The parent company of the Timberland and The North Face brands – both of which have made fresh sustainability commitments it recent months – announced today (15 November) that it prevented more than 38,000 tonnes of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere, equivalent to the electricity needed to power 5,710 homes for a year.

VF achieved these reductions whilst seeing vast expanses to its business, adding more than 500 sites to its global operations within the five-year period – a 40% increase driven mainly by retail store expansion.

VF’s chairman Eric Wiseman said: “Surpassing our carbon reduction goal by such a large margin is further proof that VF is serious about sustainability and addressing the issue of climate change. I’m extremely proud of the many individuals across VF whose actions – big and small – contributed to these exceptional results.” 

The reduction efforts focused on four areas of operation; manufacturing, distribution, retail, offices and facilities. From this, VF’s offices, facilities and distribution sites saw the highest carbon reductions, with a 30% and 25% drop respectively.

VF achieved half of this 12% reduction from increasing its use of clean energy, renewable energy credits and carbon offsets. The other 6% came from smaller initiatives such as employee behaviour change programmes and various energy efficiency measures such as installing LED lighting in retail stores, technology upgrades in distribution centres and the construction of energy efficient facilities – some of which achieved a LEED certification.

Continued commitments

VF has taken steps to be an industry leader in sustainability with its global carbon reduction efforts. The company recently received a “B” letter grade (on an A to F scale) in the 2016 assessment of environmental performance and disclosure reporting by CDP.

Speaking exclusively to edie, Timberland’s sustainability senior manager for the EMEA region Aurelie Dumont confirmed Timberland is ramping up its circular economy efforts as a number of innovative closed-loop models for footwear now approach the next stages of development.

Outdoor apparel giant The North Face has been committed to a responsible chemistry programme, which aims to create significant environmental savings that go beyond compliance, to identify environmentally preferable chemicals and to reduce overall chemical use in its supply chain.

VF is also working toward its 100% renewable energy goal across all owned and operated facilities globally by 2025. VF made this commitment in December 2015 when it joined the American Business Act on Climate Pledge.

Alex Baldwin

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