforces lawful and ethical operations at our third-party factory sites. The Team accomplishes this enforcement by conducting inspections of our active non-US Vendor manufacturing facilities on a random basis to ensure The Vendor Compliance Standards are understood, respected and followed. We also visit most Vendor factories before we hire a Vendor to ensure their facility and operations meet with our standards.
- After each factory visit, the Vendor Compliance Team provides a written evaluation of the factory, including any action items which may need correction prior to the next visit. We also do our best to provide ongoing information, advice, and support on fair labor, health and safety, and related issues.
- Our goal is to work with the Vendors and their factories to help them improve and ensure consistent compliance. However, in the event that we discover very serious violations or violations which are not corrected within a reasonable time period after our corrective action plan has been issued; we may terminate that factory from our roster.
We believe this process assists in guarding against potential unsafe conditions, workplace injuries or mistreatment, and also results in an overall improvement in our Vendors’ factory efficiency and product quality standards.
Since 2007, Forever 21 has developed a Vendor Agreement, requiring that our Vendors’ manufacturing facilities with which we do business adhere to safety and human rights standards.
Forever 21 does not manufacture any of its own merchandise. Forever 21 instead purchases goods from vendors who are required to follow our policies and procedures which expressly prohibit the use of child or slave labor to manufacture the clothing and accessories we sell.
We have a rigorous vetting process when we first start business with new vendors, and this includes visits to, and review of, the factories and the workforce. We also require all of our vendors to sign Vendor Agreement Relating to Compliance with Labor and Employment Laws (VARCLEL) contracts where they confirm in writing that they will act in full compliance with the local laws. Before we do any business with them, they are required to promise, among other things, that they will expressly:
- not discriminate on the basis of national origin, race, sex, marital status, religion, age, disability, medical condition, veteran status and sexual orientation in any employment action relating to their workforce,
- not employ or utilize underage, prison or child labor,
- comply with all local wage and work hour laws – including paying at least the minimum wage, paying for overtime, etc.,
- provide a safe workplace and work environment,
- provide a clean and habitable workspace,
- maintain adequate insurance (workers’ compensation, disability, etc.), and
- not subcontract any work to other facilities
We also conduct unannounced inspections of the Vendor factories where we monitor and enforce these policies. If the inspectors find a serious problem, like one with child labor, we consider this a “zero tolerance” issue and we demand immediate corrective action. If the vendor cannot or will not comply, then we can terminate our relationship with them and we may get the local authorities involved. If we are notified of any violation by our suppliers, we investigate and resolve immediately.
Forever 21 established a permanent fur-free policy in 2004. We have worked with PETA to meet guidelines to avoid cruelty to animals and continue to look for ways to improve.
Forever 21 established a permanent ban on Angora (rabbit hair) in 2014. We have worked with PETA to meet guidelines to avoid cruelty to animals and continue to look for ways to improve.
Special Note About the 2012 California Transparency in Supply Chain Act
On January 1, 2012, the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 (SB 657) went into effect, requiring retailers and manufactures above a certain size and doing business in California to disclose measures used to track possible slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains. The disclosure is aimed at providing information to consumers to allow them to make better, more informed choices about the products they buy and the companies they support.
We make the following disclosure in compliance with the Supply Chain Act:
- Do we engage in third-party verification to evaluate and address human trafficking and slavery risks in product supply chains? We regularly evaluate and address human trafficking and slavery risks in product supply chains through inspectors who are employees of the company and who are also tasked with investigating internal or third-party reports of this nature.
- Do we conduct audits of suppliers to evaluate supplier compliance with company standards for trafficking and slavery? We conduct audits of our suppliers through inspectors who are employees of the company and check for compliance with company standards for trafficking and slavery. We conduct both announced and unannounced audits.
- Do we require direct suppliers to certify that materials incorporated into the product comply with the laws regarding slavery and human trafficking of the country or countries in which are doing business? We require such certification from our direct suppliers.
