Lululemon Athletica
Yoga-inspired sportswear
Founded in 1998 in Canada by Chip Wilson, today they operate over 200 stores in Canada, USA, Australia and NZ. 70% of their manufacturing occurs in developing countries. Wilson owns 42% of the company.

Overall

Owned CAN
Rating C
About the Ratings
Lululemon Athletica Inc
CAN

Company Assessment

Lululemon Athletica Inc
Praise
In 2023 KnowTheChain benchmarked 65 apparel and footwear companies on their efforts to identify and tackle forced labour risks in their supply chains. This company received a score of 63/100. The average score was 21/100 and the highest score was 63/100.
In 2023, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change risk. Responding companies are scored across four key areas: disclosure; awareness; management; and leadership. This company received a CDP Climate Change score of B.
Source: CDP (2023)
Baptist World Aid Australia's '2022 Ethical Fashion Report' assessed 120 companies on their efforts to mitigate against the risks of forced labour, child labour and worker exploitation in their supply chains, as well as protect the environment from the harmful impacts of the fashion industry. Assessment criteria fall into five main categories: policy & governance, tracing & risk, auditing and supplier relationships, worker empowerment and environmental sustainability. This company received a score of 56/100.
The 2024 Social Benchmark assesses the world's 2,000 most influential companies on their responsibility in meeting society's fundamental expectations towards three measurement areas: respecting human rights, providing decent work, and acting ethically. This company was assessed in 2022 and received a score of 11.5/20. The average score was an alarmingly low 4.6/20 and the highest score was 15.5/20.
The Apparel and Footwear Supply Chain Transparency Pledge (Transparency Pledge) helps demonstrate apparel and footwear companies' commitment towards greater transparency in their manufacturing supply chain. Transparency of a company's manufacturing supply chain better enables a company to collaborate with civil society in identifying, assessing, and avoiding actual or potential adverse human rights impacts. This is a critical step that strengthens a company's human rights due diligence. This company is fully aligned with the Transparency Pledge, thereby committing to regularly publish on its website a list naming all sites that manufacture its products.
The 2023 Fashion Transparency Index reviewed 250 of the world's largest fashion brands and retailers and ranked them according to how much they disclose about their human rights and environmental policies, practices and impacts. Brands owned by this company scored 52%, signifying that it is publishing detailed supplier lists and the vast majority of policies, procedures and future goals. The average score was 26% and the highest score was 83%.
JUST Capital polls Americans every year to identify the issues that matter most in defining just business behaviour. For their 2024 rankings the public identified 20 issues, which are organised under the headings Workers, Communities, Customers, Shareholders and Environment. JUST Capital then define metrics that map to those issues and track and analyse the largest, publicly traded U.S. companies. This analysis powers their rankings, in which this company ranked 223rd of 937 companies, and 5th of 12 Clothing & Accessories companies.
World's Most Sustainable Companies of 2024 by TIME and Statista recognises the Top 500 most sustainable companies in the world. From a selection of 5,000 of the world's largest companies, non-sustainable businesses were excluded, and the remaining companies were rated on Commitment & Ratings, Reporting & Transparency, and Environmental & Social Stewardship. This company received a total score of 62.3/100, ranking 245th overall.
Source: TIME (2024)
Criticism
The Chinese government has facilitated the mass transfer of Uyghur and other ethnic minority citizens from the far west region of Xinjiang to factories across the country. Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of international brands. The 2021 Laundering Cotton report investigates how forced-labour-produced cotton and cotton-based goods from the Uyghur Region wend their way into international supply chains of well-known international clothing brands, including brands owned by this company.
The Green Supply Chain Corporate Information Transparency Index (CITI) evaluates consumer-facing companies that have a sizeable supply chain in China. The evaluation uses government supervision data and public information to assess the environmental management of their supply chains in China. This company received a score of 29.06/100 (retrieved 24 Nov 2023).
Source: IPE (2023)
The PalmOil Scan app, produced by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), rates companies on their commitment to sourcing sustainable palm oil. Companies are scored on their use of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO), commitment to sourcing CSPO, on-the-ground conservation action, and membership to the RSPO. Companies can earn a rating of Excellent, Good, Poor or No Commitment. This company is rated "Poor" (retrieved 18 Nov 2023).
