During the past few decades, the emergence of new key players has profoundly changed the fashion industry. The increasing number of collections each year, with products sold at ever more affordable prices, has led to a doubling of the worldwide consumption of clothing items in 20 years. This pressure on costs and production rates has resulted in the large-scale relocation of textile manufacturing to developing countries. With the fragmentation of supply chains, many problems – some of them unacceptable – have multiplied, affecting both working conditions and environmental practices.
At Lacoste, we have maintained a rhythm of renewing our collections twice a year, with the majority of our range consisting of permanent products, including our iconic polo shirt. We have developed and modernized our industrial site in Troyes, France, with the aim of preserving and developing our historical territorial foundation.
However, structural changes in the industry have also forced us to adapt our model. Like most other key players, Lacoste has expanded its material sourcing and industrial network around the world. Today we rely on a network of hundreds of suppliers committed to our ethical values and quality requirements.
Nevertheless, the fragmentation of our production ecosystem has also exposed us to the risks of more complex traceability and less direct control over social and environmental practices.
At Lacoste, we consider it our duty to provide our customers, the public authorities and our partners with full transparency of our supply chain. It is our responsibility to guarantee that our products are made with full respect for the men and women who make them and the fragile balance of the planet. It is also our responsibility to bring our suppliers onboard with this ambition so that they become true partners in this success.
In order to fully meet such requirements, we have placed supply chain issues at the heart of our Durable Elegance approach.
The textile supply chain and related challenges
- The five tiers of the supply chain
The lacoste supply chain
- Preserving our historical foundation in france
- An organization that has expanded around the globe
Social and environmental excellence as a driving force for shared growth
- Ensuring full traceability of our supply chain+
- Evaluating our partners’ social & environmental performances
- Joining forces with those who adopt best practices
THE TEXTILE SUPPLY CHAIN AND RELATED CHALLENGES
This demonstrates the complexity and depth of the textile industry’s supply chain. It relies on a large number and wide range of providers around the world. They may be specialized in a single process or be involved in several stages of the value chain within the same industrial facility.
Today, most brands in the fashion industry have outsourced their supply chain, simply acting as the originators to Tier 1 suppliers. Tier 1 suppliers provide to Tier 2 suppliers and so on, through to the fields and factories where the fibers are produced.
On a global scale, this dispersed network raises the question of its traceability and the transparency in terms of the social and environmental practices that prevail throughout the originator’s supply chain.
Many violations have been stigmatized, bringing the industry under public scrutiny, such as forced labor, child labor, inadequate working and pay conditions, and risks related to the health and safety of workers. Other notable issues include harmful environmental practices stemming from local regulations and legislation that are not in line with international standards.
COUNTERFEITING, A SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEM
Lacoste prioritizes the fight against counterfeiting. In addition to the infringement of our intellectual property and the impact to our brand image, this illegal business disregards labor laws, safety standards and environmental norms. In almost 80 countries, Lacoste works in partnership with public authorities, is involved with associations (UNIFAB, INTA, REACT, ICC BASCAP) and participates in public awareness campaigns on the social, economic and health hazards of counterfeiting.
THE LACOSTE SUPPLY CHAIN
PRESERVING OUR HISTORICAL FOUNDATION IN FRANCE
Since the beginning, Lacoste has been located on the Gayettes site, near Troyes, the historical birthplace of hosiery in France. This new company was therefore able to utilize the skills of the local workforce, ensuring the level of quality required by our founder. Established and rooted in Troyes, the Lacoste company has since contributed to the dynamism of the local economy.
Today, the company is committed to preserving its 700 direct jobs and the many indirect jobs related to its operations by preserving the skills and expertise in its historical birthplace. However, Lacoste is not content with simply maintaining its heritage: the company is also investing in local infrastructure to prepare for the future.