- Do we maintain internal accountability standards and procedures for employees or contractors failing to meet company standards on slavery and trafficking? We maintain internal accountability standards and procedures for employees and contractors who fail to meet company standards in this regard.
- Do we provide company employees and management, who have direct responsibility for supply chain management, with training on mitigating risks of slavery and trafficking in supply chains? The company provides training on detecting and enforcing procedures against slavery and human trafficking to such employees and management.
At Forever 21, one of our core values is to encourage giving and to lend a helping hand to those who need it most. We are always finding ways to help our local communities and partner with charities of every scale. Over the years, we have carried product that has helped a number of organizations. In 2009, we formally introduced the Give to Love, Love to Give message. When we partner with an organization on a specific collection, a portion of the proceeds is donated to the designated charity, during a given time frame. Look for the “Give to Love, Love to Give” message on product hangtags to participate in charity partnerships.
Our Give to Love, Love to Give collection has been a huge success thanks to your support. We, along with our charity partners, thank you for supporting our special collections and helping each one of our partnerships be successful.
We have also developed a specific charity email, where any organization or person can submit a request. The email is a direct line of communication and will allows us to be more accessible within the communities where stores reside. Send all charity requests to Charity@Forever21.com
Here are some of our recent charitable causes:
DonorsChoose.org is a not for profit corporation dedicated to help classrooms in need across America. They connect communities to classrooms in need and purchase each item and ship the materials directly to verified schools. We partnered with DonorsChoose.org during the 2016 holiday season on a special collection where $1 from each item sold was donated to DonorsChoose.org for a match offer. Visit www.donorshoose.org to learn more.
Soles 4 Souls
Soles 4 Souls is a not for profit global social enterprise committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing. The collected clothing from individuals and organizations are distributed in two ways, via direct donations to people in need and by providing micro enterprise programs designed to create jobs in poor and disadvantaged communities. Through this partnership we have been able to donate more than 800,000 units of clothing to their honorable cause. Visit www.soles4souls.org to learn more.
Brownson House serves low-income and homeless individuals and families in Boyle Heights, a neighboring city near our headquarters. Since 2011, Forever 21 has hosted food drives in the corporate office back to school and Christmas events. During the back to school event, backpacks and school supplies are provided and during the holidays wrapped gifts are provided for all the children who attend Brownson’s after school program, along with crafts and snacks. In addition to the events, all the leftover Starbucks (located inside HQ) food gets distributed to low-income families of the Brownson House community or Skid Row Downtown LA in the morning.
On Your Feet Family Resource Center
A non-profit organization that provides assistance to low-income, homeless, under privileged families and individuals, shelters, missions, board and care facilities and disaster relief and other organizations in need of their assistance. Through our partnership over the past years we have been able to donate nearly 700,000 units of clothing to their powerful cause. Visit www.onyourfeetinc.net to learn more.
Missing Persons Foundation
Missing Persons is dedicated to helping the needs of missing persons and their families. With our donations they are able to conduct programs to inform, educate and train adults and children how to avoid trafficking, abductions and personal abuse. Throughout the years we have been able to donate more than 1 million units in clothing to help rally educational programs. Visit www.mpfus.org to learn more.
Keep A Breast
Keep A Breast uses grassroots methods to inform the younger generations about early detection, coping and support of breast cancer. Their brand resonates with youth through art and creative expression programs. For the past three years, we have partnered with KAB in the month of October on a special collection where $1 from each item sold is given to KAB. Visit www.keep-a-breast.org to learn more.
Make-A-Wish is a non-profit organization that grants the wishes of eligible children with life threatening medical conditions. They believe granting wishes strengthens and empowers children, and at Forever 21 we help make shopping spree wishes come true by gifting these children a new wardrobe. Visit www.wish.org to learn more.
