The simple-yet-cleverly designed, iconic-yet-informal footwear that many people have been wearing for years has a big emphasis on comfort – it is a USP.
In line with the battle against climate change, the comfort now runs deeper than merely how your feet feel when striding out in a pair of Crocs. The company want consumers to step out confidently in the knowledge that their chosen footwear brand is meeting – and even better exceeding – their environmental and social targets, by elevating its sustainability profile.
For this to happen, the company needed a passionate, multi-skilled individual to steer the brand towards a strengthened sustainability strategy.
Acre was therefore very privileged to be engaged by Crocs to support the extensive search for VP Sustainability of the brand.
Acre was selected by Crocs due to our expertise in sustainability and track record of recruiting both apparel as well as manufacturing businesses across the USA.
Our 18 years of experience in sustainability recruitment means we have already cultivated an expansive global network of exceptional sustainability leaders; a network of purpose-driven professionals.
Determined to create a positive, sustainable legacy for Acre, for our society, and our planet by supporting businesses who are ambitious to create change, it was a natural fit to work with Crocs on this search.
The Role & Remit Required
The globally recognised brand specifically required a highly driven individual with the expertise and confidence to develop and execute the company’s sustainability strategy to steer towards the goal of becoming net-zero carbon by 2030, across the business and supply chain.
The level of bold ambition this VP Sustainability role would encompass to drive impact and change across the business became evident after initial briefings with senior leaders - including Crocs’ CEO, Andrew Rees.
It was understood that the successful candidate would report to Andrew in the near future, with a mandate to work closely with - and influence - senior executives across all key business functions. A key requirement when conducting the search was to be able to provide a diverse shortlist of well-qualified and experienced sustainability leaders, where inclusivity and belonging would be vital to success.
Why are Crocs Uniquely Positioned to Drive Change in the Fashion Sector?
Crocs have raised the sustainability bar to operate in a way that benefits its customers, the community and the people who work for the company, regardless of their job title because the cornerstone of success is engagement (with internal and external stakeholders), understanding how people feel and what they need, and ensuring inclusivity for all.
Crocs have focused energy on scrutinising climate and packaging efforts (selling shoes without shoe boxes is one way the company is reducing its negative impact), as well as paying attention to chemical, biodiversity, and social issues.
What Sustainability Strategy Would the VP Sustainability be Working on?
By the end of 2021, Crocs announced they would become 100 per cent vegan by focusing on sustainable ingredients for the footwear. Crocs is using a new bio-based version of its Croslite™ material for a lower-emissions shoe (45 per cent of which is recycled).
The bio-based material update is created in partnership with Dow, a global materials science company, and Crocs is the first footwear brand to use new ECOLIBRIUM™ technology to reduce its carbon footprint. The technology turns waste, by-products and renewable bio-based feedstocks into the familiar shoe which may provide future recycling opportunities.
The results are the same for consumers, they will see a casual shoe that encompasses all the familiarity of the original Crocs, for the same price as before, but with a lower environmental impact.
Crocs also ensure it gives back to the community through its internal giving program ‘Crocs Cares’ and currently donates shoes as part of its sustainability commitment thus avoiding waste and supporting those in need. It has donated shoes to healthcare workers who have put their lives on the line during the pandemic and has recently announced it will donate 30,000 pairs of Crocs to students and staff within the Boulder Valley School District in the wake of the Marshall wildfire earlier this year.
The company also relishes the unique attributes of every individual and invites everyone to ‘Come As You Are’, to promote its inclusive culture.
How does Acre Support a Company like Crocs to fill such a Prominent Position?
At Acre, we recognise that our obligations stem far beyond merely placing people in jobs. We work with the most aspirational clients, like Crocs, who are making an incredible environmental impact, to those who are just starting out on the journey to crafting a legacy.
Catherine Harris, Director Sustainable Business – North America, conducted a retained search for this highly sought-after opportunity which captured the imagination of some of the most talented and accomplished leaders in the business.
Alongside the search, Acre offered Crocs the opportunity to publicise their important work, and our in-house design team created a bespoke marketing campaign to let the market know about this incredible opportunity. Crocs instilled their trust in Acre to narrate their vision, mission, and ethos, while demonstrating the importance of this hire for the organisation.
The Successful Candidate
The successful candidate for this role – Deanna Bratter – came from Danone North America, where she was VP of Sustainable Development. During her time at Danone, Deanna led their strategy to address climate change issues – not to mention the restoration of natural ecosystems, advancing responsible sourcing, supporting people & communities, and improving sustainable packaging.
"Climate change is an urgent issue that requires meaningful and rapid action. As a brand that invites everyone to be comfortable in their own shoes, we have an equal responsibility to ensure we're doing our part to create a more comfortable world. We are excited to welcome Deanna into this key leadership position and are confident that her deep experience and expertise will help Crocs achieve its ambitious sustainability goals. We are delighted for Deanna and for Crocs and are excited to watch the business’s sustainability agenda flourish under her expert leadership.” - said Andrew Rees, CEO, Crocs.
“Deanna was quick to impress the senior leadership at Crocs with her impressive record of accomplishment, ambition, clarity of vision, exceptional engagement, and communication skills. Deanna has a heart for people and the planet – and this shone through, throughout the interview process.” said Catherine Harris, Director Sustainable Business – North America, Acre
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