When you feel the glazed pebbled leather of the Maya hobo or admire the Garrett bifold wallet’s softness and patina, you’re getting a firsthand look at our future. By 2025, we at Fossil Group are aiming for more than half of our global product assortment to include sustainable design elements. To achieve this ambitious goal, we’re starting with the one material that’s found in so many of our products: leather.
The traceability of our leather and how it’s manufactured matters. As part of the Sustainable Leather Sourcing Project, we’re making a global effort to source our leathers from environmentally preferred suppliers. Thanks to our partnership with tanneries who work with The Leather Working Group (LWG), a global organization that assesses environmental compliance and promotes sustainable practices in the leather industry, we’re currently at 80 percent.
“We want to source leather from LWG-audited members because it means we’re sourcing from tanneries who are following the appropriate environmental factors, such as where [the leather] is coming from, the amount of water and chemicals used, and how it’s disposed of,” says Whitney Josey, Fossil’s director of sustainability and supply chain.
LWG-rated tanneries undergo a bi-annual audit of their facilities to ensure they meet the group’s environmental requirements. According to the LWG, a rating of gold, silver, bronze or audited (a leather manufacturer that has gone through the audit process, but has not achieved a high enough score to be medal-rated) is awarded to tanneries depending upon their score during the auditing process.
- LWG has more than
members made up of brands, leather manufacturers and suppliers.
- LWG audited tanneries can be found globally and represent approximately
of total leather volume.
A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Today, several of our products are crafted from environmentally preferred leather, including bags, such as the small Fiona crossbody and Estate backpack, wallets such as the Jerome bifold and the mini-tab, gifts and watch straps. And that number should only continue to grow. “The biggest challenge has been encouraging tanneries to spend the money,” says Kristy Sam, director of materials development. “As membership is getting more popular and big customers tighten their sustainability and sourcing requirements membership could become more common.” For Fossil Group, any new suppliers going forward will need to have LWG certification.
Opting to use only environmentally preferred leather was a great place to start, and Josey is confident we’ll continue to make even more sustainable strides within our business. “Making sure our leather is from a sustainable resource helps us get to that 2025 [Design For The Future] goal quicker” she explains. “We are also going to ensure that we’re using sustainable practices and components within our watch category. But this is a huge step in the right direction.”
“How can we use first-generation Fossil activity trackers for the greater good?” It was this simple question that inspired our partnership with RecycleHealth, a nonprofit organization that collects wearable devices and donates them to underserved populations to encourage healthy living.
“For so many people [purchasing an activity tracker] is a cost issue,” says Dr. Lisa Gualtieri, RecycleHealth founder and assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine. “But others wouldn’t even think to buy one to increase their health and fitness.”
Since the organization’s launch more than two years ago, it has provided around 2,500 activity trackers to students, seniors and low-income households. Among those donations: 550 first generation Fossil Q activity trackers.
“We initially reached out to RecycleHealth because we were entering this area of wearable tech, an area that’s always changing, and we started to think about how we could repurpose our product with purpose,” notes Whitney Josey, director of Fossil Group’s supply chain sustainability team. “We wanted to talk to folks who were doing innovative social impact work and understand how we could help each other. When Jessica Herring from the Fossil Retail Operations Team reached out to us about an opportunity to make a positive impact with some first generation Fossil Q activity trackers, the idea of repurposing with purpose turned into a reality.” Fossil Group’s partnership with RecycleHealth supports our focus on sustainability, or what we call Make Time For Good—and is part of our ongoing commitments to reducing waste and strengthening communities.
So far, Fossil has donated more than $100,000 worth of wearable tech via RecycleHealth to numerous community partners, such as ChildObesity180 at Tufts University and CO-OP. CO-OP provides services to developmentally disabled adults. ChildObesity180 provided the donated devices to support their walk/run club programming at 54 Boston public schools, 16 charter schools, and ten community programs such as the Roxbury YMCA, with over 7,600 students participating this school year. One of the major benefits of working with Fossil Group, Gualtieri says, has been the ability to provide people with brand-new, unopened devices that can hold a charge, as well as the option for customizing their tracker with the bands. “It’s all about behavior change,” she says.
“In all of the research that we do, we find that having a visible reminder on your wrist of your commitment to increasing your fitness is so helpful.”
For over eight years, Fossil Group employees have flocked to Minnie’s Food Pantry to make time for good in the Plano and Dallas (North Texas) community. Dr. Cheryl Jackson, Minnie’s founder and changemaker-in-chief, started her award-winning non-profit with a dream: she dreamed that every single person should have the opportunity to live and eat with dignity. It’s this relentless belief in the importance of dignity that’s driven every aspect of Minnie’s through the years—and what’s ultimately allowed them to deliver over 7 million meals to 450,000 people and counting.
Minnie’s determination to eradicate hunger has inspired people across Dallas and beyond, including Oprah Winfrey. Minnie’s Food Pantry celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a gala Tuesday night, during which Winfrey not only delivered the keynote address, but inspired the audience to raise over $1.3 million in additional donations on the spot.
“Not only has Minnie’s made lasting change on the Dallas community, they’ve made an incredible impact on us as a company—and as individuals,” says Steve Evans, Executive Vice President of Fossil Group.
