2015 Summit

Former Dolce & Gabbana exec Federica Marchionni explains why she moved to Lands’ End

One of the reasons Federica Marchionni left her executive position at Dolce & Gabbana for Lands’ End was the history of sustainability at her new corporate home, and now she’s working to make social responsibility part of the company’s DNA.

The recently-appointed Lands’ End CEO sat down with the editorial director of Fast Company, Jill Bernstein, on Thursday at the Women in the World Summit to discuss the challenges of sustainability and how corporate leaders can set an example through everyday practices.

The company already completes, on average, 20 eco-projects every year and reuses and recycles 90 percent of the waste generated at its head corporate office. Of its eight buildings, seven have achieved an “Energy Star” rating from the EPA.

But for Marchionni, that’s not enough.

“We want to implement sustainability in our product, our process and the people we touch,” she explained. “We have several goals, among which we want to use resources responsibly, empower consumer behavior to be more sustainable, and empower and influence our suppliers to embrace sustainability practices. We want to minimize our carbon footprint.”

Striking the right balance between serving customers and reducing negative environmental impact can be a challenge, especially for a catalog company that ships more than 60 million boxes per year. Fortunately, Marchionni is determined to tackle the dilemma head on and has launched several new initiatives to do so.

The company has launched a customer survey, pledged to plant one million trees this year and aims to control sustainability throughout the entire production process from fabric to final packaging.

Benefitting future generations is Marchionni’s mission. “I want the company to be meaningful in the way we conduct our business, [to] inspire people, the community and the world,” she said.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is independent of and separate from any views of The New York Times.