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VF Corp. Introduces Chemical Management Program with First Sustainability Report

VF Corp. debuted its new innovative chemical management program, CHEM-IQ, in conjunction with the release of its first Sustainability and Responsibility report on Monday.

CHEM-IQ was created with the help of third-party experts, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Modern Testing Services. The new program is described as a proactive, cost-effective and scalable method for identifying and eliminating potentially harmful chemicals before they enter the manufacturing process.

“We view this program as our jumping-off point – from here we will continue to evolve and improve our efforts to drive traceability, accountability and positive change,” VF noted. “CHEM-IQ will continuously raise the bar by eliminating the ‘worst’ 10 percent of chemicals (identified by hazardous composition and volume) used in our supply chain each year. Through CHEM-IQ, VF will improve and accelerate the use of safer chemicals across our portfolio of products and brands.”

In 2013, the company piloted the program at select factories in Turkey, Mexico and Los Angeles. In 2014, the program was introduced to all of its factory locations in China. VF has so far screened more than 1,000 chemicals from 102 factories and successfully eliminated 68 tons of non-preferred chemicals from its supply chain. VF expects CHEM-IQ to expand internationally in 2015.

The company’s Sustainability and Responsibility report helped highlight the environmental achievements made by VF and its brands, like The North Face and Timberland.

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Senior director of global sustainability for VF Letitia Webster, said, “Our first comprehensive Sustainability & Responsibility report is a milestone for VF and our brands. It’s an opportunity to highlight the great efforts our brands and teams have led for many years. Now, with a centralized, global reporting infrastructure in place, we turn our focus to enhanced alignment and collaboration across our company to minimize our environmental footprint and spark innovation, while more effectively sharing our progress with all stakeholders.”

The report revealed the company’s decreasing energy use. VF has set a goal of reducing its carbon emissions by 5 percent by 2015 and according to the report, the company is on its way. VF is also now powering 31 of its facilities in part with renewable energy.

VF Corp. brands have continued to develop sustainable products, producing more than 1,500 eco-friendly styles, which account for 10 percent of total product sales. The company has committed to using sustainable cotton for 3 percent of its total annual cotton sourced by 2015.

In 2013, more than 14,000 VF employees volunteered their time to aid others, while the company’s brands donated more than $10 million to global charitable causes.

VF was also involved in the development of the Higg Index, an assessment tool used to measure and evaluate the environmental sustainability of apparel and footwear products across the supply chain. Companies around the world now use the tool to better their facilities, brands and products.

The company shared that during the past two years, it has worked to develop a strong sustainability foundation to serve the its several brands. This has been achieved by incorporating data collection and creating sustainability scorecards to help measure the environmental impact and social actions of its almost 2,000 facilities. These efforts allow the company to measure current goals and also set future goals.

Chairman, president and CEO at VF Eric Wiseman, said,”At VF, sustainability is a key business platform that contributes to our global growth and helps us manage our operations responsibly. Our brands are working as ‘One VF’ to foster meaningful innovation around sustainability – from product design, to how we choose and manage our resources and materials, to the ways we support our associates and the communities in which we operate.”