FORT MYERS, Fla., - Chico's FAS, Inc. (NYSE: CHS) ('Chico's FAS' or the 'Company') today announces an update on the retailer's journey to minimize its environmental footprint, support ethical sourcing and help to preserve the future of our planet through smart innovation and solution-driven design.
Cultivator of the iconic Chico's, White House Black Market and Soma brands, Chico's FAS, Inc. is committed to building a better world by actively taking steps to expand its sustainability initiatives throughout its supply chain, stores, Global Distribution Center and at the Chico's FAS headquarters.
'Chico's FAS's is fully committed to enhancing our environmental efforts. Sustainability is a journey that we are navigating together with our customers, our Associates and our value chain partners and we are always actively looking for ways to better our impact on the planet,' says Kristin Gwinner, Chico's FAS, Inc. Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer. 'We are customer-led and product-obsessed. It is our goal to be a responsible steward of our planet's resources, and to be recognized as a brand that cares for the environment. In doing so, we can ensure we are designing to value, including elements our shoppers feel are truly important and continue innovating our design processes in ways that utilize natural resources in the best, most ethical way possible.'
While the Company knows there remains more work to be done, Chico's FAS has recently put several initiatives into motion across all three brands that serve to protect the environment and deliver eco-friendly shopping experiences for its customers.
Sustainable Innovation & Responsible Sourcing
Chico's FAS understands that its product design choices impact the world we live in and continues to make improvements designed to ultimately reduce the overall environmental footprint of its supply chain.
As of 2022, Chico's, Soma and White House Black Market have all implemented 3D technology into their design processes and continue to adopt the practice across larger portions of their assortments. 3D technology reduces the number of physical samples shipped each season by leveraging 3D modeling of product designs throughout the development process. 3D technology permits greater online collaboration and more consistent sizing, reducing the overall reliance on paper usage and physical samples.
In addition, Soma has recently introduced digital printing into its Foundations collections, which uses less water, energy and color pigments than traditional printing techniques. White House Black Market & Chico's have also emphasized a heavier reliance on sustainable techniques in its denim finishing processes. This includes laser printing, mechanical dry processing techniques, biodegradable cellulase enzyme finishes and ozone bleaching, designed to reduce reliance on potentially harmful chemicals.
Raw Material Sourcing:
Chico's FAS believes that the materials used to create their products should be responsibly and ethically sourced. The Company's design teams work closely with their suppliers to identify opportunities to integrate sustainable raw materials and components with important environmental benefits to further lower their carbon footprint, decrease water usage and eliminate plastics and chemicals from entering oceans and landfills. All three brands boast expanded selections of trend-forward styles made with recycled and sustainably-sourced materials such as Unifi's REPREVE, Lenzing's TENCEL and ECOVERO and Eastman's Naia fabrics using biodegradable wood-based fibers and closed-loop chemical recapture processes to help local water tables remain viable.
Select styles from the Chico'sTravelers collection now use fabric made with OEKO-TEX Certified Eastman Naia, a cellulosic fiber crafted with sustainably sourced wood that is made using a low-impact, closed-loop process where solvents are recycled back into the system for reuse.
Across denim, swim and everyday essentials product lines, White House Black Market has recently introduced 19 fabrics with sustainable fiber content, including Lenzing's Tencel, Lenzing's EcoveroTM, Unifi's REPREVE, and other recycled polyester, and lyocell fibers. The White House Black Market online shopping experience now includes a dedicated landing page with all sustainable style offerings. Cotton, a durable and inherently circular natural fiber, continues to be a staple in products. It can be reused, recycled and breaks down in a variety of environments at the end of a garment's life.
From the brand's beloved nursing bras to the wildly popular Embraceable and Enbliss LuxeTM collections, the Soma bra assortment now uses recycled yarns including Unifi's REPREVE (a recycled polyester yarn), recycled nylon lace and recycled polyester. Several of the Soma WKND collection styles contain more than 40% recycled polyester, which is made from recycled PET, the same plastic used in water bottles.
In-Store Recycling Initiatives
Chico's FAS prides itself on further extending the life of products by regularly collecting gently-used clothing to donate to women in need, and recycle unusable product materials and components for use as raw materials in other applications and beyond.
