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Sustainable Transformation: La-Z-Boy Leading the Way

Discover how La-Z-Boy is pioneering sustainable transformation, establishing itself as a benchmark in the furniture manufacturing industry.
Fernanda Ferreira
December 7, 2023

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In our latest client spotlight, we delve into the remarkable journey of La-Z-Boy, a name synonymous with comfort and quality in the furniture industry. La-Z-Boy's commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, under the guidance of its dedicated team, sets a benchmark in corporate responsibility.

Today, we're thrilled to share an insightful conversation with Amy Vernon, La-Z-Boy’s Director of Sustainability, ESG and Global Product Compliance, who has played a pivotal role in steering the company’s sustainability initiatives.

Interview with Amy Vernon, La-Z-Boy

Q: Can you share a bit about your professional background and your company, La-Z-Boy?

Amy Vernon: Absolutely! I've been with La-Z-Boy for about four years, where I started as Director of Global Product Compliance. For the past 2 years, I took on sustainability and ESG responsibilities. Before this, I worked for a smaller company focusing on product safety and compliance, gradually moving up to the director level, where I had responsibilities linked to chemical compliance and sustainability.

La-Z-Boy: ESG Priorities and Key Challenges

Q: What are La-Z-Boy's ESG priorities and goals?

Amy Vernon: In light of the current economic state, we've shifted focus toward actual environmental results. Our commitment is towards achieving NetZero emissions by 2050. We emphasize real change over mere reporting - minimizing waste to landfills, reducing water usage, and conducting thorough physical risk assessments to mitigate risks. We strive to ensure that all our efforts result in tangible environmental improvements, while also upholding the best interests of our suppliers and employees.

Q: What specific ESG-related challenges was La-Z-Boy facing?

Amy Vernon: The biggest challenge was ensuring transparency in data reporting. Accurately collecting and reporting data to satisfy our investors' demands was crucial. Setting up one central repository for all our data was key to make sure we were following the rules and ready for any audits, especially with the evolving regulations in California. We want to be able to know exactly what we are doing so that we can more effectively reduce our emissions and be confident in the data we are publicly reporting.

The Search for a Solution and Discovering ESG Flo

Q: How did La-Z-Boy approach the process of finding a solution, and what specific criteria were applied?

Amy Vernon: Our search journey began over a year ago. We investigated numerous solutions, looking for a system that could truly solve our problems: offer a comprehensive and time-optimizing data collection process, and provision a central data repository that could integrate smoothly with our existing tools. We were also keen on solutions that could benefit not just our audit and finance teams but the entire company. Before meeting ESG Flo, we investigated many different solutions, but we didn’t feel confident about how complete they were or whether they would integrate well with our current systems.

Q: How did you come across ESG Flo?

Amy Vernon: All started with our CFO discussing with Bain & Company about ESG Flo. Bain was developing this platform and invited us to participate in a pilot program. This opportunity was compelling as it offered a fresh start and tailored solutions to our needs. I was fascinated by the team's commitment and dedication to developing a solution that was specifically tailored to address our challenges.

Q: What led to your decision to choose ESG Flo?

Amy Vernon: The decision involved our CFO, Tim McCurry, the VP of Sustainability, and myself. We were impressed by ESG Flo's potential for SEC and now California Act compliance, mass-based data handling, and its pioneering approach. Our finance team was particularly interested in its innovative capabilities. A big part of our decision was driven by our willingness to be part of a cutting-edge solution, something that doesn’t exist out there yet.

Partnership Experience

Q: Can you describe your experience partnering with ESG Flo?

Amy Vernon: The partnership has been exceptional, especially in terms of customer service and support. The ESG Flo team's dedication to understanding our specific needs and providing comprehensive guidance was remarkable. We appreciated them digging into the weeds, and guiding us. The team has a level of focus on the technology side that we don't have internally, so they really exceeded our expectations. Talking with our supply-chain team, we agreed that it’s been the best experience with a partner we’ve ever had.

Q: How has this partnership influenced La-Z-Boy’s ESG approach?

Amy Vernon: It's a bit early for measuring impacts, but we're confident about the quality of data we'll receive in the coming years. It'll be fully functional for FY 24 data, and I don't have any doubt that the tool is going to make everyone's jobs much simpler this coming year.

Future Outlook

Q: What are your future plans for this partnership?

Amy Vernon: We're focusing on expanding our Scope 3 data collection and accuracy into other categories that impact our operations. The goal is to use this data for more effective emission reduction strategies. We're also excited about ESG Flo's ongoing development and potential innovations on the compliance front.

Final Thoughts and Advice

Q: Any advice for companies facing similar ESG challenges?

Amy Vernon: I recommend considering ESG Flo, especially for its accurate method of mass-based reporting approach. For those new to ESG, consulting with third parties and industry peers can be invaluable to understanding your company’s needs in light of the current regulatory environment. From these past three years of experience and the interviews with all these different tools, I think that ESG Flo is the way of the future.

Amy's insights highlight the transformative power of a focused ESG strategy. La-Z-Boy's journey showcases how targeted solutions can lead to impactful changes while aligning with business goals.

Are you inspired by La-Z-Boy's story? Do you see similar possibilities for your organization? We invite you to explore how ESG Flo can revolutionize your company's sustainability journey. Take the first step towards a more sustainable future.

Interview conducted on Nov 20, 2023, by Amy Ryu for ESG Flo Interview Series

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