Shirley Tam is on a mission to unleash the potential of youth.
She’s a regional planning manager for our Hong Kong office, and is passionate about supporting educational programming for youth in some of the poorest districts of Hong Kong. Shirley is the type of volunteer who shows up, makes an impact and asks—”Ok, what’s next?” She embodies grit and passion, and we’re proud to celebrate the impact that she’s making through community volunteerism across Asia.
What do you make time for?
I love helping and empowering underserved youth. I was born in Sham Shui Po, the poorest district in Hong Kong—I know what it feels like to look to the future without optimism. Now, I’m lucky to have my own job and earn money to support my family. Through my life experiences, I strongly believe education is very important. My favorite volunteer work that I am doing is helping kids with their homework and reading to them.
How does Fossil support you in Making Time For Good?
Our two [annual] Greater Together tours give us a variety of volunteer opportunities—everything from helping youth to adults and the elderly. This is uncommon in Hong Kong companies as I feel many prefer to organize only one event with the sole purpose to build a good corporate image. Fossil Group also gives us volunteer hours to dedicate our time to helping those in need.
“I love interacting with kids. . .Through my experiences, I strongly believe education is very important to the needy.”Shirley
How are you making an impact on Fossil Group, your community and/or the planet?
I am lucky to be a Fossil Foundation Champion in Asia. In the past few years, working with colleagues, we organized off-site volunteering opportunities called Action Stations twice a year. Co-facilitated with First Steps Himalaya, we provide different kinds of teaching materials like flashcards, felt shapes and more to teachers in Nepal.
How did you most recently Make Time For Good?
I shared my career journey with the kids at the Sprouts Foundation, which helps raise the quality of life for underprivileged children in Asia by providing effective educational programs typically not available to them.
I also dedicate at least one Saturday morning to throw a birthday party for kids, which is organized by different kinds of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Hong Kong. I love to find volunteering opportunities through HandsOn Hong Kong—an easily accessible website to see which NGOs need the most help.
What advice to find yourself sharing most frequently?
When I am talking to younger kids, I tell them to believe that they have a future, and to always do whatever they believe is right. No one can judge you except you. We need to be brave when facing any obstacles in order to overcome them.
What makes Fossil Group’s culture unique?
Curiorisity! Wearables is one of the good examples — we believe this is a trend so we are working on that. We also keep challenging and improving our work day by day.
The 2020 Women on Boards—a national campaign to increase the number of women on corporate boards to 20% by 2020—recognized Fossil Group as a Winning “W” Company for its seventh consecutive year.
The Women’s Forum of New York also deemed Fossil Group one of its 2017 Corporate Champions because of the company’s commitment to good corporate governance and providing opportunities for women in the workplace.
Our female board members are extraordinary leaders who are committed to both business and social impact. We asked each leader what they make time for in order to build a better future for all.
“I make time to help, mentor and empower female leaders—together with men we will make this world a better place.”
Gail Tifford, Chief Brand Officer at Weight Watchers
“I make time to get involved in my community through non-profits that help young people and the environment. Creating opportunities for young people to connect and spend time in nature benefits them and society.”
Diane Neal, Former CEO of Sur La Table, Inc.
“I’m very committed to helping get more women into STEM fields and leadership roles. I work closely with several organizations to level the playing field and bring women and girls more opportunities to succeed.”
Mauria Finley, Founder & CEO of Allume
Fossil Group is committed to becoming a leader in women’s empowerment by 2020, and creating opportunity for women around the globe. To learn more about our Opportunity for Her commitment, click here.
On March 8, Fossil Group celebrated International Women’s Day by supporting women within our four walls and beyond. Across our global offices, we were proud to offer our employees empowering experiences and dynamic ways to support local causes.
Impacting the Community
To help strengthen our global communities, Fossil Group made time for good by supporting women and girls through special activations. On March 8, we double-matched any employee contribution to organizations whose mission is to empower, advocate for and/or support women and girls. (This meant an extra $2 for every $1 donated.)
As part of our partnership with The ONE movement, Fossil brand invited consumers to make an impact by purchasing a #GirlsCount tote, with 100% of the proceeds supporting ONE’s #Girlscount campaign to advocate for girls to get the education they deserve. To learn more about ONE’s #GirlsCount campaign, click here.
Fossil Group employees engaged with inspiring female speakers who shared how they create the biggest impact they can, in the way only they can.
In the U.S. (and streamed globally), inclusivity activist and social entrepreneur Caroline Casey shared her journey of shining a spotlight on disability inclusion. As a legally blind woman herself, Caroline recently embarked on a one-month, 1,000-kilometer trek through South America on horseback to launch the #valuable campaign. To read more about Caroline and the #valuable campaign, click here.
Caroline challenged our employees to be dangerous dreamers, punctuating her remarks with a powerful quote by T.E. Lawrence: “But the dreamers of the day are dangerous (…) for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.”
Other speakers throughout the globe included former professional squash player Michelle Martin, car industry-leader Sonomi Takatsuka, journalist and author Barbara Lukesch, and artist Bao Ho.
Fossil Group is committed to becoming a leader in women’s empowerment by 2020, and creating opportunity for women around the globe. To learn more about our Opportunity For Her commitment, click here.