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VF Corp. Announces Sweeping Supply Chain Sustainability Plans

VF Corp. announced a new global sustainability and responsibility strategy on Monday called Made for Change, outlining the company’s aspirations for advancing environmental and social improvements across its business, portfolio of brands, global supply chain and communities worldwide.

Among its new goals and targets, VF has committed to reducing its global environmental footprint by 50 percent, from farm to front door, by 2030, and to measurably improve the lives of 1 million garment industry workers and local community members by 2025. In addition, the company has committed to a 35 percent reduction in the average environmental impact of key materials used to make its products for brands that include Vans, The North Face, Timberland, Wrangler and Lee.

“Respect for people and the planet has long been a guiding principle for VF, especially during the past decade as we’ve taken meaningful steps to embed environmental and socially responsible programs throughout every aspect of our global business,” said Steve Rendle, VF’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We are accelerating our actions at VF by combining our relentless focus on innovation and operational excellence with responsible business practices to drive meaningful and lasting changes.”

VF’s Made for Change strategy centers on three focus areas the company will pursue with clear action plans: circularity, scale and movement.

The first its focuses will be “Circular Business Models,” which are fueled by a belief that the linear system of production–take, make, use, waste–is not sustainable for a planet with a growing population and limited resources. VF will pursue the commercialization of circular business models to continually reduce its environmental impact while creating new growth opportunities. This work will include a focus on branded rental and re-commerce business strategies for its brands, in addition to emphasizing products that are designed to have a second life.

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The second focus is “Scale for Good,” which the company said will leverage its global scale and influence to drive meaningful changes across the industry. This includes dramatically reducing the impact of materials used to manufacture its products such as water and cotton, and decarbonizing across its supply chain to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally, VF will continue to take actions that ensure safe working conditions at its contract supplier factories and benefit factory workers and their communities including access to clean water and sanitation, health and nutrition initiatives, and childcare and education.

The third focus area is “Movement Makers,” in which VF and its brands will unite to serve as a catalyst for global movements that help more people pursue active lifestyles and access sustainable and responsibly sourced products. VF will support these efforts with strategic investments, targeted advocacy, philanthropic gifts and collaboration with public and private sector partners.

VF noted that it has a proven history of operating with the highest environmental, social and ethical standards. In 2016, the company was named to Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens List, which recognizes U.S. public companies with standout corporate responsibility performance, and was named a 2017 World’s Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices.

Headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, VF is one of the world’s largest apparel, footwear and accessories companies with socially and environmentally responsible operations spanning numerous geographies, product categories and distribution channels. Last month, VF reported that revenue in the third quarter increased 5 percent to $3.5 billion, as net income fell 23 percent to $386.76 million.