The renovation of Troyes factory
Lacoste has launched an ambitious renovation project for the Gayettes factory. After the first phase of refurbishment and re-equipping of the knitting and garment workshops, work is now focusing on the transformation of the dyeing unit. This second stage represents an investment of around 4 million Euros to encourage innovation in Troyes and the development of new textile materials thanks to a wider range of facilities. As a result, the major investment in Les Gayettes will enable the local teams to increase their skills and develop their expertise. Refurbishing the factory to the highest environmental standards will also result in significant water and energy savings. Through this project, Lacoste is reaffirming its commitment to continue to invest in France under good environmental conditions, while preserving its historical territorial foundation and ensuring the preservation of its expertise.
Continuing its commitment to local growth, the Group has invested a further around 30 million Euros to build a new European logistics hub in the Troyes region: Court 2.3. The purpose of expanding of the current warehouse is to accommodate the development of commercial activities, e-commerce in particular, while improving the environmental impact of the supply chain. It will be operational from October 2021.
Finally, within the framework of the Union des Industries Textiles (Textile Industries Union) and the Club Textile Intégral (Integral Textile Club), Lacoste works in conjunction with local partners to maintain and enhance the value of its historic expertise in and around the region. Consequently, 42 volunteer employees in our factories received a nationally recognized diploma from a training program designed by the Manufacturing Academy. Among them, there are operators, multi-station operators, prototypists, and tutors, passing on their skills.
Today, Lacoste still has four production sites and a logistics center in France and remains a major employer in the Bourgogne Franche-Comté and Grand Est regions. This loyalty to its industrial history has enabled the brand to maintain production in France. The 1,000 tons of material manufactured on the Troyes sites produces 3.7 million textile products in the Euromed region.
AN ORGANIZATION THAT HAS EXPANDED AROUND THE GLOBE
In the 1950s, Lacoste began to export around the globe. Since the 80s, its products have been embraced by American preppies, French rappers and Japanese skaters. These new customers confirm that the brand has become universal and timeless, transcending cultures, oceans and generations.
In 2020, the Crocodile brand was sold in 98 countries, via a network of 1,100 directly operated stores and almost 15,000 partner outlets. Lacoste also extends its presence on the internet with more than 30 online stores.
As the Lacoste customer community has grown, the company has needed to expand its supply chain. In response to global demand, Lacoste is now organized into three regional platforms: Euromed, Americas and Asia.
In addition to its French sites, Lacoste has invested in two other production sites to spread its industrial expertise beyond its historical birthplace : one in Argentina, the other in Japan.
- Produces textile products (shirts, polo shirts, pants, underwear)
- 276 employees
- Produces textile products (polo shirts and other knitwear – t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc.)
- 76 employees
Lacoste also works with several hundred local partners around the world to ensure production is as close as possible to its customers. This localized production has become an essential part of the supply strategy.
Today, the vast majority of products sold by Lacoste are marketed in the same region where they were made :
- Americas : 70% of the clothes sold were made in the Americas region
- Europe : 60% of the clothes sold were made in the Euromed region
- Asia : 80% of the clothes sold were made in Asia.
Lacoste’s industrial network includes approximately 500 Tier 1 to 4 partners by the end of 2020. This project is designed to be an ecosystem between Lacoste and its suppliers. We are proud of the relationships we have developed with our partners. We believe that these relationships of trust, which have been built and maintained through years of cooperation, represent our primary strength in countering the risks and challenges that textile supply chains are often criticized for.
SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL EXCELLENCE AS A DRIVING FORCE FOR SHARED GROWTH
ENSURING FULL TRACEABILITY OF OUR SUPPLY CHAIN
At Lacoste, we consider it our responsibility to guarantee that our products are made with full respect for the women and men who make them and the fragile balance of our planet.
This responsibility is not limited to our Tier 1 direct suppliers, but extends to all stages of product development, including the fields where the cotton we use is grown. Knowing all the various players involved in the manufacturing of our products is therefore a fundamental step to our approach.
The complete identification of our industrial ecosystem
Tracing all the way back to the cotton fields
We have selected these four countries that implement the best practices: cultivation rules are very strict, chemical inputs are regulated and monitored, mechanical collection is used to ensure good social conditions for harvesting the cotton flowers, and optimized water consumption
Controlling the supply of animal fiber
Assessing the social and environmental performance of our partners
The traceability of all our Tier 1 to 4 suppliers is an essential step in managing our ecosystem according to social and environmental performance criteria. Currently Lacoste is involved in an extensive process aiming – in the very short term – to have an objective evaluation system for every single player involved in the global supply chain.
