Social Responsibility

Social Responsibility

rue21 isn’t just about looking good—we also want to make good on our commitment to the pillars of social responsibility in retail: diversity, philanthropy, sustainability and responsible sourcing.  At rue21, we know these are goals that’ll never go out of style.


rue21 is a pretty cool place, thanks to the people we hire.  rue21 is committed to the principles of equal employment opportunity and ensuring that associates and potential associates are evaluated on the basis of qualifications and ability, without regard to sex, age, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, citizenship, gender identity, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran’s status, or any other category protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.


rue21 wants to make a positive impact on the lives of our employees and customers in the communities where they live, work, shop and play, as well as on the interests that they care about and support.

Breast Cancer Awareness month is an important month here at rue21.  Currently, there are more than 250,000 women in the U.S. under 40 living with breast cancer.  Thanks to our partnership with A Glimmer of Hope Foundation, rue21 hosted a campaign in stores called “Big or Small, Let’s Save Them All.”  In 2013, rue21 was the top sponsor for the Pitch for Hope baseball clinic which raised over $50,000 for Glimmer.

rue21 is also a proud, annual supporter of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, collecting hundreds of new toys for less privileged children in our community. rue21 often works with its Teen Board in community-based initiatives, including raising money for the National Wildlife Association and assisting with a food drive for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

A new initiative for rue21 and its Teen Board is raising donations for Beverly’s Birthdays, an organization that provides birthday celebrations for youth living in shelters in the Pittsburgh region. The Teen Board works in their individual schools and communities to collect items needed for the group’s celebrations such as small toys, candy, party hats and the like; rue21 matches their accumulated donations with their own collection form the corporate office.

Finally, rue21 is excited to be partnering with Threads for Teens, a project that looks to outfit deserving young girls who are in foster care or extreme poverty situations in two brand new head-to-toe outfits. rue21 will donate clothing to this cause each quarter.

We are always seeking ways in which to partner with charitable organizations in our rue communities, using our position as a prominent retailer to create a positive impact.


rue21 believes that by reducing our environmental impact we can offer a better product for our customers. The focus in our stores, Support Center and Distribution Center, is to reduce energy consumption, encourage recycling, and challenge our associates and customers to think globally and act locally. 

Our recent sustainability initiatives include:

  • Store Construction: Our new store construction standards include energy-saving LED light bulbs in signage and in interior track lighting, and high-efficiency fluorescent lighting for all other light standards.
  • Distribution Center: Our distribution center mandates the recycling of cardboard, paper and wooden pallets in order to keep recyclable materials out of our nation’s landfills. Ongoing capital improvements to our distribution center in Weirton, West Virginia continue to reduce rue21's energy consumption and carbon footprint.
  • Logistics Partners: We constantly work with our logistics partners to evaluate and adopt the latest energy-saving technologies and methods to bring our merchandise to rue21 stores across the continental U.S. Saving energy allows us to pass savings on to rue21 customers.
  • Corporate headquarters: Every day is Earth Day at rue21. Mandatory paper recycling and energy-saving building enhancements lower costs and reduce our carbon footprint so we can bring better value to rue21 customers.

Responsible Sourcing 

Fashion is everywhere, and rue21’s commitment to value touches the world over. Our Vendor Compliance Manual and Purchase Order require vendors to follow all laws in countries that manufacture and supply our merchandise to ensure consistent compliance with health, safety and welfare laws, including minimum wage and child labor laws and freedom from forced labor and workplace abuse. We also request that each supplier provide documentation that raw materials used in the manufacturing process are produced in compliance with applicable laws on forced labor and human trafficking.

We regularly monitor and request vendor documentation of social audits of manufacturing facilities conducted by independent third parties, which audits include unannounced factory visits. Our Vendor Compliance Manual and Purchase Order give rue21 the right to cancel any transaction, reject or revoke acceptance of all merchandise produced in violation of our policies, and cancel any other transactions with Vendors not in compliance with applicable law.

rue21's highly trained supply chain management team actively monitors vendor compliance with our vendor compliance policies and applies its current training to risk mitigation in our vendor program. All rue21 management with direct supply chain responsibility are required to attend current training on our responsible sourcing standards to identify and mitigate risks of forced labor and human trafficking in the supply chain, and certificates of training completion are maintained to document compliance with our policy. rue21’s supply chain management team is also active on the NRF Strategic Supply Chain Council, which allows for immediate access to the latest regulatory action and regional trends/issues within the industry.

rue21 will continue to strive for improvement and transparency in our supply chain because our customers know that social responsibility is always in fashion.