TABLE OF CONTENTS
Focus companies: Lululemon

Founded in 1988, Canadian activewear brand lululemon sells clothing, accessories and equipment catering to various sports and leisure activities — from yoga, to running and training, to lounging. They operate 710 stores and have 38,000 employees across Europe, North America, Asia, and Australasia. 

In 2023, lululemon’s net revenue was 9.6 billion USD. By 2026, they plan to increase their revenue to 12.5 billion USD, through a three-pronged strategy that increases menswear sales, international sales and digital sales. 

lululemon does not own the suppliers that produce their products. The brand sources from 135 facilities across Tier 1 (the product assembly stage where the final garment is sewn together) and Tier 2 (the material production stage where the fabric is finished and dyed). The majority of these facilities are in Asia, in main production hubs like Vietnam, China, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Cambodia, and Indonesia. 

CAMPAIGN TIMELINE

Shanghai,China Dec. 19th 2021: facade exterior of Lululemon store at night. Lululemon clothing store and brand logo

Campaign Launch

We launched a petition asking lululemon’s CEO Calvin McDonald to set an absolute emissions reduction target and switch to renewable energy across lululemon’s supply chain.

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Practice what you preach: Open letter from the yoga community

Alongside leading yoga instructors around the world and our partner Stand.earth, we wrote an open letter to lululemon , where thousands of yoga teachers — including current and former lululemon ambassadors — and yoga students have called on the brand to live up to its values.

EcoAthletes

Climate change is threatening the future of sport: Open letter from 100+ professional athletes

In collaboration with EcoAthletes, we launched an open letter signed by over a hundred professional athletes around the world, calling on lululemon to play forward and become a leader in climate action by making a commitment to 100% renewable energy.

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‘Be Planet?’ Toxic Pollution And Fossil Fuel Reliance In Lululemon’s Supply Chain

lululemon claims to contribute to restoring a healthy environment and promoting community wellbeing through its products and actions. However, the results of a 6-month investigation into the company’s textile supply chain reveal a pattern of failure to prevent adverse environmental impacts including air pollution, water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and significant dependence on fossil fuels, including coal. 

Female high jumper training at the stadium in sunny day

Set the climate pace at the Paris Olympics: Email to Target action

In collaboration with Stand.Earth and Ecoathletes, we launched an Email to Target action to mobilize supporters to email lululemon's Corporate Responsibilty, Sustainability and Governance Committee and ask that they propel lululemon's climate targets ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics — which promise to halve the footprint of the Games compared to previous editions. 

PROBLEM

lululemon makes billions promoting itself as a brand that supports health, well-being and sustainability. Yet, their emissions have increased significantly every year, reaching a massive 1.2 million metric tonnes of cO2 in 2022 — a 22% increase from 2021.

99.7% of lululemon’s greenhouse gas emissions are in Scope 3 — in other words, the factories and facilities they source from and hire to make their products. The majority of these emissions are associated with textile production: the processing of the fabrics used to make their clothing.

In spite of this, lululemon has only made a commitment to 100% renewable energy in their own operations — their stores, offices and warehouses — ignoring the outsized impact of their supply chain.

Most of their suppliers are still heavily dependent on fossil fuels such as coal, with only 15% of electricity used by their Tier 1 and 2 suppliers reportedly coming from renewable sources.

lululemon has only committed to a 60% intensity-based reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chain by 2030. This means that as the brand continues to grow, absolute emissions could continue to rise. Meanwhile, they have made a commitment to a 60% absolute emissions reduction in their own operations — which means a reduction independent of brand growth.

In lululemon’s latest impact report, the brand recognises that in order to reduce emissions, “We need to drive energy efficiency and transition to renewable, clean sources across our supply chain.” This is a positive sign that our campaign is making an impact and the brand is starting to take sustainability seriously behind-the-scenes. But until we see emissions decrease and renewable energy increase, it’s too soon to give lululemon a pat on the back.

We need to see lululemon’s new climate plan include a commitment to 100% renewable energy across the supply chain by 2030, backed up by a credible roadmap that focuses on high quality solar and wind from onsite generation and PPAs.

