Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSI) is committed to mitigating our impact on the environment from our use of materials, to the making of our products, to the impact of our operations. We apply environmental strategies and targets across both our owned and operated facilities and our supply chain, and we report on our progress internally as well as in our annual Corporate Responsibility Scorecard.

Low-Impact Materials & Products

Our sourcing and design teams consider the climate impact of raw materials and manufacturing processes, and we develop plans to mitigate those impacts. WSI has increasingly promoted responsibly sourced wood and cotton for their measurable environmental benefits over conventional materials, and we lead in recycled polyester and alternative materials like TENCEL(R)-lyocell. We track and report on our fiber and wood usage bi-annually to internal teams and publicly on an annual basis. We hold vendors accountable to the standards outlined in our Fiber and Wood Procurement Policies, and we require transaction certificates and chain-of-custody documentation to back up Responsibly Sourced claims. 

We have committed to using 100% responsibly sourced cotton and 50% responsibly sourced wood by 2021. To achieve these ambitious goals, we use cotton alternatives — such as recycled fiber — and textiles, including fibers certified by:

Responsibly sourced wood includes rediscovered—reclaimed/recycled and orchard wood sourcing—as well as verified legal and low-risk wood for legality (as defined by NEPCon’s Timber Risk Assessments and FSC’s National Risk Assessments). Additional certifications include:

We rely on third-party partners like the Rainforest Alliance and WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) to inform our Responsibly Sourced Material policies and review our annual responsible material calculations. We rely on third-party certifications to communicate many of our environmental achievements internally and externally through the publication of our annual Corporate Responsibility Scorecard. 

We collect and maintain detailed information on factory-level certifications and have a rigorous chain-of-custody documentation collection and verification process for validating material and factory claims. 

Chemicals & Testing

We have a worldwide team of product quality professionals and subject matter experts who support our global sourcing offices and vendor base, setting clear standards around restricted substances and emissions. We also have a network of quality assurance professionals and on-the-ground experts who work directly with our vendor base to establish clear product reviews, develop testing protocols and implement routine inspections. We operate in-country labs in our major sourcing regions to inform product development. Our products are tested at either one of our WSI in-country labs or by independent, third-party labs certified by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Packaging

We use 100% FSC-certified paper for our catalogs and prioritize digital communication, reducing catalog production continuously year-over-year. Our team of packaging engineers and designers are working across our vendor base to reduce packaging volume while transitioning to materials, such as cardboard, that are curbside-recyclable. As part of this process, we are gathering data on packaging volume and composition to create a baseline for more sustainable sourcing and to support our reduction strategy.

Operations

Reducing emissions by increasing efficiency provides us with significant cost savings, a competitive advantage and supports our commitment to reducing our environmental impact. While our revenues have increased, we’ve reduced our carbon intensity year-over-year since 2011.

We measure greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in kilograms per dollars of revenue. Emissions include Scope 1 (direct GHG emissions from fuel consumption), Scope 2 (indirect GHG emissions from purchased electricity, heat and steam) and partial Scope 3 (emissions from business travel). Emissions from stores, data centers, outsourced data services, distribution centers, in-sourced hubs, call centers, corporate offices and owned and leased vehicles are included.

Electricity accounts for most of our Scope 2 (indirect GHG emissions from purchased electricity, heat and steam) energy usage and costs, as well as our emissions. We continue to design and retrofit our stores, offices and distribution centers with energy-efficient LED lighting. This has saved energy and reduced costs across the company. We also include LED bulbs in our consumer lighting products to help customers save energy and money while reducing their carbon footprint.

Supply Chain

Suppliers are expected to ensure compliance with WSI’s responsible raw material procurement and environmental protection policies. These expectations are outlined in our Vendor Code of Conduct and Implementation Standards, in which we define Environmental Protection requirements, including:

  • Environmental Management Systems
  • Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Requirements
  • Water and Wastewater Requirements
  • Air Emissions and Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) Requirements
  • Solid Waste and Hazardous Waste Requirements
  • Chemical Management Requirements

These guidelines are designed to align with the Higg Index Facility Environment Module. To ensure the factories we use meet our environmental compliance standards, factories in our audit scope are audited each year through semi-announced audits within a three-week window. Audits are conducted on site for one or two days, by qualified auditors from independent third-party audit firms who are trained in-depth on WSI audit standards and protocols. Suppliers are guided in developing an environmental strategy focused on performance improvements and impact reduction, and encouraged to evaluate and update their systems every 18 months. 

Documentation & Communication

We set quantitative goals and measure our environmental performance as discussed above, using these targets to document and improve our performance. Internal and external communications include:

  • Annual public Corporate Responsibility Report
  • ESG information in annual reports
  • Sustainability training for all new corporate employees
  • Ongoing updates through employee newsletters
  • Ongoing updates to brand presidents and executive leadership

We report on our progress-to-goals annually in our Corporate Responsibility report and to our Board of Directors. We train all new employees on environmental initiatives, and we provide ongoing up-to-date information through our employee website and newsletters. 

Executive Oversight

Our CEO and senior management oversee our sustainability strategy, goals and progress with input from the Social Responsibility Committee of our Board of Directors. This committee is composed entirely of independent members of WSI’s Board, and receives updates from management on the Company’s sustainability strategy, goals and progress at least annually. To learn more, see our Code of Conduct & Ethics.

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