VS&Co Executive Leadership Series - Amy Hauk
The Victoria’s Secret & Co. Executive Leadership Series is a behind-the-scenes conversation with our leaders on the topics they are most passionate about. Stay tuned as we continue our commitment to welcome, celebrate and honor our customers, our associates, and the communities where we engage. We are excited to have you on this journey with us.
Amy Hauk, CEO PINK on Earth Day
We believe in doing what is right in our industry, our community and the world, and conducting our business in an environmentally responsible way that supports a healthier planet. That’s why we’ve interviewed Amy Hauk, CEO of PINK and leader of VS&Co’s environmental sustainability committee.
Hear directly from Amy about how her personal passion for the environment led her to champion VS&Co’s environmental sustainability efforts and the changes we’re making to become better stewards of our industry and environment.
“At the end of the day, sustainability is so much bigger than VS&Co. This is about the fashion industry at large…We want to understand what we can do as an industry that meets the needs of our customers while also being better for the planet overall.”
Tell us about yourself and your role at VS&Co.
I am the CEO of Victoria’s Secret PINK, with a love of retail and passion for the customer that has fueled my career since the very beginning. I originally joined L Brands in a merchant leadership role at Bath & Body Works in 2008 and through hard work and dedication that resulted in explosive growth for the brand, eventually worked my way up to becoming CEO of PINK in 2018. I am so proud each and every day to head a brand so focused on celebrating and supporting young adults in everything they do – from mental health to being kinder to the planet and so much more. We are guided by our principles of People, Purpose and Planet and my role as CEO is to bring these principles to life and help outfit the world in optimism.
What made you want to lead VS&Co’s sustainability initiative? Can you talk about why you might be personally and/or professionally passionate about this issue?
What really sparked my interest in sustainability is better understanding our customer – getting to know the PINK customer like my best friend. What I learned when joining the brand in 2018 is that our customers, specifically Gen Z, are so passionate about caring for the planet. Knowing this, we’ve coined the term ‘cause-merce’ because PINK strives to do so much more than just sell product; we’re combining commerce and causes so that our customers know that in supporting PINK, they are also supporting the causes they care about.
It's a combination of this passion from our customers paired with my personal commitment to the planet and love for fashion that led me to lead VS&Co’s sustainability initiative. Our sustainability team is made up of incredibly driven leaders from across the business and seeing this kind of passion on a larger scale energizes me to keep learning and keep pushing for solutions that are better for the planet.
Over the last year, what changes have we made at VS&Co to become a more sustainable company and what are you most excited about?
We’ve done a lot of incredible work so far. We are a leader in the industry for responsible chemical management practices in our supply chain and have joined several global programs dedicated to sustainability efforts and working with our partners across the supply chain to ensure these standards are upheld every step of the way.
What I’m most excited about is to bring it home and make changes internally across our company. We just created new 2022 workstreams that strategize how our stores, distribution centers, home offices and associates can be more sustainable. We want to hold ourselves accountable in the same ways we encourage our customers to make sustainable decisions because we all have a responsibility to take care of our planet. We want more than just a sustainability committee; we want sustainability to be ingrained in our company culture.
For example, we’re starting to use mannequins that are made of recycled materials and we’re looking at ways to eliminate single-use plastics in our stores and distribution centers and avoid food waste in our cafes.
How are we measuring these changes?
We are in the midst of kicking off a materiality study, which is on top of the baseline and index studies we’ve already conducted to kick off our sustainability work. This new study will help us establish new ways we can incorporate sustainability across the business.
We also just released our Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) report earlier this month and I encourage you to read it here for more information about where we are now and where we aspire to be. We’ll be publishing our new goals in a comprehensive version of this report in the fall of 2022.
I think it’s important to note that our sustainability initiatives are a journey. We know we don’t have all the answers – we’re continuing to learn how to become better stewards of our industry and environment. One aspect of our company culture that I’m most proud of is to be radically transparent, so we’ll be regularly communicating our learnings, achievements, and goals across our internal and external audiences.
How do you practice sustainability in your daily life?
I’m always trying to minimize my environmental impact. For example, I try to recycle whenever possible and use reusable products in a sustainable way. It’s important to be educated on what products have the most environmental impact and I try and use products that are eco-friendly and have a minimal carbon footprint. I also try and avoid pre-packaged produce or foods that use excessive plastic packaging and always donate clothing to be recycled, upcycled, or repurposed to avoid it going to landfills.
I think one of the most important aspects of being a good environmental steward is also to talk about it, spread awareness and learnings about what can be done to take care of our environment. I like to share with anyone about the efforts we are making here at VS&Co, but also continue to learn from others about what more I can be doing. At the end of the day, I think we’re all students figuring out how to become more sustainable in our everyday lives.
Any future sustainability goals you can share?
I think the biggest goal we have is our commitment to sustainability and doing the right thing for our customers, associates, and planet. We are committed to partnering with other retailers to establish goals and regulations within the fashion industry that have positive outcomes for us all. At the end of the day, sustainability is so much bigger than VS&Co. This is about the fashion industry at large – one of the world’s top polluters. We want to understand what we can do as an industry that meets the needs of our customers while also being better for the planet overall.
What is your favorite part about working at VS&Co?
That one’s easy – the people. I’m so lucky to get to work with such smart, committed, and passionate people that always want to do the right thing. It’s those relationships that really get you to appreciate where you are and where you’re going. All of our associates at VS&Co are the foundation for our transformation that are taking a brand – our beautiful brand – and repositioning it to better serve all customers. There’s really no place I’d rather be.
Any advice or life lessons you’d like to share?
Do what you love and are passionate about, always be open and curious to learn more and practice humility. I think there is a common misconception that being a leader means that you always have all the answers and that’s just not true. Early in my career I used to think that humility was a sign of weakness, but what I’ve come to learn is the best leaders are the ones that are okay with not knowing everything because that means you’re open to listening, to learn and grow and always strive to become the best version of yourself.