Social Responsibility

 

CALIFORNIA TRANSPARENCY IN SUPPLY CHAINS ACT

As a company governed by the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, we are pleased to provide information about our efforts to stand up against the risks of slavery. The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act requires large retailers and manufacturers that do business in California to publicly disclose their efforts to eliminate slavery and human trafficking. The Act gives consumers access to the critical information needed to help them make more informed purchasing decisions and to ensure that the goods they buy come from product supply chains that are free from slavery, coercion, and human trafficking. rue21 strives for improvement and transparency in our supply chain because our customers know that social responsibility is always in fashion. Below are the five disclosure categories of the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act and our efforts to comply with each aspect of the law:

VERIFICATION

Engage in verification of product supply chains to evaluate and address risks of human trafficking and slavery.

rue21 engages in third-party audits to verify details about our suppliers and evaluate the potential risks of forced labor in our supply chain. Documentation is requested from new vendors upon the first communication. We follow up quarterly and ensure that all documentation and audits have been completed within the last 12 months. Since the presence of labor brokers may increase the risk of slavery and human trafficking, rue21 refrains from using labor brokers to keep the recruitment of workers under our own control.

TRAINING

Provide company employees and management, who have direct responsibility for supply chain management, training on human trafficking and slavery, particularly with respect to mitigating risks within the supply chains of products.

At rue21, the Vendor Relations Department is trained on the Vendor Compliance Manual, which includes specific chapters on social compliance and factory social audits. The department is also trained on ways to identify trafficking and how to follow up with vendors to ensure that risks of forced labor are diminished. rue21 trains the Vendor Relations employees upon their entry to the company, and we are thereafter open for questions and suggestions on ways to better safeguard against slavery and human trafficking in our supply chains.

AUDITS

Conduct audits of suppliers to evaluate supplier compliance with company standards for trafficking and slavery in supply chains.

rue21 conducts quarterly, third-party supplier audits of all of our active vendors. We request copies of the audit documentation from all factories that manufacture rue21 merchandise, and we keep up-to-date factory audit documentation on file to ensure current compliance.

INTERNAL ACCOUNTABILITY

Maintain internal accountability standards and procedures for employees or contractors failing to meet company standards regarding slavery and trafficking.

To ensure that our standards on forced labor are met, an extensive list of Terms and Conditions accompanies every Purchase Order. The Employment Standards section of the Terms and Conditions states that the seller “represents and warrants that Seller and Seller’s subcontractors, if any, shall comply with any and all applicable international, national, federal, state, and local laws, rules and regulations governing labor or employee relations including, but not limited to, Sections 6, 7, 12 and 14 of the Fair Labor Standards Act, as amended, all labor standards set forth in any treaty or international convention, and any and all applicable child labor laws.”

CERTIFICATION

Require direct suppliers to certify that materials incorporated into the product comply with the laws regarding slavery and human trafficking of the country or countries in which they are doing business.

Prior to purchasing merchandise from a vendor, rue21 requires suppliers to sign our Vendor Compliance Agreement, which states that the vendor “agrees that all merchandise purchased by rue21 from the Vendor will be manufactured, packaged and shipped or transported in accordance and in compliance with all laws and regulations of any applicable country of origin, including, without limitation, all applicable child labor laws.” Should a vendor fail to strictly comply with the Agreement with respect to any transaction, rue21 may cancel the transaction, reject or revoke acceptance of any goods that have been delivered with respect to that transaction, and cancel any other transaction with the vendor for goods that have not been accepted by rue21.

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. The types of documentation we request include payroll files, proof of age of workers, paid overtime records, employees’ timesheets, and documents regarding the number of employees working at a given time. Third party auditors also enter the factories to complete safety checks and to give employees opportunities to participate in anonymous interviews regarding their conditions of employment.

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MISSION STATEMENT

rue21 isn't just about looking good-we also want to do good by partnering with charitable organizations that fit our style and culture. rueGIVESback is committed to making a positive impact on the lives of our customers and Associates in the rueCommunities where they live, work, shop, and play.

Our Associates and customers are motivated by their passion for bettering the world, and rue21 is committed to supporting their philanthropy efforts, rue21 supports charitable organizations throughout the nation through the rueGIVESback program. We are always seeking ways to partner with charitable organizations in our rueCommunities, using our position as a prominent retailer to create a positive impact.

rue21's Associates are extremely involved in the community, having donated to organizations such as Toys for Tots, Angel Tree Salvation Army, and American Heart Association Heart Walk, and Cranberry Cup Baseball.

