Ardene began as a single store of accessories and jewelry in 1982. Since then, Ardene has added clothing, shoes, brand collaborations, and licensed apparel to its product mix. It now has over 300 stores across Canada, the United States, and other parts of the world, in addition to its own online shopping website, ardene.com, and the Ardene app.
Ardene stated that rather than being exclusive or frightening, their sense of fashion should be admired with youthful confidence and uncontrolled excitement. In the new retail era, Ardene is putting a greater emphasis on customer experience and environmental sustainability than ever before. Ardene has provided new data and ideas for mapping its GHG emissions using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, a set of criteria used by 90% of Fortune 500 corporations. Ardene believes that having a complete understanding of its supply chain will help it battle the unsustainable aspects of the apparel industry. The company has also joined with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), a global collaboration of retailers, brands, suppliers, advocacy groups, labor unions, and academics dedicated to reducing the industry’s environmental effects.
“This partnership has the potential to help us make real changes in our organization and supply chain.” “The SAC offers tools, such as the HIGG Index, that enable brands, retailers, and facilities of all sizes—at every stage in their sustainability journey—to accurately measure and score a company or product’s sustainability performance,” says Ardene’s representative.
Also, “If you go back even a hundred years, there hasn’t been a lot of progress in the process of garment construction, which still tends to be a very resource- and labor-intensive work”.
“In the past, many companies didn’t have any social or environmental record of what vendors overseas were doing. Ardene has systems in place to ensure our factories are socially and environmentally compliant, and we continue to improve these through our partnerships with the SAC and others. We have a code of conduct and conduct audits”.
Ardene appeared to be a great brand to wear products from with all these new claims until I dug deeper. Ardene has recalled two necklaces after Health Canada determined that they contained lead, just months after promising to do more brutal toxic metal testing to ensure that dangerous metals were not present in their products. The lead was discovered during a spot examination by a government agency in April. Last Friday, Health Canada issued a countrywide notice demanding the recall of around 377 items of children’s jewelry that were sold in Canada between March and April of this year. In the last ten years, the retailer has issued seven recalls.
In five of the recalls, lead levels were found to be greater than those recommended by Health Canada. Following a Marketplace investigation in 2016, it was determined that some Ardene jewelry made in China included cadmium, a toxic metal that, if consumed, poses a risk akin to lead. Ardene initially disputed that any of the jewelry shown in the store had been recalled, but later notified Marketplace that the pieces had been pulled from shelves and that the company’s cadmium and lead testing standards had been changed again.