Sustainability is important to our customers and the world. Our products are made to feel good inside and out.

Reduce Water

Reduce water use in our production

Expand our work to ensure that water leaving our factories does not pollute the environment

Increase the amount of water being recycled by our laundries

Factory Wastewater Management

Apparel production involves a large quantity of water and needs to be treated properly. In 2013, we launched the AEO Wastewater Management Standard to provide factories with guidance on how to make sure that water is safe before it is discharged. Our program is built around wastewater testing, factory training and capacity building so that factories can better protect the environment.

Sustainable Denim Washing

Garment finishing is the last step in the manufacturing process to give denim the final look. We are working with key laundries to implement Jeanologia’s environmental impact monitoring (EIM) software as an initial step towards building more sustainable processes. The EIM software assesses the environmental impact of the garment finishing process in four areas: water consumption, energy consumption, chemical use, and worker health.

Sustainable Apparel

In 2016, we joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), joining a common industry approach for environmental assessments at factories. We are using the SAC’s Higg Index suite of tools to help us measure the environmental impacts of factory operations at over 120 factories, denim mills and laundries.

Save Energy

Pursue more renewable energy to power our operations and stores

Build on our carbon reduction success (decreased already 30%!) by setting a new goal for reductions in our operations and our supply chain

Greenhouse Gas Inventory Assessment

In 2012, we initiated our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory Program to reduce our GHG emissions. We are proud to report that we’ve decreased emissions intensity by nearly 30%!

Our GHG inventory boundary includes AEO offices, distribution centers, data centers, and retail stores residing primarily in North America.

AEO Hazleton Distribution Center Goes Green

Our Hazleton Distribution Center qualifies for Silver LEED certification by earning points in areas of design, construction materials, and recycling equipment selection that resulted in energy efficiencies and indoor environmental quality.

Smarter Energy Systems

New stores are being built with an Energy Management System (EMS) that allow us to make sure lights and heating/cooling systems are turned off when no one is in the store. It also allows us to identify and diagnose energy anomalies, such as a bad compressor or other equipment failure.

Additionally, eight of our stores are testing a CATALYST Efficiency Enhancing Controller on HVAC rooftop units to reduce energy used for heating and cooling. We anticipate 20-50% energy savings, and if results are in line with our expectations, we’ll roll this program in high-heat regions.

Energy Savings with LED Lights

Since 2014, we’ve changed the lighting in our stores to LED, resulting in savings 3,050 tons of carbon dioxide. This is equivalent to removing 582 cars from the road. We also replaced and installed LED lighting on our Pittsburgh campus, which reduced our energy usage by 40%.

Improve Materials

Use raw materials with less environmental impact, focusing first on more sustainable cotton, polyester and viscose

Better Cotton Initiative

We joined the Better Cotton Initiative in 2015 to ensure the cotton used in our clothing is grown using more sustainable farming techniques and supports the livelihoods of the people who produce it.

Sustainable Fibers

We work with Unifi, Inc. and several of our key mills to help us manufacture fabrics containing recycled or waste synthetic raw materials. Unifi transforms used plastic bottles into a recycled plastic fiber called REPREVE®, which can then be used in many different types of fabrics.

Reduce & Reuse

Recycle apparel waste (used or unsold clothes, etc.)

Reduce plastic packaging or more to alternatives with less impact

Convert all labels to sustainably sourced materials


According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 32 billion pounds of clothing, shoes, and other textiles end up in landfills in the U.S. each year. We aim to be part of the movement towards a circular economy where pre-loved apparel and footwear can be reused or remanufactured into new products.

We partner with I:CO (I:Collect) to implement a closed-loop recycling program to collect used clothing and shoes.. AEO associates can recycle their unwanted clothing, shoes, and textiles on each campus through I:CO. Recycled items are transformed into new products like insulation and even new fabric.


Every year through our Clean & Green initiative, we tackle paper recycling on a huge scale across our corporate and distribution locations. We encourage AEO associates to clean-up documents, files, and records. We also work to reduce our footprint through cardboard recycling and reuse by reusing or purchasing used boxes that would otherwise have gone to a landfill.