US’ AEO exceeds water reduction target, sets new sustainability goals

US-based retailer American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) has recycled 9 million gallons of water at laundries and reduced water use per pair of jeans produced by 38 per cent in 2022, surpassing the initial water reduction goal one year early, according to its recently released second environmental (Planet), social (People) and governance (Practices) report detailing progress made through the company’s Building a Better World strategy.

AEO has exceeded its 2022 water reduction target, recycling 9 million gallons of water at laundries and reducing water use per pair of jeans by 38 per cent.
AEO’s ESG report highlights its commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.
The company has also established the Aerie Real Foundation to promote women’s empowerment, inclusivity, and sustainability.

A commitment to social responsibility has been central to AEO since its inception, as evidenced through its initiatives and more than two decades of ESG achievements. With enhanced transparency, as well as SASB and TCFD-aligned sustainability reporting, AEO’s commitment to increased oversight and performance has resulted in a number of advancements over the last twelve months, including MSCI’s upgrade of AEO’s ESG rating from ‘BBB’ to ‘A’.

“Doing well–and doing right by our customers, associates and communities is deeply woven within the fabric of AEO,” said Jay Schottenstein, executive chairman of the board and chief executive officer. “We are proud to release our second ESG report to highlight greater transparency and our ongoing commitment to building a better world. Every day, we strive to make lasting improvements across our organisation that will lead to a more sustainable and an equitable future.”

The report also highlights a number of new programs through AEO’s charitable giving which further champions causes that are important to its customers and communities. In 2022, AEO established the Aerie Real Foundation, formalising and expanding on the brand’s decades-long history of philanthropy to promote women’s empowerment, inclusivity and sustainability.

The report reveals that AEO has achieved or exceeded several environmental goals, directed at protecting the planet and driving meaningful change across the retail industry. To reflect this progress, the company has added the following targets to its existing goals including recycling 70 per cent of total water used in denim laundries by 2025; reducing its water footprint by 30 per cent by 2028 across its own operations, and strategic factories and mills; committing to net-zero emissions by 2050; lowering virgin plastic by 50 per cent and reduce total plastic footprint by 30 per cent by 2028; and using sustainable sources for 75 per cent of all fibres by 2028.