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How Vans Will ‘Protect the Environment for Future Generations’

Vans became latest in a growing line of brands to outline its 2030 sustainability goals Tuesday.

The California skate brand said it designed the plan to align with the United Nation’s 12th Sustainable Development Goal: responsible consumption and production patterns. Commitments include carbon reduction targets, the elimination of single-use packaging and a shift to renewable energy.

“As a purpose-driven company that is engrained in youth culture, we are leveraging our commitment to creativity to seek new solutions that reimagine the lifecycle of our products and protect the environment for future generations,” Kim Matsoukas, Vans’ senior manager of sustainability, said in a statement. “While there’s more work for us to do, through our Vans family, partnerships with PUR Projet, Terra Genesis, and other leading environmental organizations, we’re proud to accomplish these goals by 2030 as we look to create a brighter future for our environment, our communities, and our planet.”

Vans’ roadmap calls for 100 percent of the brand’s “top materials” to be regenerative, responsibly sourced, renewable or recycled by 2030. In the nearer term, it plans to reduce the average impact of top materials by 35 percent, utilize 50 percent recycled polyester and source 100 percent sustainably grown cotton by 2025.

The brand also expects to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent compared to a 2017 baseline by 2030. To do this, it said, it will grow regenerative, recycled and responsibly sourced materials to 85 percent of its material mix, including by piloting and scaling regenerative practices on farms and ranches that produce rubber, cotton and leather; exploring bio-based alternatives; and converting virgin polyester to recycled sources.

While Vans’ 2030 carbon reduction strategy also calls for it to work with suppliers to implement renewable energy within its supply chain, the brand is targeting a complete switch to renewables at its owned and operated facilities even sooner—by 2025. This transition dates back to 2017, when the company installed a 1 MW solar array at its headquarters, achieving a LEED platinum certification.

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The skate brand also anticipates eliminating all single-use plastic packaging by 2025, including all plastic shopping bags at Vans retail spaces by the end of this year. Remaining packaging, it noted, will be minimized, originated from sustainable sources and designed for recyclability.

This segment of the strategy aligns with that of its parent company, VF Corp., which announced in February that all its brands would eliminate single-use plastic packaging by 2025. Before it reaches that point, VF said it plans for all single-use plastics in product packing to be 100 percent recycled, bio-based content or a combination of both by 2023. The conglomerate—which also includes brands like Timberland and The North Face—expects to shift all its paper-based packaging to recycled content—a minimum of 80 percent, where performance allows—third-party-certified virgin content or a combination of the two by 2023.