Source: WAZA (2023)
A 2019 report by The Guardian found that this company is sourcing clothing from a factory where Bangladeshi female factory workers claim they are beaten and physically assaulted. Young female workers at the factory gave detailed accounts of how they struggled to survive on meagre wages and faced physical violence and regular humiliation at the hands of their managers. They are forced to work overtime to hit targets, saying they sometimes felt immense pressure not to leave their work stations. Lululemon is investigating the claims.
The 2020 Sustainable Cotton Ranking, published by WWF, Solidaridad and the Pesticide Action Network UK analysed the 77 largest cotton users among international apparel brands and retailers, reviewing their policies, actual uptake of more sustainable cotton and transparency in their supply chains. According to the report, this company is "not yet started" with a score of 4.5%. The average score was 18.2% and the highest score was 79.2%.
This company received an S&P Global ESG Score of 20/100 in the Textiles, Apparel & Luxury Goods category of the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment, an annual evaluation of companies' sustainability practices (last updated 18 Nov 2022). The rankings are based on an analysis of corporate economic, environmental and social performance, assessing issues such as corporate governance, risk management, environmental reporting, climate strategy, human rights and labour practices.
In 2022 the median pay for a worker at this company was US$21,987. The CEO was paid 712 times this amount. Exorbitant CEO pay is a major contributor to rising inequality. CEOs are getting more because of their power to set pay, not because they are increasing productivity or possess specific, high-demand skills. The economy would suffer no harm if CEOs were paid less (or taxed more). In contrast, the CEO-to-typical-worker compensation ratio was 20-to-1 in 1965 and 58-to-1 in 1989.
Information
Founder Chip Wilson controversially publicly defends the practice of child forced labor and sweatshops.
In 2011 Lululemon sparked controversy with new shopping bags that promoted a novel by Ayn Rand. The bags had the words "Who is John Galt" on them - a phrase from the book Atlas Shrugged, which promotes the idea of individuals living for their self-interest. Lululemon founder Chip Wilson read the book when he was 18.
As listed on the We Mean Business website, this company has committed to the following climate action initiatives: adopt a science-based emissions reduction target; commit to 100% renewable power.
In 2011, a group of major apparel and footwear brands and retailers, including this company, made a shared commitment to help lead the industry towards zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020. It includes specific commitments and timelines to realize this shared goal.
Source: ZDHC (2023)
This company signed the Uzbek Cotton Pledge with the Responsible Sourcing Network, signifying a public commitment to not knowingly source Uzbek cotton for the manufacturing of any of their products until the Government of Uzbekistan ends the practice of forced labor in its cotton sector. However the Pledge was lifted in March 2022 after the Uzbek Forum for Human Rights, who monitored the annual cotton harvest since 2010, found no state-imposed forced labor in the 2021 harvest.
This company appears on the 2023 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index, signifying a commitment to supporting gender equality through policy development, representation, and transparency.
This company has announced that they don't sell animal fur or are phasing in a fur-free policy.
This company has committed to making products with RDS-certified down. The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) is an independent, voluntary global standard which ensures that down and feathers come from ducks and geese that have been treated well, with no live plucking or force feeding. However the RDS has been criticised by PETA, who claim live plucking still occurs at RDS farms. (https://bit.ly/3TAiNB6)
Source: RDS (2022)
Brands owned by this company are listed in Human Society International Australia's Better Wool Guide as using 100% non-mulesed wool from a robust certification scheme, or has a time-bound commitment to do so. Mulesing is the controversial practice of removing strips of the skin of a lamb's rear and is often done without pain relief. In Australia, the only country where mulesing still occurs, an estimated 10 million merino lambs are subjected to mulesing each year - equivalent to 19 lambs per minute.
This company is a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, a multi-stakeholder initiative launched in March 2011 by a group of global apparel and footwear companies and non-profit organizations (representing nearly one third of the global market share for apparel and footwear). The Coalition's goals are to reduce the apparel industry's environmental and social impact, and to develop a universal index to measure environmental and social performance of apparel products.