Through the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, lululemon has committed to phasing out coal from its supply chain by 2030, and achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. However, the brand lacks transparency on reporting its progress towards these goals.

Instead, lululemon regularly engages in greenwashing by over-exaggerating the impact of certain sustainability initiatives, such as using a small proportion of recycled and plant-based materials in a limited number of products.

WHY IT MATTERS

The fashion industry contributes roughly 1.8% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, so it is a crucial sector for decarbonizing the global economy.

If we want to limit global warming to 1.5ºC and avoid the most catastrophic consequences of climate change, annual renewable power must triple by 2030. A significant proportion of this will need to be driven by corporate procurement.

lululemon is in a unique leadership position to create positive change in the industry. It has significant financial influence amongst its large global supply chain.

This means that the brand is able to make strong demands of its suppliers and the governments of the countries it exports from, and it is well-placed to provide financial support and investment to transition to clean energy.

lululemon is the 2nd biggest sportswear brand in the world and the 8th largest apparel brand by market capitalization. This means that amongst its peers, lululemon has the opportunity to raise the bar on sustainable supply chains, and collaborate with other powerful stakeholders to achieve its climate goals. And finally, lululemon’s branding positions it as a leader in health and well-being, which is at odds with its reliance on fossil fuels. The brand has an important opportunity to align its business model with its core values and become a leader in sustainability, influencing others in the space to do the same.

lululemon’s financial and market influence means that if it shifts to 100% renewable energy in its supply chain, it will help create demand for renewable energy and develop the policy and finance solutions needed to support a meaningful, systemic change.

SOLUTION

lululemon must commit to 100% renewable energy — wind and solar — in its supply chain by 2030.

Furthermore, they must update their emissions reduction targets by adopting an absolute (rather than intensity-based) target, with the goal of deep decarbonization of lululemon’s entire supply chain.

In order to achieve this, lululemon should implement solutions such as solar PV installations at factory sites, and invest in PPAs (power purchase agreements) where available in the markets they source from. In markets where direct CPPAs (corporate power purchase agreements) are available, they should procure the highest available wind and solar power, creating local and additional quality renewable energy capacity. Where sourcing countries do not have supportive renewable energy policies, lululemon should engage in targeted climate policy advocacy that promotes high quality wind and solar energy supply.

lululemon must also immediately phase out coal from its supply chain, particularly at the textile production stage. Rather than switching to environmentally damaging coal alternatives like gas and biomass, they should invest in electric boilers, industrial heat pumps, and dry processing technologies.

Additionally, lululemon needs to help its suppliers to transition to renewable energy through financial and technical support, which can be achieved through developing a Supplier Clean Energy Fund and Procurement Policy.

Overall, lululemon must be transparent in reporting its supply chain emissions using locations-based accounting, and disclose detailed information about its energy mix and decarbonization strategy.

TAKE ACTION

Email lululemon and ask them to set the climate pace at the 2024 Olympics

Email lululemon

Join in our open letter to lululemon

Join Us

Leave a comment on lululemon’s latest posts

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OUR REPORTS

 
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‘Be Planet’? Toxic pollution and fossil fuel reliance in lululemon’s supply chain

EXPLORE MORE ON OUR BLOG

 
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Blog: The path to sustainable supply chains for lululemon

THE PATH TO SUSTAINABLE SUPPLY CHAINS FOR LULULEMON

READ ABOUT IT IN THE MEDIA

Squarish In the News Vogue Featured scaled

Lululemon’s reliance on fossil fuels undermines sustainability claims, report finds

READ
Reuters

Despite climate pledges, fashion brands ‘way off track’ on cutting carbon from the catwalk

READ
The Guardian

Hundreds of yoga teachers call out lululemon over coal-powered factories

READ
Fashion United

Yoga practitioners join in call urging Lululemon to cut use of fossil fuels

READ
New York Post

Lululemon faces backlash over ‘burning coal to make ‘Hotty Hot pants’

READ
Bloomberg

These Yoga Instructors Are Pressing Lululemon to Clean Up Its Supply Chain

READ
Ecotextile News logo

Athletes challenge Lululemon on climate change

READ

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