VF Corp. has announced the release of its first-ever Animal Derived Materials Policy, which includes the commitment to progressively ban the use of fur, angora or exotic leather in its brands' products. The policy has been developed in partnership with The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, which work for animal protection at the national and international level, respectively. VF's portfolio of brands includes Timberland, The North Face, Vans, Eastpak, Wrangler, and Lee, among others. Most of the animal derived materials that the brands of the group currently use are down, leather and wool.
The new policy defines which animal materials are banned and sets guidelines for the procurement and use of approved materials by VF's brands and global supply chain partners. The objective of the policy, as defined by VF, is to continue to promote the development of viable commercial substitutes to animal materials, while ensuring that the materials in use are procured from responsible business practices and sources that prioritize animal welfare.
The move is part of the group's commitment toward a more animal-friendly supply chain in recent years. Timberland partnered with other footwear brands, retailers and tanneries to form the Leather Working Group, which works to develop an environmental stewardship protocol for the leather manufacturing industry.
In 2014, The North Face launched the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), a global standard through which any brand can assess and certify its down supply chain, designed to improve the welfare of the ducks and geese providing down feathers used in apparel. The RDS was developed in partnership with Textile Exchange, a global non-profit organization dedicated to sustainability in the textile and apparel industry, and Control Union Certifications, an accredited third-party certification body with expertise in agriculture and farm systems. Textile Exchange now manages the RDS program.
In addition, VF Corp. adheres to existing policies for the purchase and use of so-called “conflict minerals,” which are natural resources extracted in conflict zones, and forest-derived materials. The group follows country of origin rules for cotton and has a Restricted Substances List for its chemical management program. VF's sustainability commitments are extensively illustrated at http:/sustainability.vfc.com