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.
Though cotton makes up a small percentage of our materials usage,
when we do use cotton, we try to source it responsibly for minimal
environmental impact and maximum social impact. When possible we use
organic cotton or try to source American cotton because U.S. cotton
farmers use some of the most advanced and efficient farming practices
in the industry. We also partner with the Better Cotton Initiative to
create a brighter future for cotton and the people whose livelihoods
depend on it.
Our product stewardship philosophy is based on creating products
that last a lifetime. We offer a lifetime
warranty 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.
Partnership with bluesign technologies
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
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.