Macy’s to invest $5B in social responsibility efforts

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Macy’s announced Tuesday a commitment to spend $5 billion by 2025 on efforts to “create a more equitable and sustainable future,” according to a company press release
  • The retailer’s social purpose effort, dubbed Mission Every One, was created to drive positive social change and will focus on three areas of impact: people, communities and planet. 
  • Efforts include diversifying company leadership, raising hourly pay, and increasing the use of sustainable materials in its products.

Dive Insight:

With Mission Every One Macy’s is making it clear that it is committed to being a socially responsible company. 

The new platform, CEO Jeff Gennette said, is a way to show how the retailer is doing that work. “We are transforming our business from a position of legacy to one of leadership,” he said in a statement. “In this evolution, how we run the business is as important as what we sell.”

Under its “people” pillar Macy’s will invest in underrepresented designers, brands and partners across its namesake and Bloomingdale’s brands. The company also will achieve 30% ethnically diverse representation at the director level and above by 2025. Macy’s reiterated its stance that it will invest in education benefits and will boost minimum hourly pay to $15 per hour by May 1. 

Its “communities” effort encompasses donating more than $100 million to nonprofit organizations, another $2 million to support scholarships for underrepresented youth in fashion, design and sustainability programs, and other measures.

The retailer’s “planet” endeavor focuses on incorporating more sustainably sourced raw materials and fibers into its private brands, and investing in means of reducing, reusing and repurposing materials to eliminate waste. The company is committing to advance worker’s rights with suppliers for its owned brands, which encompasses social and environmental audits of all of the company’s tier-1 private brands supplier factories. 

Macy’s is part of a wave of retailers that are reevaluating its relationship with workers. On Monday, Target announced that hourly wages will be boosted to a range between $15 and $24 hourly. Target last summer also expanded education assistance benefits and is making it easier for hourly workers to qualify for health benefits by lowering its minimum requirement from an average of 30 hours per week to 25. Other companies like Walgreens Boots Alliance, CVS, Costco, Kohl’s and Amazon have increased hourly pay, paid bonuses for working during the holiday season, and given sign-on bonuses in an effort to both woo and keep employees during a time when people are leaving jobs in droves

Meanwhile, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements, brands increasingly have been called to face their own internal policies regarding racial equity and diversity efforts, with consumers increasingly wanting accountability for decision making. 

On an earnings call with analysts in February, Gennette pointed to the company’s future with its purpose for the platform, saying that Macy’s has always been a partner in the communities where it operates. “But today, as stakeholders’ expectations of corporations and of us change, we’re prepared to better align how we do our work with the common good.” 

Macy’s says that its movements towards a more inclusive future is “enterprise-wide” and that the company wants to leverage its scale and culture to make larger changes in the world. “Mission Every One will be an essential part of how we operate and the decisions that we make as a business,” Gennette said.

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