How Nordstrom Creates Circularity: A Conversation with the Fashion Institute of Technology

Kicking off Earth Month, Vice President of Public Relations and Corporate Affairs Gigi Ganatra Duff joined FIT for their annual Sustainable Business and Design Conference. Take a look at a few highlights from her conversation on our environmental sustainability and circularity goals and commitment to leaving the planet better than we found it. 

Can you share more about the ambitious goals Nordstrom has set that support circularity and environmental sustainability?  

We are proud of the goals we set and the work we have done to reach them. We went through an entire materiality assessment to set the foundation of our efforts and goals. The materiality assessment allows us to hear the voices of our employees, customers, partners and non-profit organizations to identify where our opportunities were and where we can make an impact as a company. We know our employees and customers care about the work we are doing within environmental sustainability and we have the opportunity to lead in an industry that can make a better impact on our planet. 

Can you highlight the programs and efforts you feel are most successful today and will have the biggest impact going forward?

One of the first programs that got off the ground was Sustainable Style, which was driven by customer demand and feedback. We saw customers searching for sustainable products and used that data to inform our approach and the launch of Sustainable Style. We first introduced Sustainable Style in 2019 as a shoppable category for customers to find products that are responsibly manufactured or packaged, are made with sustainably sourced materials or ingredients, or give back. Today, customers can shop over 11,000 products that are sustainable on the site. Since launching, searches for sustainable products have increased by 200%. 

We also launched our mail-in clothing takeback program in partnership with Give Back Box to support our circularity goals. our clothing donation program, we hope to make it easy to give used clothing and accessories a second life. Together we can prevent waste and support nonprofit organizations. 

We know that the beauty industry produces packaging that can be difficult to recycle, so we launched our BEAUTYCYLE program to help take back and recycle beauty products. The program launched BEAUTYCYCLE in 2020 as the first beauty take-back and recycling program available at a major retailer. Last month, we extended the program into all of our Nordstrom Rack stores. Now there are over 300 locations where you can take in any beauty product to be recycled. Our goal is to take back 250 tons of beauty packaging to be recycled by 2025. 

What commitments has Nordstrom made to reduce environmental impact and carbon emissions?

Our goal is to reduce our emissions, specifically within our supply chainit's one of the biggest opportunities we have as we look ahead. In 2020, we committed to setting science-based targets by 2025.

We are also committed to producing more responsible packaging. This month, we are integrating paper bags into all of our Nordstrom Rack stores and removing plastic bags. This enables us to nearly reach our goal of reducing 50% of single-use plastic. We've also changed our poly bags by sourcing thinner poly mailers that are made from 50% recycled material. This adjustment will result in a reduction of 192-tons of plastic. We're integrating our sustainability efforts across the entire organization and with the work of individual teams we are able to make a tremendous impact on the environment when we work together.