On an ongoing basis, Soma offers recycling initiatives that encourage the brand's community to donate gently loved bras all year long. In partnership with I Support The Girlsand The Bra Recyclers, this upcycled bra donation program allows consumers to drop off new or gently used bras in support of women around the country experiencing homelessness, impoverishment or distress. I Support The Girls collects and distributes essential items, including gently used bras, underwear and menstrual hygiene products, allowing women in need to stand tall with dignity. Any bras that can't be passed on are donated to The Bra Recyclers to be kept out of landfills, to give bras (and Mother Earth) a second chance.
Over the last decade, Soma has collected and donated over 2 million bras to women in need. To date, according to epa.gov estimates, the number of bras recycled through these initiatives have a greenhouse gas emissions impact equivalent to 44.1 tons of waste recycled and kept out of landfills. In 2021 alone, over 4,000 Soma shoppers donated 9,306 bras in support of this program.
Similarly, in an effort to offer shoppers a more eco-conscious way to declutter their closets, White House Black Market teamed up with Cotton Incorporated's Blue Jeans Go Green denim recycling program to launch Give Back: Recycle Your Jeans with WHBM in January 2022. On a mission to keep more denim from ending up in already-overcrowded landfills, the pilot program saw over 8,000 lbs. of denim collected from shoppers at White House Black Market stores from January through February.
For Earth Day 2022, White House Black Market will be re-offering its Give Back: Recycle Your Jeans with WHBM program. From April 22 - April 25, customers will be encouraged to bring pre-loved denim containing at least 90% cotton - from any brand - to their local White House Black Market store to recycle via designated drop-off sites. Through the Give Back: Recycle Your Jeans with WHBM program, unwanted denim is transformed into insulating material used in various applications such as pet bed inserts, industrial mattresses, food shipping boxes and building efforts.
Sustainability at Chico's FAS Headquarters
Chico's FAS Inc. actively integrates sustainable practices across core business operations to address systemic environmental challenges. This includes recycling, reducing energy usage, going paperless, identifying environmentally-friendly office supply alternatives and factoring green optimization efforts into the Company's overall logistics and transportation programs.
For more information on Chico's FAS Sustainability efforts and programming, please visit www.chicosfas.com/responsibility.
For more information on Cotton's Blue Jeans Go Green program, please visit www.bluejeansgogreen.org.
ABOUT CHICO'S FAS, INC.
Chico's FAS is a Florida-based fashion company founded in 1983 on Sanibel Island, Fla. The Company reinvented the fashion retail experience by creating fashion communities anchored by service, which put the customer at the center of everything we do. As one of the leading fashion retailers in North America, Chico's FAS is a company of three unique brands - Chico's, WHBM and Soma - each thriving in their own white space, founded by women, led by women, providing solutions that millions of women say give them confidence and joy.
Our Company has a passion for fashion, and each day, we provide clothing, shoes and accessories, intimate apparel and expert styling in our brick-and-mortar boutiques, digital online boutiques and through Style Connect, the Company's proprietary digital styling tool that enables customers to conveniently shop wherever, whenever and however they prefer.
As of August 24, 2021, the Company operated 1,284 stores in the U.S. and sold merchandise through 66 international franchise locations in Mexico and 2 domestic franchise airport locations. The Company's merchandise is also available at www.chicos.com, www.chicosofftherack.com, www.whbm.com and www.soma.com as well as through third-party channels.
To learn more about Chico's FAS, please visit our corporate website at www.chicosfas.com. The information on our corporate website is not, and shall not be deemed to be, a part of this press release or incorporated into our federal securities law filings.
ABOUT COTTON'S BLUE JEANS GO GREEN
Cotton's Blue Jeans Go Green denim recycling program was created in 2006 by Cotton Incorporated as a call-to-action to recycle denim and give it 'new life' by transforming it into something new. The program strives to inspire sustainable living by educating people on cotton's natural lifecycle and engages consumers and local communities by diverting unwanted denim from landfills, helping to close the loop on cotton sustainability while emphasizing the environmental stewardship of the U.S. cotton industry at large. Blue Jeans Go Green is a trademark of Cotton Incorporated.
SOURCE Chico's FAS, Inc.