by Stephen Garner

Today, on Earth Day, Ralph Lauren releases an expanded Earth Polo shirt offering with a larger capsule consisting of new colors and designs. The Earth Polo, designed with Mother Nature in mind, is crafted from thread derived from recycled plastic bottles and dyed in an innovative process that uses zero water. Each Earth Polo is made from an average of 12 plastic bottles.

The Earth Polo will now be offered in 19 colorways for men including long sleeve silhouettes, seven colors for women, and nine colors for kids, along with printed design options. The shirt is produced in partnership with First Mile, an organization with a global mission focused on sustainability and positive social impact. First Mile works with entrepreneurs in low- income communities to collect recyclable plastic bottles, which are then processed through a unique and eco-friendly manufacturing program and turned into high-quality yarn and ultimately fabric.

“Changing the way we innovate, design and produce our products is the first of many steps we are taking as a company to be more sustainable. For us, it all started with the Earth Polo,” said David Lauren, chief innovation officer. “Ralph Lauren commits to using at least 170 million recycled plastic bottles in our products and packaging by 2025. Plastic waste is a major issue threatening the environment—we want to be part of the solution and utilize an innovative approach to create something valuable.”

“When Ralph founded our company more than 50 years ago, he did so with the idea that whatever we create is meant to be worn, loved, and passed on for generations,” added Halide Alagoz, executive vice president and chief supply chain and sustainability officer at Ralph Lauren. “It’s with this spirit of timelessness that we approach sustainability.”

In June 2019, the company published its full Global Citizenship and Sustainability Report, including its comprehensive strategy and goals. It pledged that by 2023, the brand will achieve zero waste to landfill across its distribution centers. It also stated that by 2025, it will achieve at least a 20 percent reduction in total water use across its operations and value chain, and 100 percent of its key production and packaging materials will be recyclable or sustainably sourced.