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VF sets new sustainability and responsibility goals

Apparel and footwear giant VF Corporation, owner of The North Face and Timberland brands, has launched a new global sustainability and responsibility strategy setting out updated goals and targets across its business and global supply chain.

The new strategy announced today (11 November) is called 'Made for Change' and commits VF to reducing its global environmental footprint by 50%, from farm to front door, by 2030.

Other goals include measurably improving the lives of one million garment industry workers and local community members by 2025.

Additionally, VF has pledged a 35% reduction in the average environmental impact of key materials used to make its products, also by 2025; with 50% of nylon and polyester coming from recycled materials, and 100% PfC-free outdoor apparel.

Also included within its materials goal is for 100% of all footwear leather to be finished in Leather Working Group audited tanneries by 2021. While all cotton purchased by VF that is not from the US or Australia will be grown under a cotton growing sustainability scheme by 2025.

"Respect for people and the planet has long been a guiding principle for VF, especially during the past decade as we've taken meaningful steps to embed environmental and socially responsible programmes throughout every aspect of our global business," says chairman, president and CEO Steve Rendle.

"We are accelerating our actions at VF by combining our relentless focus on innovation and operational excellence with responsible business practices to drive meaningful and lasting changes."

Aligned with The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) VF's Made for Change strategy focuses on three areas the company says it will pursue with clear action plans:

Circular Business Models: Fuelled by a belief that the linear system of production – take, make, use, waste – is not sustainable for a planet with a growing population and limited resources, VF will pursue the commercialisation of circular business models to continually reduce its environmental impact while creating new growth opportunities. This work includes a focus on branded rental and recommerce business strategies for its brands, in addition to emphasizing products that are designed to have a second life.

Scale for Good: As one of the world's largest apparel and footwear companies, VF will leverage its global scale and influence to drive meaningful changes across the industry. This includes dramatically reducing the impact of materials used to manufacture its products such as water and cotton, and decarbonising across its supply chain to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, VF says it will continue to take actions that ensure safe working conditions at its contract supplier factories and benefit factory workers and their communities including: access to clean water and sanitation; health and nutrition initiatives; and childcare and education.

Movement Makers: VF and its brands will unite to serve as a catalyst for global movements that help more people pursue active lifestyles and access sustainable and responsibly sourced products. VF will support these efforts with strategic investments, targeted advocacy, philanthropic gifts and collaboration with public and private sector partners.

Greensboro, North Carolina based VF, whose brands also include Vans, Wrangler and Lee, was last year named on Corporate Responsibility (CR) Magazine's 100 Best Corporate Citizens List, which recognises US public companies with standout corporate responsibility performance.

VF was also named a 2017 World's Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute, one of only three apparel companies to make the list.

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