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Nordstrom Is Phasing Out Plastic Bags at Stores + More Sustainability Goals

Two days ahead of Earth Day, Nordstrom has unveiled new goals as part of its broader effort to combat climate change and improve sustainability amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Seattle-based retailer announced today that it seeks to reduce its use of single-use plastics by 50%, starting with the phase-out of plastic bags from its more than 245 Nordstrom Rack stores. It also wants to ensure that 15% of all merchandise it sells is considered sustainable.

“Through this COVID-19 crisis, we’ve been given a unique opportunity to reimagine our future and rethink what kind of company we want to be for our customers, employees and shareholders,” president and chief brand officer Pete Nordstrom said in a statement. “Environmental sustainability needs to be a priority for our company.”

What’s more, the department store chain said it would donate $1 million to support textile recycling innovation, as well as grant $100,000 to charitable organization The Nature Conservancy.

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The company has also committed to using sustainably sourced raw materials in 50% of polyester and cotton products from its Nordstrom Made brands, including Halogen, Chelsea 28 and Leith. It added that it plans to extend the life of 250 tons of clothing but did not reveal specific details.

“We’re proud of the progress we’ve made to date but are also the first to admit we’ve got a long way to go,” Nordstrom said. “We’re pushing ourselves to be a better company and are pleased to share these sustainability goals as part of our first step on this new journey.”

Last August, Nordstrom announced its participation in the G7 Fashion Pact, a coalition of global brands and retailers including Chanel, Jimmy Choo parent Capri Holdings, Gap, Kering, Nike and Stuart Weitzman parent Tapestry. It also launched the shopping category Sustainable Style to narrow down eco-friendly products on its site for consumers.

Nordstrom is currently facing business challenges related to the spread of COVID-19: Less than two weeks ago, the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it expects revenues for the quarter ending May 2 to be “adversely impacted in a significant manner.”

The majority of its workforce — including a portion of its corporate staff — has either been furloughed or assigned zero hours of work. Pete Nordstrom as well as CEO Erik Nordstrom have forfeited their own salaries from April to September, while other members of the executive leadership group are taking reductions in pay.

While Nordstrom’s online operations and distribution warehouses remain open, all of its outposts are temporarily shuttered across the Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, Trunk Club, Jeffrey, Nordstrom Local and Last Chance banners for an indefinite period of time.

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