Expectations Have Shifted: Retail Leaders to Prioritize ESG

RILA Chairman, Foot Locker, Inc. CEO Shapes RILA Board Focus

As my term as RILA’s Chair gets underway, I’m looking forward to collaborating with other retail leaders on common challenges and making progress on key issues that will transform our industry. Like my predecessors, I’ve chosen to lean into a few important focus areas during my term as Chair where I believe we can make the most progress as an industry. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be highlighting those areas here and offering my perspective on why they are so important.
One of those issues that has quickly emerged as a priority is ESG. This topic has been making headlines and shaping conversations in boardrooms, on Wall Street, on Capitol Hill, and among employees and customers for quite some time, and it will continue to be a focus area within RILA communities for the foreseeable future.
In my role as RILA Chair, I’ll be focusing on the importance of retailers setting and progressing against meaningful ESG goals. Retailers should—and will be—at the forefront of innovation around ESG, showcasing to stakeholders that industry leaders and companies are making bold moves today, including pursuing common metrics and engaging our entire value chain to achieve shared goals. Our industry must also pursue opportunities to be a thought partner to these stakeholders because our insights should help us shape this evolving landscape instead of just keeping up with it.
Business and moral imperatives from advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion to combatting climate change to navigating the future of work are just a few of the ESG challenges that are greater than any one company can navigate alone. As retail leaders, we should commit to setting measurable ESG goals that are critical to our business success and values, clearing a path for others to follow.

I’m excited to take on this role, to look towards the future, and to work with the RILA team, the RILA Board, and members throughout our respective organizations. Learning from each other and tackling challenges cross-functionally has been one of our greatest strengths as an industry these past two years, and that strength is already benefitting our ESG work, as well.
The RILA team has already developed dozens of excellent resources around ESG and the issue areas it comprises and continue to provide opportunities for education, benchmarking, and influencing the ESG ecosystem that will help drive us all forward. Through RILA, we’re already comparing our ESG team structures, the roles of our Boards, and what metrics really support our progress in order to engage regulators and voluntary standards and framework bodies. I encourage those who are not yet engaged in these initiatives to get involved.
We’re all competitors in one form or another, but our common purpose and collaboration allows us to do great things together as an industry. 

  • Retail Insights
  • Ensuring a Safe, Sustainable Future
  • Climate and Sustainability
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Workforce
  • Retail

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