Bed, Bath & Beyond files for bankruptcy protection 4 years after going ‘all in’ on ESG

After years of going all in on the woke ESG agenda, it appears Bed, Bath & Beyond (BB&B) is now beyond repair.

Following a failure to secure $300 million from investors this month and the closure of hundreds of stores, the once-trendy retailer filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in New Jersey on Saturday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The company had been warning of an impending bankruptcy for months, as sales evaporated and its stock fell below $1.

To make it through the bankruptcy process, BB&B received $240 million in financing from Sixth Street Specialty Lending, Inc., but ultimately the company expects to close all its locations.

While some attribute BB&B’s demise to increased competition, supply chain struggles, and an ill-conceived idea to replace name-brand products like KitchenAid mixers with their own private label, others point to the company’s 2019 commitment to going woke.

“In 2019, the company went all in on ESG. Other home stores thrived during covid,” tweeted Frog Nation on Sunday. “Congrats to @BedBathBeyond for taking their carbon footprint to zero.”

Attached to the comment was a screenshot of Bed, Bath & Beyond’s message to stakeholders from its 2019 “Corporate Responsibility Report.”

“During 2019, we also significantly transformed Bed Bath & Beyond’s Board governance structure, including the appointment of ten new independent directors, with seven female directors, a rich diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, ages, gender, race and ethnicity,” the memo read. “As a result of these changes, our Board better reflects the diversity of the Company’s loyal customers and dedicated Associates.”

It was around that time that the retailer bowed to a mob of progressive New York journalists and issued an apology for selling black pumpkins at Halloween.

“This is a sensitive area and, though unintentional, we apologize for any offense caused,” the company spokesperson stated at the time. “We have immediately removed the item from sale.”

On its website, Bed, Bath & Beyond touts its latest Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) report, covering the 2021 calendar year and completed in May 2022.

“I have tremendous faith in our ability to achieve our focused mission: making it easy to feel at home,” wrote company CEO Mark Tritton. “This is our purpose, and fuels our actions, ambitions, and definition of success – all anchored by our ESG commitments.”

“Even through the continual challenges of COVID-19, our teams traversed unprecedented global supply chain issues that created macroeconomic and operational impediments to our business,” he continued. “Our Associates rose to every occasion, and it’s their tireless dedication that has allowed our strategy to progress.”

Tritton outlined the three “pillars” to the company’s “multi-year transformation plan with ESG embedded into our initiatives and business activities”:

People: Create an equitable, inclusive work environment where all Associates feel at home and can thrive

Community: Provide a sense of home to the people and communities we serve

Planet: Do our part to protect the planet we call home

“Underpinning the above pillars,” Tritton vowed, “Bed Bath & Beyond is committed to strong corporate governance and stakeholder engagement as we elevate and embed strong ethical values and a robust governance framework.”

While Tritton’s plan may have earned the company a few gold stars from the woke police, it failed to address its customers’ concerns, and the rest is history.

The moral of the story, once again, appears to be “go woke, go broke.”

Melissa Fine


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