Eileen Fisher’s Holistic Vision

Design. Connect. Imagine. CFDA Member and designer Eileen Fisher’s environmental vision focuses on these core values. Design, because it’s the key stage for designing out negative impacts and designing in positive change. Connect, because Eileen Fisher’s environmental efforts rely on engaging people—customers, suppliers, and communities. Imagine, because creative thinking turns business as usual into business as a movement. Below Eileen Fisher explains how she integrates these components into her eco-friendly design process.

 Design – Sustainability starts with design. When we select fabrics and yarns, we are making choices about better farming practices, greener dyes, and innovative production, building an eco-collection that accounts for more than 25% of our line. We work to create products designed to last and easy to care for. Our goal is simple: Design out negative impacts right from the start. In spring 2012, we transformed the way our core China silks are dyed, reducing chemical usage by 45% and water usage by 25%. This one strategic project resulted in bluesign® certification for 10% of our product. We are now exploring bluesign® certification for other fibers in our supply chain.

Connect – Our connection to our customers is critical to moving our sustainability initiatives forward.  We invite them to learn more about our efforts through our Ampersand campaign and to take their own action through a recycling program, GREEN EILEEN.  A project of the nonprofit Eileen Fisher Community Foundation, Green Eileen resells donated clothing to support causes for women and girls. Since 2009, we have collected almost 100,000 Eileen Fisher garments and donated more than $1.5 million to help enhance the lives of women and girls in local and global communities. In addition to extending the life of our garments, Green Eileen is dedicated to up-cycling—diverting items unsuitable for resale from landfills by turning them into rugs, blankets, scarves and other useful objects.

Imagine – I like to talk about “business as a movement” because I deeply believe a business, as a community of people, can make a positive difference. As a values-based business, we feel it’s important to leverage our influence and help to align economic development with environmental protection and social responsibility. We have joined two public policy groups dedicated to shaping legislation and regulations:

  1. (1) Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP) which aims to shape legislation and regulations on a national and  i   international level. Its core principles include stimulating production of renewable energy, promoting energy efficiency and clean energy jobs, preserving forests, and limiting new coal-fired power plants to those that capture and store carbon emissions.
  2. (2) American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), which we joined in 2012, echoes our belief that business can play a positive role in our society. Through education and advocacy, it seeks to influence public policy—and public opinion. Its campaigns focus on such topics as EPA oversight of greenhouse gases, sustainable agriculture, toxic chemicals, regulatory reform and more.

 

Eileen Fisher’s environmental vision is taking root in various ways—developing eco products, reducing air shipments, supporting renewable energy, and engaging in public policy issues. One project at a time, even one conversation, is an action creating impact. To learn more, visit eileenfisher.com.