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NYS Comptroller


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May 19, 2014, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

DiNapoli: Guess? Inc. Agrees to Report on Workplace Safety, Environmental Risks

Clothing Label Will Disclose Efforts to Ensure Sustainable Business Practices, Including Worker Safety

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced that clothing-maker Guess? Inc. has agreed to disclose its efforts to mitigate a variety of risks including workplace safety and environmental risks in its supply chain. As a result of the corporation’s agreement to publish an annual sustainability report, DiNapoli withdrew his shareholder proposal that asked Guess? to report each year on its responses to environmental, social and governance issues.

"Guess? is taking steps that will not only help protect its investors, but also the men and women who make the products that carry its label," DiNapoli said. "As a long-term investor, the New York State Common Retirement Fund advocates for its portfolio companies to adopt sustainable business practices that help protect long-term value. In Bangladesh, we’ve witnessed the devastating loss of life that can result when workplace safety is neglected."

Guess? is a Fortune 1000 company with more than 500 stores in the United States, in addition to its stores in 87 other countries. The company has licensed its label to numerous products from footwear to eyewear, expanding its global manufacturing presence. 

Guess? agreed to publish "an initial sustainability report" by Dec. 31, 2015 that will describe its approach and practices regarding environmental, social and governance issues. The company will follow up with a "comprehensive report" every two years and expects to provide "interim updates as necessitated" as new issues emerge. 

As of May 1, 2014, the Fund owned 180,600 shares of Guess? valued at $4.9 million.

Comptroller DiNapoli has engaged portfolio companies for several years in an ongoing effort to increase transparency and accountability in their supply chains including:

  • 2014 – Fortune 500 retailers Dollar Tree and Dillard’s agreed to increase transparency and accountability in their supply chains.
  • 2013 - Best Buy and Bed Bath & Beyond agreed to encourage their suppliers to report on workplace safety, human and worker rights and environmental compliance.
  • 2012 - Leggett & Platt, a leading manufacturer of furniture and bedding, agreed to create a Supplier Code of Conduct which provided a uniform code of conduct throughout its world-wide supply chain. The code became part of the company’s standard contract terms and conditions.
  • 2011 - Mohawk Industries, a leading supplier of flooring, agreed to adopt a labor code of conduct for its suppliers.
  • 2010 - The Common Retirement Fund, in concert with other signatories of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment, wrote to selected apparel and consumer durables companies calling on them to call on their overseas suppliers to implement the core labor rights standards of the UN’s International Labor Organization (ILO), and to allow independent monitoring of their compliance.


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