Nordstrom x Humane Society: Banning Fur and Exotic Animal Skins

Our Chief Merchandising Officer, Teri Bariquit, joined The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) CEO, Kitty Block, and InStyle Magazine Editor in Chief, Laura Brown, to discuss our recent announcement to ban products made with animal fur or exotic animal skins by 2021. Below are highlights of Teri's remarks from the podcast, which you can listen to here.
 
You recently announced Nordstrom is going fur-free what led to this exciting announcement?

"We have always put our customers right at the center of every decision that we make. They vote every day with their dollars. Over the years, we've been monitoring their sentiment and feedback, so last week we made the announcement that we will no longer be offering genuine fur products and exotic animal skins."

Why make this decision now?

"There are a number of factors that went into this decision. We started this journey back in 1991 when we eliminated our fur salons because it was clear our customers wanted a change since they were spending less and less there. Several years later, we banned all genuine fur from our Nordstrom Made product. And then we banned raccoon dog from our product and we just kept going on this evolution. We've also seen from our brand partners that they've started to go to fur alternatives, so when you  look at both the customer sentiment and the world around us, it made sense that this was the right time."
 
How did the environmental impacts of the fur and exotic animal skin industry factor into your decision? 

"As a company, we believe the impacts we have on our employees, customers and communities extend well beyond the walls of our stores. We have many commitments to corporate social responsibility and have made declarations around sustainability and the impact we have on the environment this certainly falls into the category. But there is also a responsibility, not just to animal cruelty, but to our human rights commitment. All of these commitments are important to us and are part of our long-term and near-term declaration for us to be a better business and corporate citizen.

While sustainability has long been a priority of ours, we recently increased our commitment by announcing our 2025 environmental sustainability goals, which you can view along with our human rights and corporate philanthropy goals in our 2019 Sharing Our Progress report.
 
Tell us about the Nordstrom and the Humane Society partnership and the evolution of fur in the fashion industry. 

Kitty Block, HSUS CEO, commented on Nordstrom's journey and how grateful HSUS is for the partnership on this announcement. 

"Nordstrom has been on this path for a long time. Not only did you make an announcement about fur, but you also made an announcement on exotic skins. Nordstrom is the first in the nation to go that route — that's huge. That's really being a leader in this space, and the impact being made on the animals involved is indescribable. We couldn't be more grateful, Nordstrom has been an amazing partner and we look forward to continuing to work with you, promote you, and talk about your great work," said Kitty. 

Teri echoed the same sentiment, sharing HSUS has been a great partner for decades in educating and keeping Nordstrom abreast of the issues. She also commented on the process and decision-making that went into going fur-free, stating, "It's not necessarily the easiest to go first on something. We are not the first fashion retailer to claim we are not going to have genuine fur, and there is a lot to learn and account for as we are running a business at the same time. But that said, I think the evolution path is customer-led. We listen to our customers and are following different generational preferences. And in the last year, it's clear that things like fur and sustainable practices are also top priorities for our brand partners...it's a movement we are seeing."

Teri closed out the podcast by thanking HSUS and InStyle Magazine for coming together on this topic. 

"It's just amazing when you can have different organizations and industries come together on an issue and how much progress can be made through awareness and education. I commend and thank everyone for working together on this announcement."