The owner of The North Face, Timberland and other brands has announced its new global sustainability and responsibility strategy, called “Made for Change.” The strategy was announced in conjunction with VF's Sustainability and Responsibility Performance Report, on Dec. 11. The new strategy commits VF Corp. to reduce its global environmental footprint by 50 percent, from farm to front door, by 2030. The new goals and targets also include measurably improving the lives of one million garment industry workers and local community members by 2025.
In addition, VF has pledged a 35 percent reduction in the average environmental impact of key materials used to make its products, also by 2025. This goal means 50 percent of nylon and polyester will come from recycled materials, and the outdoor apparel will be 100 percent PFC-free. Also, the company has committed to 100 percent of all footwear leather to be finished in Leather Working Group audited tanneries by 2021. Meanwhile, all cotton purchased by VF that is not from the U.S. or Australia will be grown under a cotton growing sustainability scheme by 2025, the company said.
VF's Made for Change strategy centers on three areas: Circular Business Models, Scale for Good, and Movement Makers. Through its action plan for Circular Business Models, the company aims at pursuing circular business models, as opposed to linear systems of production that are no longer sustainable, in order to continually reduce its environmental impact. Actions in this domain will include a focus on branded rental and “recommerce” business strategies for its brands, in addition to an emphasis on products that are designed to have a second life. In the Scale for Good area, VF will leverage its global scale and influence to drive meaningful changes across the industry, with goals such as dramatically reducing the impact of materials used to manufacture products and decarbonizing across the supply chain to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, the Movement Makers action plan aims at the promotion of active lifestyles and sustainable and responsibly sourced products. The company said this is to be achieved through strategic investments, targeted advocacy, philanthropic gifts and collaboration with public and private sector partners.
The main components of VF's Made for Change strategy are detailed at sustainability.vfc.com. The website also provides a behind-the-scenes look at how the company created this strategy, along with videos of its current sustainability efforts and other educational resources. In 2016, VF Corp. was named to Corporate Responsibility (CR) Magazine's 100 Best Corporate Citizens List, which recognizes U.S. public companies with standout corporate responsibility performance. VF was also named a 2017 World's Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute, and is one of only three apparel companies to make the list, along with H&M and Levi Strauss & Co.