 

rueGives Back

rueRELIEF

As part of rueGIVESback, we want to give back to our Associates and their families, rueRelief has been established to provide a cash donation and/or merchandise donation from the SIM Store to those Associates who experience a personal or financial hardship due to catastrophic event or emergency situation beyond their control.

rue21 sponsors and donates to various non-profit organizations that empower and enrich the lives of underprivileged young girls and guys. We give monetary donations to non-profit organizations to support a particular cause or fundraising event, and we donate merchandise to support a need in the community, a particular catastrophic event, or natural disaster. We have also given $5 million in merchandise donations to the Missing Persons Foundation.

In 2015, our legal department provided approximately 100 hours of pro bono legal services to The Brew House Association, Inc., a Pittsburgh, PA., non-profit corporation that provides low income housing and studio space for artists, which entered into a $14 million joint venture redevelopment with local developer to renovate and restore the former Duquesne Brewery into low income housing for artists, studio spaces and workshops and an art gallery in Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood.

Breast Cancer Awareness month is an important month here at rue21. Currently, there are more than 26,000 women in the U.S. under the age of 45 diagnosed with this disease every year in the United States. Thanks to our partnership with A Glimmer of Hope Foundation, rue21 annually partners with A Glimmer of Hope Foundation to host a campaign in stores called, “Big or Small, Let’s Save Them All”. In 2016, rue21 was the top sponsor for the Pitch for hope baseball clinic, which raised over $73,000 for Glimmer of Hope. With our financial commitment and through a $73,000 grant, A Glimmer of Hope helped finance the Integrated Breast Oncology Center called the Home for Hope based at the Allegheny Health and Wellness Pavilion for Pre-Menopausal Women. This center aims to help younger women diagnosed with breast cancer by offering them coordinated medical services and integrative medical services such as acupuncture, massage therapy, and nutrition counseling. In December 2016 ten additional patients were added to the Home for Hope and an additional $11,750 was contributed by Glimmer of Hope donors.

rue21 is excited about the partnership with Danny Mendoza, the founder of Together We Rise. The organization was founded in 2008, while Danny was in college, after discovering that his 9-year old cousin was forced to enter the foster care system. Danny had always aspired to seek positive change. He wanted to help but ran into obstacles because he was under the age of 21. Danny's vision turned to reality when he created, Together We Rise. Now the organization helps children in foster care nationwide while mobilizing young and new volunteers to make a difference in the world. The organization collaborates with community partners to bring resources to foster youth and service-learning activities to educate volunteers on issues surrounding the foster care system.

rue21 has given $30,000 in sponsorship money to Together We Rise’s summer clothing tour, as well as over 30 boxes of clothing, shoes, and accessories to help stock up the Together We Rise mobile store. Each child will get a new set of clothes of their choice. At each stop, 100-150 children will arrive throughout the day and enjoy new clothing, food, music, and the chance to hang out with their friends.

In addition to the summer tour our partnership has expanded to include annual back-to-school and holiday shopping spree events in several rue21 stores across the country where kids will be given a $100 gift card by Together We Rise donors to purchase whatever they would like.

rue21 is also excited to be partnering with Threads for Teens, a non-profit organization that provides clothing to underprivileged girls (ages 13 – 18) living in group foster homes to build their self-esteem and confidence by outfitting them in brand new outfits Allyson Ahlstrom is the founder and believes there is a direct correlation between self-esteem and clothing. A girl will perform better when she wears something she feels good in. From this idea she has built Threads for Teens. rue21’s commitment to this project is twofold. First, rue21 has committed to be the title sponsor of the Threads for Teens 2015 and 2016 Summer Tour, which takes place in August. The Threads for Teens mobile boutique will travel to 6 major cities each year plus a final stop in Cranberry Township at our Support Center office. The conference in each city includes 100 – 150 girls who will attend workshops on social media, dressing for success, goal setting along with hair/makeup and fashion styling in the Threads for Teens mobile boutique. Second, rue21 will continue to provide donations of merchandise from our simulated store throughout the year to Allyson and her organization. rue21 has given $20,000 in sponsorship money to Threads for Teens summer clothing tour.

SUSTAINIBILITY

rue21 gives back to the environment as well. We believe 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.

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 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.

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.