VF Corp. is prioritizing animal welfare in its global operations and supply chain.
On Tuesday, the U.S. apparel tycoon published its first-ever Animal Derived Materials Policy and said its brands will no longer incorporate angora, fur or exotic leather in their products.
Developed in partnership with The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, the progressive new policy outlines prohibited animal materials and features formal guidelines for the procurement and use of approved materials by VF Corp.’s brands—which include Lee, Wrangler, The North Face, Timberland and Vans—and its global supply chain partners. At present, down, leather and wool are the animal-derived materials most used by VF Corp. and its brands.
Under the policy, VF Corp. will enforce humane practices throughout its supply chain and require animal-derived material (ADM) suppliers to submit signed agreements and proof of origin for all materials. Suppliers that don’t adhere to the new policy won’t be able to do business with VF Corp.
Collaboration is also a crucial component of the policy and VF Corp. will continue to work with relevant stakeholders to foster animal welfare. The company said it plans to replace ADMs and use more sustainable materials over the next several years.
“VF believes that all animals within the global commercial supply chain should be treated with care and respect,” said VF Corp.’s VP of global corporate sustainability Letitia Webster. “As we continue to promote the development of viable commercial substitutes to animal materials, this policy will help to ensure that the materials we use today are procured from sources that prioritize animal welfare and responsible business practices.”
The new policy follows VF Corp.’s recent animal welfare initiatives. Timberland, one of VF Corp.’s brands, joined forces with other footwear brands, retailers and tanneries to form the Leather Working Group, a multi-stakeholder group that evaluates the environmental compliance of leather manufacturers and promotes sustainable practices in the global leather industry. In 2014, VF Corp. brand The North Face announced its Responsible Down Standard (RDS), a global standard that enables brands to evaluate and certify their entire down supply chain. VF Corp. also supports programs that foster sustainable practices in the wool industry.
“We commend VF for committing to stop using fur and other animal materials in their products,” Human Society International VP Kitty Block said. “As a leader in the global apparel industry, VF’s policy sends an important message to the industry that animal suffering has no place in fashion.”