bluesign® standard

Reducing the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes of our products

Most of our environmental impact is at the material production level – in the raw material itself and in the dyeing and finishing processes. We concentrate our sourcing with the most environmentally responsible suppliers we can find. This means working diligently with our partner mills to ensure they meet the criteria of the bluesign® standard. This is a rigorous, independent system that requires factories to address harmful chemicals and meet demanding requirements for consumer and worker safety, efficient resource use, and environmental protection.

We have aggressive goals for increasing the percentage of bluesign® approved materials we develop each season and aim to have 65% of our materials be bluesign® approved by 2015.

Learn more about the bluesign® standard in our Sustainability Report.

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Supply Chain Responsibility 7:47

Water

Reducing fresh water use and improving wastewater quality

Two-thirds of the world’s population will face water scarcity in 2025, according to the United Nations. The textile industry uses large volumes of water in the dyeing, treating and finishing stages of fabric production. We work with bluesign technologies and our textile mill partners to reduce water consumption and improve wastewater quality.

By reducing the amount of water used in these processes, we are also decreasing the amount of energy needed to heat, transport, and treat the water. This ultimately leads to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in our supply chain.

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Water: Reduction & Treatment 4:30

Energy

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions through supply chain energy efficiency measures

Our product lifecycle assessment work has confirmed that the majority of our energy use occurs in the production and manufacturing of the materials that make up our products. Through our partnership with bluesign technologies, The North Face is helping our partner textile mills and dye houses increase their energy efficiency, therefore reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, our supply chain partners are also saving money on their energy bills.

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Energy: Efficiency & Emissions 4:24

Chemicals

Eliminating harmful chemicals and reducing overall chemical use in textile production

Chemicals are required to achieve the performance properties and colors of technical outdoor apparel and gear and are not harmful to the environment if they are managed properly.
We partner with bluesign technologies to work with our fabric mills and dye houses to reduce the potential harmful environmental impacts of chemicals in three ways; by eliminating the use of hazardous chemicals, reducing overall chemical use through efficient management, and creating safer conditions for the workers.

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Chemicals: Selection & Optimization 4:54

Recycled Content

Reducing landfill waste and the use of virgin raw materials

Incorporating recycled materials into our products helps prevent the flow of waste to landfills and reduces the need to extract non-renewable petroleum resources from the earth. It also reduces the energy required during the manufacturing process. The next time you recycle a plastic bottle, you may be contributing to the fibers for the fleece in one of our jackets. The fleece in our solid color Denali jackets contains 87% recycled content which is comprised entirely of post-consumer waste plastic bottles.

In fact, our line of products using Polartec® recycled fleece kept over 49,000 plastic bottles from landfills in 2010. We are working hard to bring more recycled content into our fabrics, aiming for 30% across all apparel by 2015.

recycled content

Durability

Designing for a lifetime

Born of a love of climbing, The North Face first produced climbing equipment, where quality can literally mean life or death. This focus remained intact as we expanded to protect hikers, skiers, snowboarders, mountaineers, and other endurance athletes. While we continually seek ways to improve our environmental performance, we are also proud that our product design philosophy is grounded in the core sustainable attributes of durability and longevity.

We have always offered a lifetime warranty for our apparel and equipment with the goals of keeping products out of the landfill and reducing the need to purchase replacement goods. When products do come back to us, we repair as many as possible to prevent materials from ending up in a landfill. We have a staff of expert seamstresses and tailors whose average tenure with the company is 25 years.

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Philip Hamilton, VP, Global Product 2:43

Sustainable Innovation

Incorporating sustainability into our product innovation process

Innovation went hand-in-hand with environmental sustainability in the recent redevelopment of our Venture Jacket and Pants. We reduced the synthetic compounds in the membrane of our Venture line by 50% by incorporating castor oil, a renewable resource. The castor oil plant, sustainably grown throughout the tropics, produces a seed with an effective substitute for petroleum-derived materials in the waterproof membrane of our best-selling Venture product line.

The waterproof membrane is now made using our castor oil-based HyVent DT EC material and offers these benefits:
- Each new Venture Jacket contains 28 grams of standard waterproof coating, 50 percent of which is castor oil-based.
- The 2011 Venture product line eliminated more than 50,000 lbs. of petroleum-based materials.
- The castor oil substitution has improved the material’s technical performance.