The North Face expands ‘Climate Beneficial’ clothing line

Outdoor clothing brand The North Face has expanded its line of carbon "net-negative" products to include scarves and jackets, after successfully designing a "Climate Beneficial" wool beanie earlier this year.

The company’s Climate Positive line of apparel is made in the US with the help of industry organisations Fibershed and Bare Ranch. Regenerative agricultural practices used at the ranching stage of production capture more carbon in the soil than is emitted into the atmosphere, while increasing soil fertility and improving water-holding capacity, The North Face claims.

It is estimated that Bare Ranch’s farming practices will capture 4,000 metric tonnes of CO2 each year – the equivalent to offsetting the emissions from around 850 passenger vehicles. The North Face has this week pledged to purchase five times as much “Climate Beneficial” wool by volume in 2018 as it did in 2017.

“As we continue to grow our Cali Wool Collection, we’re seeing interest in regenerative agriculture expanding across the US,” The North Face said in a statement. “As more producers incorporate these practices, the impact will be exponential.”

The North Face’s senior sustainability manager James Rogers previously told edie that the use of “Climate Beneficial” wool underpins the company’s “mindful approach” to the design of its products.

Rogers explained that company’s design team created its first carbon net-negative product – the Cali Beanie – to “challenge themselves” and to explore whether it was possible to mass-market low-carbon clothing to The North Face’s consumer base.

More than 100 farmers have told The North Face that they are developing low-carbon wool farm plans, which include practices such as managing where sheep graze, planting trees and cover crops and fortifying fields with compost. 

Threads with benefits

The expansion of The North Face’s “Climate Beneficial” range comes shortly after the brand announced that it would offset 100% of the emissions it generates when sending athletes on expeditions.

The move builds on a commitment from the brand’s parent company, VF Corporation, to offset emissions generated at its owned and operated facilities in the US, as well as through business travel, employee commuting and e-commerce shipping. 

VF Corporation has pledged to announce a science-based target for carbon reduction by 2019 and transition to 100% renewables at its 2,000 owned and operated facilities worldwide by 2025. As of January, 42% of energy sourced by VF Corporation in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa) came from renewable sources.

The company also has an aspirational goal to “lead the large-scale commercialisation of circular business models through brand-led re-commerce and rental initiatives”.

VF Corporation, which also owns Vans and Timberland, has launched a refurbished garments service as part of a shift towards servitisation models through The North Face brand. Called “Renewed”, the initiative acts as an online hub for the brand to sell refurbished products that are sourced from returned, damaged or defective apparel.

Sarah George

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