Inside Next Level Apparel’s ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Initiatives

Encompassing environmental, social and governance standards, ESG marks a business and lifestyle shift that has already taken place in the EU and UK and is now picking up momentum in the U.S. To learn more about what ESG is and why it’s so important, we asked two Next Level Apparel (asi/73867) team members to share their perspectives on this timely topic.

First, we spoke with NLA’s Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Carly Gerstman, who had this to say about the supplier’s ESG initiatives: “We believe that it is our responsibility as a company and as individuals to take the necessary steps in order to improve workers’ lives, make a positive difference in our communities and mitigate our negative impact on our environment. This sentiment is felt throughout our organization and is embedded in our company values.”

Young people on the beach in white T-shirts

Gerstman went on to say “We know that we have a long road ahead, but we are proud of our accomplishments thus far and we are committed to continued improvement.”

The NLA team is fueled by a purpose-driven, mindful lifestyle, which is why they believe it’s critical that their processes are as ethical and eco-friendly as possible. Essentially, NLA wants to make sure that feeling good also means wearing good.

“The Sustainable T-shirt collection is one example of NLA’s respect for our oceans and overall environmental well-being. Each T-shirt in NLA’s Sustainable Collection is made from four recycled plastic bottles. To date, over 5 million plastic bottles have been saved through the production of this amazingly soft T-shirt collection. NLA invites its customers to be a part of the change towards a brighter, greener future by purchasing and wearing apparel that was made to make a difference”, stated NLA’s VP of marketing, Peggy Schulz.

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In addition to NLA’s Sustainable Collection, they have spent the last three years focusing on manufacturing waste initiatives that has reduced scrap fabric by 2+ million pounds per year. They have also recently engaged a 3rd-party consultancy to conduct an ESG Materiality Assessment that will guide their ESG strategies in 2022 and beyond.

At the forefront of NLA’s social responsibility and social compliance journey is their commitment to their workers by implementing the highest ethical standards of conduct and the best quality practices in the U.S. and internationally. NLA is relentless about partnering with suppliers who uphold the same high ethical standards, such as prioritizing workers’ rights by ensuring safe working conditions in factories worldwide.

More specifically, NLA is committed to upholding their Workplace Code of Conduct and FLA’s (Fair Labor Association) Principles of Fair Labor and Responsible Sourcing throughout their entire global supply chain. NLA has made it their mission to collaborate with the FLA and fellow affiliates to improve workers’ lives worldwide.

NLA also partners with Better Work on a factory, national and international level to improve working conditions and respect labor rights for workers, while also boosting the competitiveness of apparel businesses overall. Better Work is a partnership between the United Nation’s International Labor Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – a member of the World Bank Group.

Young people on the beach in white T-shirts

Our final takeaways can be summarized by NLA’s ESG social responsibility pillars: Certifications, Environmental Impact and Social Awareness. Through these goals, NLA remains committed to focusing on programs and processes that add to the continued progress toward achieving higher ESG standards from now into the future.