Market Overview

WILLIAMS-SONOMA, INC. DEMONSTRATES STRONG MOMENTUM IN COMMITMENT TO DELIVER VISION SERVICES TO OVER 20,000 FACTORY WORKERS

Share:

Partnership With VisionSpring Set To Reach Goal And Serve As Call To
Action To Other Retail Brands

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE:WSM) has partnered with VisionSpring,
a non-profit organization with the mission of providing vision services
and affordable eyewear, to help fund full vision services for at least
20,000 workers in developing areas of India and the Philippines.
Williams-Sonoma is proud to report strong progress, and that 9,765
workers have already been assisted for the initiative which runs through
2018.

The investment follows three successful pilot programs led by
Williams-Sonoma, Inc. and West Elm in India and Nepal. In 2015, West Elm
was alerted to the challenges faced by artisan partners participating in
a West Elm-funded literacy program located in Haiti, who could no longer
participate because they were struggling with their vision. The
following year, West Elm and VisionSpring piloted a program offering
factory workers vision screenings and providing corrective eyewear,
benefitting 632 workers in the first year. These pilots indicated that
56 percent of program participants had a need for vision services and
more than 90 percent were given eyeglasses for the first time.

"Prioritizing worker well-being is a guiding principle of all
Williams-Sonoma, Inc. brands, working together to make significant gains
towards our commitment of impacting the lives of 100,000 workers and
their families by 2020," said Beth Thompson, Executive Vice President,
Global Sourcing at Williams-Sonoma, Inc. "Our partnership with
VisionSpring supports the economic empowerment and self-reliance of
factory workers, and is one more example of how Williams-Sonoma brands
continue to lead the way for other retailers to make business decisions
with the power of doing good. It's rewarding to know that today's
announcement is just the first phase of a much larger movement."

"For those living in poverty, clear vision can mean the difference
between learning to read or remaining illiterate, working and not
working, and ultimately being able to provide for oneself and family,"
said Ella Gudwin, President of VisionSpring. "As a social enterprise, we
are focused on getting low income workers into the eyeglasses they need
to boost their income earning potential, and before age-related blurry
vision forces them out of the workforce. We needed a passionate partner
who shared our values and would help attract like-minded brands. We
tested hypotheses in a few settings and developed a replicable approach
that we can implement in a range of production sites, from large-scale
factories to smaller artisan groups. And we built in a training
component that will enable workplaces to sustain the provision of basic
reading glasses on their own."

Access to corrective vision services can make a profound impact on the
lives of factory workers. Workers with eyewear have greater financial
security and improved health. Additionally, studies have shown a 34
percent increase in productivity when workers have access to corrective
vision services. Eye health programs and screenings become more
efficient when delivered at scale and typically take just 15-minutes per
worker. Recognizing the importance of delivering these critical exams,
other retailers have joined VisionSpring as program partners, including
Target.

Williams-Sonoma, Inc.'s corporate sustainability efforts span its
operations, seeking to improve the resiliency of its supply chain across
the communities where business is conducted around the world. From the
company's pledge to achieve 100 percent responsibly sourced cotton by
2021, to leadership in Fair Trade as the first international home
furnishings retailer to partner with Fair Trade USA in 2014 and invest
$3M in community development premiums by 2020, the company is constantly
seeking ways to support innovative programs that deliver social and
business impact to reinforce their commitment to creating quality
products. To learn more about Williams-Sonoma, Inc.'s commitments around
its three focus areas of: operations, products and materials, and people
and communities please visit the brand's CSR
website
.

About Williams-Sonoma, Inc.

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is a specialty retailer of high-quality products
for the home. These products, representing distinct merchandise
strategies — Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, West Elm,
PBteen, Williams Sonoma Home, Rejuvenation, and Mark and Graham — are
marketed through e-commerce websites, direct-mail catalogs and retail
stores. We operate in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia and the
United Kingdom, offer international shipping to customers worldwide, and
have unaffiliated franchisees that operate stores in the Middle East,
the Philippines, Mexico and South Korea, as well as e-commerce websites
in certain locations. In 2017, we acquired Outward, Inc., a 3-D imaging
and augmented reality platform for the home furnishings and décor
industry.

About VisionSpring

Founded in 2001, VisionSpring is
a leading social enterprise whose mission is to improve access to
eyewear for earners and learners everywhere with radically affordable,
durable, attractive glasses. VisionSpring has been internationally
recognized by the Skoll Foundation, Draper Richards Kaplan, Ashoka, the
Schwab Foundation, the Aspen Institute, USAID, and the World Bank; is a
three-time winner of Fast-Company's Social Capitalist Award; and a
winner of Duke University's Enterprising Social Innovation Award.

View Comments and Join the Discussion!