We’re committed to improving the environmental performance of our products through materials and manufacturing innovations. As we work to increase our usage of recycled fabric, especially recycled polyester, we provide a market solution for a growing problem - used water and soda bottles. Reusing materials already in existence helps us reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. In addition, recycled polyester has a lower impact on air and water resources than virgin polyester.
We try to concentrate our efforts on high volume products and materials. You can find recycled polyester in some of our core products like the Glacier ¼ Zips and our iconic Denali Jacket.
Our product stewardship philosophy is based on creating products that last a lifetime. We offer a lifetime guarantee for our apparel and equipment with the goals of keeping products out of the landfill, reducing the need to purchase replacement goods and minimizing environmental impact.
When products do come back to us, we repair as many as possible to extend their life. Our warranty staff has an average tenure with the company of 25 years. They have seen just about everything we have made and are extremely creative in devising solutions. We have been around long enough that we’re starting to see third-generation “hand-me-downs” sent in for repair.
Our warranty and repair department handles items returned by customers as well as anything that may have been damaged during transport or stocking. Our first goal is to repair products to a “like new” standard and to get them back into the hands of our customers, our outlet stores, or to our donation partners. We sort through the remaining items that we are unable to fix and repurpose as much as we can. Finally, whatever cannot be reused or recycled is downcycled. Our stewardship also extends back into our supply chain where we find the highest possible use for any defective or overstock materials.
We are committed to creating products that safeguard the environment but it is particularly challenging to do so when it comes to delivering the high-performance products that our customers expect.
Some of the chemicals we use to impart performance characteristics like water, stain and oil repellency contain PFCs (perfluorinated compounds). For the last few years we’ve been working to replace these Durable Water Repellency (DWR) chemicals with environmentally preferable options. You can read updates about our responsible chemistry progress on our blog, Never Stop Exploring.
We share our standards for chemical safety with all of our suppliers and maintain a Restricted Substance List (RSL) that identifies chemical substances that are restricted from our products for regulatory, safety and/or environmental reasons. We also help our suppliers identify environmentally preferable chemicals.
Companies across the outdoor equipment and apparel industries share many of the same chemicals challenges. Spurred by our belief in the power of collaboration to develop solutions, we work closely with our industry peers as members of the Outdoor Industry Association’s (OIA) Chemical Management Working Group (CMWG). The group focuses on establishing shared approaches and tools for chemicals assessment and management.
We partner with the industry-leading experts at bluesign technologies to help our mills reduce their impact by using water and energy more efficiently and by addressing harmful chemicals used on fabrics. The bluesign® system provides a sophisticated, independent approach to reducing supply chain impacts in five key areas: resource productivity; air emissions; worker health and safety; water emissions; and consumer safety.
We encourage our supply chain partners to engage voluntarily with the bluesign® system. After an extensive audit, bluesign® experts provide each participating fabric mill with a detailed, individualized assessment that gives them insight into how to optimize their energy and water use per kilogram of fabric. The five years of program data below demonstrate a significant increase in efficiency at mills engaged in the program.
Through our parent company VF Corporation’s global supply chain and compliance structure, we audit new suppliers to ensure that they meet our standards and we inspect all of our direct suppliers at least annually. In addition to social compliance, our conventional factory audit also addresses environmental concerns. We expect our manufacturing facilities to meet all applicable laws and regulations and to employ procedures that minimize air emissions, waste, energy and water use, and other significant environmental risks.
For information on our social compliance program, see Social Responsibility.