Our purpose as a Company is to inspire and connect with women to put their best selves forward every day. This means helping them to look good AND feel good! With an associate base that is 94% women and a client base that is 100% women, we have a unique perspective on what is important to women today. What we do is provide our clients with great fashion at superb value to meet her everyday wardrobe needs. How we do it is by conducting our business with purpose through our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs that drive responsible business practices throughout our operations. Our clients can feel good that they are supporting a Company that cares about its impact on women, the environment and the communities it serves.
ANN INC. is committed to driving social programs that are dedicated to women and the causes that matter most to them. In 2012, we extended this commitment throughout our Supply Chain through the funding of the HERproject. This important project will positively impact the lives of over 13,000 women by the end of 2013 by providing in-factory women’s health education. This training improves both their health and well-being, making these women more empowered and productive. We are proud of the impact this work is having and will continue to expand our efforts. Our Suppliers also realize productivity gains, reduced absenteeism and turnover. As a result, ANN INC. strengthens its relationships with its business partners globally and ensures our Company values are aligned with our Suppliers.
Our focus extends towards environmental responsibility too, and I am pleased to share that we have reduced ANN INC.’s carbon footprint by 20% per square foot, surpassing our original goal. We could not have achieved this without our dedicated ANN INC. associates who help us reduce our energy use and find innovative solutions to make our store fleet more efficient. We have set a new goal to reduce our carbon footprint by 30% by 2015 and I am confident that we will achieve this goal too!
In 2012, we also joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, an industry-wide group of over 80 leading apparel and footwear brands, retailers, suppliers, nonprofits, and NGOs working to reduce the environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear products around the world. We are proud to be part of this important group that is leading our sector towards sustainability.
Finally, there is no better evidence of how special our clients and associates are than their passionate and committed support of our giving programs. Through ANN Cares, we raised more than $4.7 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® in 2012. We also donated $4 million to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®, which fully funds 13 research grants. We believe in supporting the next generation of young female leaders through our ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative. Last year, 50 ANNpower Fellows from all over the United States attended the first ANNpower Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. for three days of leadership training and mentoring. Outstanding Fellows received ANNpower Grants to develop projects that positively impacted more than 5,500 members of their collective communities.
We are proud that our brands not only bring great style and fashion, but are also rooted in our commitment to responsibility. We are deeply passionate about operating a purpose-led company that will allow our clients and associates to feel proud to wear our products and be confident in the knowledge that they are produced ethically and responsibly.
We thank you for your interest, and I look forward to sharing future reports on our continued progress.
President and Chief Executive Officer