Sustainability remains a strong priority for retailers in 2017. Companies including VF Corporation, Aldi North, Aldi South and Downlite, are finding new ways to adapt their product and processes to become more responsible.
Endangered forests are a growing concern for many retailers, as resources become more scarce due to the depletion of natural resources. On Feb. 27, VF Corporation launched its first forest derived materials policy, which implements formal guidelines for VF’s purchasing preferences and use of environmentally-friendly forest materials in its supply chain.
With deforestation and forced labor on the rise, VF’s forestry policy aims to minimize these issues. The policy urges the use of recycled fiber products whenever possible, supports the incorporation of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified fibers and fosters third party forestry management certification systems.
VF also collaborated with many environmental NGOs, including Canopy, to promote more sustainable material sourcing for apparel products. The company currently promotes the CanopyStyle initiative, which aims to terminate the use of endangered forests in clothing production by the end of 2017.
“When an apparel giant like VF expands its forest commitment with a policy like this, it adds incredible momentum to global forest conservation and climate efforts,” Canopy executive director Nicole Rycroft said. “From hang tags, to packaging to fabrics, some of America’s favorite global brands are protecting the world’s forests and the species that call them home.”
Aldi North and Aldi South
Aldi North and Aldi South are working to minimize the chemical impact of their international supply chains. Both companies are collaborating with the Business Environmental Performance Initiative (BEPI), to boost supply chain sustainability.
As a Foreign Trade Association (FTA) initiative, BEPI works with supply chain partners to offer industry-wide standards, including those implemented by the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC), to avoid the use of harmful chemicals in factories. Aldi and its supply chain partners will have access to BEPI’s resources, including monitoring tools for 11 environmental performance areas, a sustainability data intelligence dashboard and development activities for supply chain staff.
By working together with BEPI, Aldi North and Aldi South will be able to fulfill their Greenpeace Detox commitment goals, including removing hazardous chemicals from their supply chains in the next three years.
Downlite’s apparel materials were recognized for their environmentally-friendly presence in the industry.
The responsibly-sourced feather supplier achieved the Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certification for its 100 percent recycled re/charged down. Downlite’s GRS certification was awarded by the Institute for Ethical and Environmental Certification (ICEA), a Textile Exchange accredited auditor in the industry.
With GRS certification, Downlite will join other industry leaders in promoting the use of reclaimed materials in supply chains and fostering transparency in apparel production and inform consumers about environmental impact.
Downlite’s re/charged down is sustainable and may be coupled with other performance enhancing technologies such as PFC-free DWR treatments and anti-microbial solutions. When produced, it reduces landfill waste and conserves water, making it a more greener material compared to other down fibers.
“We are very proud to see Downlite earn its GRS certification for 100-percent recycled down,” Textile Exchange Industry Integrity director Anne Gillespie said. “In addition to its huge support of the RDS standards since its inception, Downlite’s continual commitment to environmental, social, and animal welfare issues are a model for other organizations.”