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The North Face Expands Climate-Benefiting Cali Wool Collection

The North Face is upping its sustainability profile with an expanded climate conscious Cali Wool Collection.

Now, its line of Cali Wool goods includes a new jacket and scarf, in addition to the existing beanie that was recognized as a Fast Company World Changing Idea in 2018 for pioneering the use of Climate Beneficial wool.

Climate Beneficial wool, according to The North Face, is made using regenerative farming methods that have a net negative carbon impact on the environment at the ranching stage of production. The launch of the new collection on Wednesday builds on a legacy of climate action from the global outdoor retailer, said James Rogers, director of sustainability at The North Face.

Rogers noted that these carbon farming practices are expected to sequester 4,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, which is roughly equal to removing more than 800 passenger vehicles from the road a year.

Last year, The North Face introduced the Cali Wool beanie made with the Climate Beneficial wool, which works to build the health of the soil, removing carbon from the atmosphere, increasing soil fertility and improving its capacity to hold water.

To source the wool for the collection, The North Face works with Bare Ranch in California, which raises the wool, and Fibershed, which develops regional and regenerative fiber systems on behalf of independent working producers by expanding opportunities to implement carbon farming.

Rogers said the Cali Wool collection is part of the Backyard Project meant to make products as locally as possible. It also is part of a solution for The North Face’s goal of reducing the environmental impact of its supply chain and becoming more sustainable.

According to Fibershed, carbon farming practices can be measured and monitored for the enhancement of permanent soil carbon storage so that the material coming from these landscapes can be verified as climate beneficial. A research study showed that sheep grazed on compost-applied rangelands produced wool with a net carbon benefit, and that moving that net negative footprint wool through a regional and renewable energy powered supply chain would produce a garment with a negative CO2 footprint. Comparing conventional to Climate Beneficial production shows a carbon footprint differential of more than 150 pounds of CO2 per garment.

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“The North Face is obviously connected to the outdoors and we want to protect outdoor playground and our heritage of conserving the environment,” Rogers said. “The reality is that we outfit people so that they can go and enjoy the outdoors, there there’s an inherent connection to enjoying those places.”

At the same time, Rogers noted, The North Face consumers want to feel that they are participating in this effort by wearing clothes and using products that reduce the environmental impact.

“We would like to see these type of ranching practices move up in scale, and see other brands creating more demand and we’d love to see significantly more supply so that ranches see the value of providing these types of materials to the apparel industry,” he said.