SGB Media reports that U.S. oilfield company Liberty is using billboards around Denver, a website and videos on YouTube and Twitter to pillory The North Face (TNF) for hypocrisy. Last December, the outdoor apparel company turned down an order from Innovex, a Texas-based oil and gas company, to buy and label 400 TNF jackets for its employees. Innovex reported that TNF rejected the order because the company supplies oil and gas, which is unfavorable to the public image TNF wants to convey of itself. The CEO of Innovex’ competitor Liberty Oilfield Services, Chris Wright, took the case as an opportunity to publicly point out how high the percentage of fossil beta components in clothing was overall, but especially in TNF’s case. In a video, Wright states that the company creates products that likely use at least 90 percent fibers derived from oil and gas – well above the global average of 60 percent – ”simply because they make premium high-performance products.” The campaign’s ironic message is that “TNF is not only a customer but a partner of the oil industry.”
According to Fox Business News, Wright hoped the campaign would spur an honest conversation about the role of fossil fuels in the economy and climate change, which he says is real. And driving past the billboards (one of them, for example, reads: “That North Face puffer looks great on you. And it was made from fossil fuels. Your friends in Oil & Gas.”) would give TNF customers and employees a chance to reflect on how the oil and gas industry enables their lifestyles, from the jacket they wear to the kayak they took out last weekend.
TNF has not yet commented at the time of the writing of this article.