This company has a number of sustainability claims on its website in the areas of environmental footprint (reducing carbon emissions and waste) and responsible supply chain (environmental impacts, working conditions, raw material sources, code of ethics).
The bluesign Standard sets "best practices" for the use of chemicals and resources - including water and energy - in the textile industry. Textile manufacturers who are bluesign system partners agree to establish management systems to improve environmental performance in five key areas of the production process: resource productivity, consumer safety, water emissions, air emissions, and occupational health and safety. They regularly report their progress, are subject to on-site audits, and must meet improvement goals to maintain their status.
This company is a member of the CanopyStyle initiative, which came about when research found that millions of trees are used every year to produce dissolving pulp, a key ingredient for fabrics such as rayon/viscose. The campaign seeks to phase out the use of endangered forest fibre in fabric.
This company is a member of the Textile Exchange, a global non-profit that works closely with its members to drive textile industry transformation in preferred fibres, integrity and standards and responsible supply networks. They identify and share best practices regarding farming, materials, processing, traceability and product end-of-life in order to reduce the textile industry's impact on the world's water, soil and air, and the human population.
This company is a signatory to the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, a United Nations initiative which contains the vision to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
In 2023, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts towards removing commodity-driven deforestation and forest degradation from its direct operations and supply chains. Responding companies are scored across four key areas: disclosure; awareness; management; and leadership. This company received a CDP Forests score of C.
Source: CDP (2023)
In 2013 Lululemon had to pull its popular black yoga pants off shelves because the fabric used to make them was too see-through. The pants are one of the companies biggest selling garments, and the resulting stock price drop has led to three class action legal proceedings from disgruntled investors.
California, the UK and Australia have all enacted legislation requiring companies operating within their borders to disclose their efforts to eradicate modern slavery from their operations and supply chains. Follow the link to see this company's disclosure statement.
The 2023 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark assessed 55 companies in the apparel sector on their human rights performance. This company received a score of 31.1%. The overall average score was a disappointing 18.2% and the highest score was 53.4%.
In 2020 Baptist World Aid Australia released The COVID Fashion Report, a special edition of their Ethical Fashion Report. The report is framed around six COVID Fashion Commitments that ask companies to demonstrate the steps and measures they are taking to protect and support the most vulnerable workers in their supply chains. This company showed evidence of actions that cover SOME areas of the COVID Fashion Commitments.
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre digital platform presents news and allegations relating to the human rights impact of over 20,000 companies. Their enhanced Company Dashboards also include financial information, key data points based on corporate policies, and scores from prominent civil society benchmarks. Follow the link and use the search function to view this company's dashboard.
The 2023 Gender Benchmark ranks 112 companies from the apparel and food and agriculture sectors on their efforts to drive gender equality and women's empowerment across their entire value chain. Companies are assessed on governance and strategy, representation, compensation and benefits, health and well-being, violence and harassment, and marketplace and community. This company ranked #40/112, with a total score of 26.5%. The average score was 23% and the highest score was 55%.
The 2022 Nature Benchmark ranks 400 companies across eight industries on their efforts to protect our environment and its biodiversity. The companies were assessed using three measurement areas: governance and strategy; social inclusion and community impact; and ecosystems and biodiversity. This company ranked #43/400, with a total score of 29.3/100.

Company Details

Type:
Public company
Founded:
1998
Revenue:
4 billion USD (2020)
Employees:
2,861 (2020)
Subsidiaries:
Lululemon Athletica Pty Ltd
Yoga-inspired sportswear
Operates 25 stores around Australia.

Contact Details

Address:
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Website:
www.lululemon.com

Products / Brands

Lululemon Australia
Lululemon Activewear
Lululemon Sportswear