Everyone has the right to basic human necessities, such as healthy and nutritious food. FEED Projects' mission is to create good products that help FEED the world. By using environmentally-friendly and artisan-made materials, along with fair-labor production, to create all FEED products, FEED is proud to help FEED the world. Through our partnership, we were able to provide 71,120 meals. Visit www.feedprojects.com to learn more.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
HSUS is the nation's largest and most effective animal protection organization, backed by 11 million Americans. They help animals by advocating for better laws to protect animals; conducting campaigns to reform industries; providing animal rescue and emergency response; investigating cases of animal cruelty; and caring for animals through our sanctuaries and wildlife rehabilitation centers, emergency shelters and clinics. Visit www.humanesociety.org to learn more.
Japan Disaster Relief
Forever 21 donated 100% of its global online sales on Friday March 18, 2011 to support the victims of Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami. All money spent on that day from any of Forever 21's global e-commerce sites, was donated to the American Red Cross to aid the people of Japan. Online shoppers around the world took this opportunity to rekindle a glimmer of hope, faith and strength into the hearts of the people of Japan. Visit www.redcross.org to learn more.
The American Red Cross
Since its founding in 1881 by visionary leader Clara Barton, the American Red Cross has been the nation's premier emergency response organization. As part of a worldwide movement that offers neutral humanitarian care to the victims of war, the American Red Cross distinguishes itself by also aiding victims of devastating natural disasters. Over the years, the organization has expanded its services, always with the aim of preventing and relieving suffering. This collection allowed us to continue our support for the Japan relief efforts. Visit www.redcross.org to learn more.
Susan G Komen for the Cure
In 1982, Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. After Susan Komen lost her valiant battle Nancy set up SGK For the Cure Foundation. This organization has done amazing things to further the awareness and the need to find a cure for Breast Cancer. Aside from spearheading the Think Pink for October movement, they are the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to this battle. Visit www.komen.org to learn more
Big Brothers Big Sisters
For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation's largest mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters' mission is to provide children who are facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. Visit www.bbbs.org to learn more.
When a child or teenager has a serious medical condition, everyone in the family is affected. For almost 30 years, Starlight has dedicated itself to helping seriously ill children and their families cope with their pain, fear and isolation through entertainment, education and family activities. Instead of their days being filled with needles, hospitals and waiting, they can now fill their days with a little dreaming. Visit www.starlight.org to learn more.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
Just as their name suggests, their mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. Through various programs such as adoption, shelter outreach, legislative lobbying against puppy mills, the ASPCA has done so much to help our furry friends. In this partnership we created a special collection and for every item sold in the collection a $1 was donation to ASPCA. Visit www.aspca.org to learn more.
3. Environmental Policy:
Forever 21 is committed to reducing its environmental footprint throughout its global operations. Environmental sustainability is a key responsibility and we can play an integral role in ensuring that our impact is minimal in the countries where we source materials and products through to the markets where products are sold.
In January 2015 we finalized the installation of a massive 5.1 megawatt (DC) high efficiency solar power system on about 17 acres of our DC warehouse rooftop, making it the largest single-rooftop solar power system in Los Angeles County and the third largest in California. Now completed, the system will generate enough energy to power approximately 1,450 Lincoln Heights homes. According to estimates, it will avoid the annual production of almost 13 million pounds of carbon dioxide – equal emissions created by burning 6 million pounds of coal, or the equivalent of taking 1,200 passenger cars off the roads. We are proud to be a part of the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) program and to be contributing to L.A.’s goal of generating 33% of its electricity from renewables by 2020.
We are also proud to be a part of San Francisco’s goal to reach zero waste by 2020. Our San Francisco stores collect unwanted clothing and shoes in our co-branded bins with I:CO. The collected items are then transported and sorted at a recycling plant and the reused textiles are used for different items such as insulation material for the construction industry, and for cushioning and filing material for stuffed toys, insoles and bags. Visit a San Francisco store today to donate your old clothing and shoes.