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In 2015, the company worked with BSR, a sustainability consultant, to align its strategy with the Global Reporting Index and identify its most relevant sustainability issues
Fossil Group, which manufactures and sells watches, leather goods, connected devices and other accessories, is consolidating existing volunteer programmes into its comprehensive sustainability programme. In 2015, the company worked with BSR, a sustainability consultant, to align its strategy with the Global Reporting Index and identify its most relevant sustainability issues.
“We are new to developing a formal sustainability programme. We are in the midst of putting together our 2020 goals and employee engagement is Ecoimagination stresses innovation from employees one of the core topics,” says Robert ter Kuile, vice president, global head of sustainability, for Fossil Group. The company plans to complete the goals by the end of this year or early 2017.
“Formalising what the goals look like is a huge piece in developing the roadmap, aligning it with our initiatives and engaging with all of our employees,” Ter Kuile adds. “We’ve been successful at the retail marketing level, so this will be an important next step to broaden our efforts. Also, we are trying to remain flexible, which is one of the challenges when you have goals; they can inherently limit you.
“We’ll be talking about what it looks like in terms of employee engagement and impact. We do have numerous programmes now, involving local green teams with recycling champions.” Members of green teams are volunteers with common interests who are helping employees adopt more sustainable lifestyles.
Employees at Fossil stores in the US central region competed recently to see who could collect the most plastic bottles for recycling, venturing into communities to engage schools and community groups. Almost 70,000 plastic bottles were retrieved, says Ter Kuile. “We have a bag made from recycled plastic bottles that is sold in our outlet stores.”
Part of engaging employees is making the company’s operations more sustainable. Fossil’s product development team is working on ways to manufacture and ship products more efficiently, and the company has been able to increase the density of products per pallet and package by 40-50%, reducing the number of containers coming from China. “We’re equipping them with tools and resources so they can apply it to the way they do things,” notes Ter Kuile. “We’re helping people to be more efficient and impactful in their jobs and be more successful. It also just happens to be sustainable.”
The next step is to show Fossil employees how they can contribute, no matter what department they are in. “We’re going to speak their language and meet them where they are and make sustainability goals applicable to their business,” explains Ter Kuile. “Whatever they are doing is material. Folks have to see it is applicable to their jobs and they can make a major difference, not just on the business, but have a positive impact. Just because you are not part of the sustainability team, doesn’t mean you can’t be sustainable and have a positive impact.”