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PVH Corp. makes a stand against racism

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

5 Jun 2020

Fashion

Joining other fashion companies who have shown solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement since the senseless death of George Floyd, who was killed by police last week in Minneapolis, Minnesota, PVH Corp., which owns Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, has stated that it is “reaffirming” its commitment to the black community by taking a stand against racism within its global company with update guidelines and resources.

In the letter from PVH Corp. chairman and chief executive Manny Chirico and PVH president Stefan Larsso, the two share the company’s stand against racism: “Like many of you, we continue to be upset and outraged by the tragic and senseless losses of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and all victims of racism in the US and around the world. We will never be able to fully understand how the families of these victims and the entire Black community are feeling right now, but we are reaffirming our commitment to use this moment as a catalyst for change.

“While the recent headlines have been focused in the US, inequality of marginalised communities is a problem around the world – and has been that way throughout history. The immediate global response to act in solidarity with the black community in America is like nothing we’ve ever seen.

“At PVH, we condemn racial discrimination. We stand against the systemic racism that has plagued our country for too long. We stand in solidarity with the black community.

“Black lives matter. This shouldn’t be a controversial or divisive statement. It is a universal truth. And until it is treated that way, PVH will keep working.”

The letter, which was sent to all of its global associates, stated that the company took part in the National Day of Mourning on June 4, and they encouraged its staff to use the time to think about how they could “make a positive impact or contribution to achieve equality” as well as take time to process their feelings and emotions.

There was also a statement of support for its black employees, stating: “We have heard from many of you and know you’re hurting deeply. We want you to know that we will try our best to listen, understand, and learn from each of your experiences – we stand with you. We are here for you, and your PVH family supports you.

“We want to share the immediate actions we’re taking as a company, as early steps, knowing we don’t have all the answers right now and there is much more to come on this journey.”

PVH donating 100,000 US dollars to organisations supporting racial justice and equality to support Black Lives Matter movement

Starting immediately, PVH Corp. has confirmed its commitment to amplifying the voices of its black employees and the wider black community with its business resource group, BRAAVE (Building Resource for African American Voices and Empowerment) by partnering to create a task force inclusive of our leadership, HR, inclusion and diversity, the PVH Foundation, legal, and corporate responsibility teams, to ensure the company is "taking the right steps to make the most impact”.

In addition, the PVH Foundation is donating 100,000 US dollars each to The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, which supports racial justice through advocacy, impact litigation and education, and seeks to achieve structural changes to advance democracy, eliminate disparities and achieve racial justice, and The National Urban League, a historic civil rights organisation dedicated to economic empowerment, equality, and social justice. The Urban League collaborates at the national and local levels to elevate standards of living for African Americans and other historically underserved groups.

Throughout June, beginning Monday, The PVH Foundation will also match 100 percent of North America corporate associate charitable donations, allowing employees to contribute to organisations supporting racial justice and equality by utilising its matching gift programme. Retail and warehouse associates will also have the opportunity to donate towards this cause and receive a company match.

The global company has also compiled resources to help its associates educate themselves about racism and bias, includes an anti-racism resource guide, associate check-in guide, PVH U course offerings, videos, podcasts, and articles.

Co-chair of its business resource group, BRAAVE, Attallah Foucault, senior human resources director at PVH, said: “As a Black American, I feel obligated to not be silent, this is the time in which we, as a collective group need to stand together and speak out against any and all forms of racism against our black community. This isn’t new territory for America, but it is an opportunity to act differently and make a change.

“This moment in American history can be a “real turning point" if we can channel our efforts into sustainable and effective action, and it starts with acknowledgement. I’m so proud to work for an organisation that continues to do what’s right and lead by example through not just words, but by our actions, in fully supporting our Civil Rights and Social Justice Community leaders.”

Chirico and Larsso, added: “Our associates are our most important asset at PVH. Take this time to reach out to your PVH colleagues. Let’s show each other compassion, empathy, and respect. Ask a colleague how they’re doing, have honest conversations, educate yourself, and brainstorm with each other on ways to effect change. Now is the time to leverage the power of us.”

The PVH management also called on its staff to share ideas and recommendations: “Now more than ever, your voice matters. We want it to be heard. We pledge that we will be transparent in reporting the progress we make.

“As we work toward driving fashion-forward for good, one of the best ways we can do this is to fight for racial equality – within the walls of our company, our industry, and our society.”

Janelle Parker Lunnon, director of marketing and co-chair of BRAAVE, added: “This is an extremely painful time within the black community across the country. We all have a responsibility in the fight against racial injustice and can no longer look the other way. The Power of PVH has always been our people.

“As an organisation, we must create space and time to listen, learn, and be empathetic. I challenge each of us to have the difficult and uncomfortable conversations to ensure inclusion is not just something we speak about, but something we act on.”

PVH Corp. has more than 40,000 employees operating in over 40 countries and 9.9 billion US dollars in annual revenues. Its brand portfolio includes Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen, Izod, Arrow, Warner’s, Olga and Geoffrey Beene brands, as well as the digital-centric True&Co.

Image: courtesy of PVH Corp. / Tommy Hilfiger