Statement

In between finalizing our 2019 Sustainability Report, with many achievements to be proud of, the world has gone into an enormous crisis. In fact, this is the biggest challenge the fashion industry has ever faced. This puts all we have done and we're going to do, in a very different light.

Most of our shops in Europe have been closed for many weeks, with a dramatic shortfall in our revenues as a consequence. We will be looking at 40% overstock by the end of the first half of 2020 and a very uncertain outlook for the second half. Nobody knows how quickly and to what extent customer demand will rebound? In busy shopping streets social distancing will very likely lead to footfall reductions. One certainty is that in order to clear stocks, the highstreets will turn red with deals. This will also have a significant negative impact on our business as well...

Many fashion retailers will turn from modestly profitable to severely loss-making, not only for 2020, but probably also for 2021. Discussions with landlords on rent relief are continuing, but even with various governments helping, the outlook for our industry and specifically our company is quite grim.

The stock situation is a very complex jigsaw puzzle; which products can be moved into the winter season, what products will have to be delayed until summer 2021? Products that were originally planned will be cancelled, because, we can’t order more than we can sell… these are products in various stages of development that have not yet materialised. But of course, both we and our suppliers have spent time and energy, that is gone to waste. We have not cancelled orders in production and ready-produced orders, nor have we renegotiated their price. We did ask all our suppliers for help and will continue to do so, as we are in dire straits. We need to work together as partners, as the winter collection is in production now.

We are fully aware of the interdependencies in our value chain. Reduced customer demand has direct consequences in producing countries. The absence of social and economic safety nets is a great concern. Together with the parties in the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile, and by endorsing the ILO Call to Action we are working to develop concrete and specific measures to protect workers’ income, health and employment, and support employers to survive during the COVID-19 crisis.

By buying cheaper and cheaper, our value chain is stripped of its ability to absorb adverse situations. It’s a very complex matter to which we all hold a certain responsibility. All I can hope for is the rise of a new era, where increased awareness leads to a different mentality. With more appreciation for quality, sustainability and equality.

Our core belief remains ‘Better Together’. We will continue to do what we believe is best for us all, even while we are currently distracted by existential concerns. We have made big steps in sustainability in the past years, we are only using 100% more sustainable cotton in the children's collections from spring 2020 onwards, and we have taken the next step in transparency by publishing the first factory list. With the 2025 Sustainability Strategy set out in this report, we have prepared plans for the next steps towards a fair and healthy value chain. As a stubborn optimist, I always see a way forward.

Warm regards,

WE are proud that the WE Fashion Sustainability Strategy forms an essential element of our company. We believe this strategy will enable us to deliver greater value and innovation.

International guidelines and agreements such as the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Sustainable Development Goals SDG, the OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and the ILO’s fundamental labour standards helped us to set policies and do our due diligence by investigating the human rights, environmental or animal welfare violations in our supply chains.

Based on the OECD guidelines a comprehensive risk analysis has been carried out to identify the most salient risks. The findings have been used to create the WE Sustainability Strategy 2020-2025. Consisting of four pillars - making the supply chain more sustainable, making better products, improving our way of working and giving back to society - each pillar includes several goals we want to achieve by 2025.

The aim is to create impact for workers and the environment in the supply chain, for consumers by offering them sustainable products, for our colleagues by offering them a healthy and safe working environment, and for the wider community we operate our business in.

Our 4 pillars

Improving the supply chain

We believe this strategy will enable us to deliver greater value, innovation and competition in the years to come.

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Making better products

We want to minimize the burden on the environment by using more environmentally friendly fibers and materials for products, and using cleaner factories for production.

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Improving our way of working

We find it important that we work with happy employees in a healthy and safe working environment and work hard to make that possible.

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Giving back to society

We do not only want to focus on creating profit, but we want all parties involved to benefit from the production of our clothing. It is our responsibility to give back to society.

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Achievements and goals

In the achievements and goals overview below you can see what we have achieved for our WE Sustainability Strategy 2020-2025.

View overview

Vision|Mission

Finding the right connection between social, environmental and economic interests so that fashion can become sustainable. Something that will interest all stakeholders.

Vision|Mission

We truly care about all people and our planet. To behave responsibly in our actions so that everyone involved can trust WE Fashion to create products that are made with respect for people and the planet. Now and in the future.

Transparency

At this page you can find the WE Fashion factory list, and the published policies and reports. It gives you an overview where sustainability at WE Fashion stands for and what activities we undertake in the field of sustainability. You can also see what our plans are for the coming years.

View all reports