Macy’s, the iconic department store chain that seemed on the brink of collapse only a few years ago is now flush enough with cash to commit $5 billion to an ambitious new social purpose platform that aims for a more sustainable future.
The platform, called Mission Every One, was announced on March 1. The idea is to leverage Macy’s resources, talent, and scale to influence three pillars of impact: people, communities, and the planet. The program will direct $5 billion over the next three years to various partners, products, and individuals that can achieve the New York-based retailer’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals.
“Mission Every One” casts a wide net, covering everything from workplace diversity and to lowered emissions and sustainable materials. The ultimate goal is to strengthen how Macy’s work contributes to the common good, CEO Jeff Gennette said in a press release.
“’Mission Every One’ will be an essential part of how we operate and the decisions that we make as a business,” he said. “We believe that when our business enables everyone to stand in their truth and have a seat at the table, they realize their full potential, which unlocks innovation and progress for all.”
The program’s people-focused initiative takes a multi-pronged approach to building greater workplace diversity. Macy’s will invest part of the money in underrepresented designers, brands, business partners, products, and service providers to support diverse businesses in retail and other sectors of the economy.
The people initiative also aims to accelerate more ethnic diversity in Macy’s leadership ranks. The company will provide $35 million in education benefits for Macy’s employees and offer support to organizations that advance human rights, equality, workforce development, and economic opportunity.
Macy’s plans to donate more than $100 million to the community side by 2025. Part of the money will aid non-profit groups that support the emotional well-being and education of underrepresented youth. Other funds will be directed toward environmental stewardship, scholarships for underrepresented youth in fashion, design, sustainability, and mentoring and employment opportunities within Macy’s.
The community outreach program includes a recent initiative by Macy’s and its Bloomingdale brand that raised more than $1.4 million for youth education and Historically Black Colleges and Universities in partnership with UNCF and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
Under the planet initiative, Macy’s will commit to using more sustainably sourced raw materials in its private-brand products. The company also will conduct social and environmental audits of all manufacturing facilities that supply its private brands and invest in innovations that reduce, reuse and repurpose materials. Another priority is to develop science-based targets to reduce emissions.
The “Mission Every One” platform comes as Macy’s continues to the right its ship financially following a long period of flat or declining sales that culminated in a massive loss in 2020. In early 2021, the company announced plans to close dozens of department stores nationwide as part of a turnaround strategy dubbed “Polaris” to become more efficient, exit underperforming malls, and improve its financial performance.Macy’s has already succeeded on that last part. The company returned to profitability in 2021, posting diluted earnings of $4.55 a share to reverse a loss of $12.68 a share the year before. Net sales for the year climbed 42% to $24.5 billion.