Black or White or Green ?!?

Welcome to "nouveau monde", sort of a "nouveau genre" newsletter to better understand how to make the world better through the lens of retail. This is #16!

This week in nouveau monde, we’ll talk about another initiative regarding green jeans. And also how Amazon operates its transformation, would it be with a little greenwashing plan ?

Things move fast in retail and sustainability, we’re really happy to help you get the right tips and be inspired !

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Today's newsletter is 839 words, a 4-minute read.


Green jeans

by Phil

American Eagle Outfitters has created a limited-edition line of jeans with a weird name called “AE x The Jeans Redesign” which made with sustainable materials, including 100% organic cotton and without harmful chemicals. The advert says that the pant is “designed to hold up through at least 30 washes”, which I don’t really know what that really means. The jeans are available in two styles for men and two for women, each priced at $59.95 per pair. Voila.

American Eagle Outfitters is part of those companies in apparel pretending consistently caring for the impact of their production on the environment when producing its garments. You can read that “the brand has been able to save a total of 4.5 billion gallons of water with recycling and reduction efforts since 2017”. I guess they have some kind of “green CPA” to be that precise. It reduced as well its water usage in jeans by 21 percent in 2020, with advancements in their production. That’s a kind of great accounting counters here.

But this is how you can be able to measure sustainability efforts. American Eagle Outfitters introduced in 2019 comprehensive sustainability goals, including a plan to be carbon neutral by 2030 with a focus on water reduction, energy reduction, and the use of more sustainable raw materials. This work is highlighted in what hey call their Real Good products, which is how customers can identify the most sustainable items in our American Eagle and Aerie collections.

To make these American Eagle and Aerie products, the company had to partner with apparel manufacturers that operate globally, since they do not own or operate any factories. We’re talking here about a network of more than 300 factories in more than 20 countries around the world, to give you some idea. American Eagle Outfitters has defined a comprehensive Supplier Code of Conduct which is based upon internationally accepted standards, including the International Labor Organization (ILO)’s core conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is used to work collaboratively with their factory partners to ensure they meet AEO’s requirements.


Amazon leads the world, for the Better ?

by Anthony

It's tough to be a leader.

It will be even harder to be a leader with no authentic societal strategy. Thanks to a great podcast, How to save a Planet, I discovered these days the fight that some Amazon workers have started to make their company move - for real - regarding climate and societal justice.

The group, called Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, just put a light on a concern regarding pollution : most of the Amazon mega-warehouses are located in suburbs of colored populations (at least in the US), causing a lot of truck traffic. The mass of diesel trucks generate pollution that causes harm to these colored population.

But wait ! Amazon has written a great pledge to be net zero carbon by 2030 and they ordered 100 000 electric vans with a really nice PR partnership with Rivian (see nouveau monde number 2).

Well, this is a problem with these NET zero pledges that flourish from every major company these days : it is not a true zero emissions but a pledge to compensate emissions with offsets.

Well, we can't find any of these offsets in the Shipment Zero pledge page but nobody can be fully zero carbon as even an electric van has an impact, during its construction, its operations (electricity comes from somewhere) and its demolition.

So far, what matters for the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, is that until the whole fleet of Amazon trucks and vans will be "zero emission", it is hurting a specific range of the population, the one that has been a lot more hit by the Covid-19. The New York Times also talked about it.

And what seems to anger the activist group is that Amazon has the power to really be a leader in this fight but only seems to do its part, at the minimum of what a big co is supposed to do.

Listen to the podcast, read the open letter to Jeff Bezos and make your own opinion !


Quick hits

The pandemic has impacted every aspect of the grocery business and sustainability is no exception. Increased demand and supply chain disruption have made managing shrink even more challenging, all the while consumer perception is shifting: 43% feel sustainability is “extremely important,” up from 28% pre-pandemic according to proprietary research from Ahold Delhaize USA.

Join Nick Bertram, President of The GIANT Company, and Josh Domingues, Founder and CEO of Flashfood, as they discuss why sustainability is core to winning shoppers in 2021 and why new solutions are needed to tackle the issue of retail food waste.

The discussion hosted by moderator Gina Acosta, Executive Editor of Progressive Grocer, will focus on:

•How The GIANT Company has integrated sustainability into their core values and brand•The need for a multi-pronged approach to optimize supply and demand dynamics•How third-party solutions like Flashfood can both attract new shoppers and improve profitability •The essential role of community groups and charitable organizations 

This 45-minute talk will also include an opportunity for Q&A. If you're looking for new tools and strategies to tackle sustainability, don't miss this session tomorrow Tuesday 2PM EDT.


Fast Rewind

IKEA and Amazon on the same boat ? IKEA (episode 1 here) just made a significant investment in a company dedicated to help EV operations in China, have a look at this news…


Bonus track by Anthony