Committing to good practices
Systematization of social and environmental audits
Tracking the environmental performance of our partners
Working towards a global supplier grading scheme
Our commitments for communities to 2025
of our cotton fiber will be produced by suppliers rated "Silver" or above.
of the manufacturing partners for our textile products (Tier 1 to 4) will be rated “Silver" or above.
Joining forces with those who adopt best practices
Working towards the nomination of all our partners
Developing local communities
The "Livelihood" developement project
Five new projects led by our partners were financially supported by Lacoste during the 2020 year
Health and Education Project in Vietnam
To promote reading and education, a library, cultural trips and a scholarship system for the most deserving have been set up in five schools where the children of our TAV supplier’s employees attend. In addition, to teach good hygiene habits to the students and prevent them from getting sick, the school’s sanitary facilities were completely renovated and water filters were installed to all water points. This project helps 3,600 children.
Environment and Education Project in Madagascar
Social enterprise Bondy has set up a re-forestation and agro-forestry training project for the village community of Antolonjanahary, close to our supplier Epsilon who co-financed the project. Seedlings were planted at two sites. One serves as an educational nursery to teach primary and secondary school students about the importance of the environment and to provide them with agricultural and forestry knowledge. The other one is the central nursery, which allows species to be brought to maturity before reforestation, these are chosen for their environmental and socio-economic utility: fruit trees, sources of energy or forage species. To date, 6 sustainable jobs have been created and more than 1,000 children and 30 teachers have been educated.
Environment and Health Project in Sri Lanka
We supported a dual project, in partnership with our supplier MAS, to detect and treat people with kidney disease associated with poor water quality. Simultaneously, we supported a project to reforest four hectares of mangrove swamp which should improve water quality. Mangroves are home to a rich fauna which contribute to the nutrition of the inhabitants and the preservation of endangered species.
Income generating activities in Colombia
Our supplier Crystal donates products that do not meet their quality criteria as well as fabric scraps to a local association. This association trains disadvantaged men and women to sew. They use the fabrics donated to them to make new products they can then resell (glasses cases, key rings, small handbags, etc.) increasing their income. This project assists people from 25 to 60 years old.
Education and Disability Project in Tunisia
In the city of Manzil Tamim, along with our supplier we have contributed, with our supplier VTL, to the renovation of a vocational training center for people with disabilities. This building, which was derelict, now houses 55 beneficiaries in a safe and healthy space. This work will allow the center to accommodate and train more young people in the future.
These initiatives are now fully integrated into our Durable Elegance approach. By creating the “Livelihood” program in 2020, Lacoste extended its economic commitment to suppliers who place social and environmental progress at the heart of their own entrepreneurial approach.
Lacoste’s “Livelihood” program is now open to all our Tier 1 to 5 suppliers, rated “Gold” or “Platinum”. It is based on the identification of local associations that have projects with social or environmental benefits relevant to the genuine needs of local communities. Whether it is a question of meeting infrastructure needs (renovation of a school for example) or establishing social transformation initiatives that require an investment over several years, Lacoste aims to make the “Livelihood” program a driving force for progress to benefit the men and women who we are closely linked with through our supply ecosystem.
Each year, Lacoste along with the suppliers involved, commits to co-finance a growing number of these initiatives as part of the “Livelihood” program. These will be identified each year through a request for projects distributed throughout our ecosystem. All projects submitted through the three regional platforms will be reviewed by our jury in October each year to assess their transformative potential. For those selected as the most relevant, the Lacoste “Livelihood” program will provide financial support for their implementation, which can amount to several hundred thousand Euros per project.
Our commitments for communities by 2025
of our cotton fiber will be produced by suppliers rated « Silver » or above.
of the manufacturing partners for our textile products (Tiers 1 to 4) will be rated « Silver » or above.
initiatives benefiting local communities linked to our supply chain.