VF Corp. has raised the bar for sustainability.
The Greensboro, North Carolina-based company, which owns outdoor lifestyle brands The North Face, Vans, Timberland and Wrangler, among others, reduced its global carbon emissions by 12 percent between 2011 and 2015—trouncing the 5 percent goal originally set for that five-year period.
Put another way, VF prevented more than 38,000 tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere in those years, the equivalent of the electricity needed to power 5,710 homes for one year.
Notably, the company managed to achieve that 12 percent reduction in carbon emissions while simultaneously increasing its global operations by 40 percent, driven mainly by retail store expansion.
“Surpassing our carbon reduction goal by such a large margin is further proof that VF is serious about sustainability and addressing the issue of climate change,” Eric Wiseman, VF’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “I’m extremely proud of the many individuals across VF whose actions—big and small—contributed to these exceptional results.”
VF’s carbon reduction efforts focus on four areas of its global business operations that use the most energy: 23 owned and operated production facilities; 35 distribution centers; more than 1,460 retail stores operated by VF and its brands; and roughly 250 offices and facilities used by VF and its brands.
Of those four, VF’s offices and facilities cut its carbon emissions by 30 percent—the highest percentage achieved—while its distribution centers lowered theirs by 25 percent.
Breaking down VF’s overall 12 percent reduction further, half resulted from increased use of clean energy, renewable energy credits and carbon offsets. The other 50 percent came from employee behavior changes regarding energy use, energy efficiency projects such as LED lighting in retail stores and technology upgrades in distribution centers and the construction of energy efficient facilities, some of which achieved LEED certification.
In addition, the company recently received a “B” letter grade (on an A to F scale) in the 2016 assessment of environmental performance and disclosure reporting by Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a global disclosure system for companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts and for investors or purchasers to access environmental information for use in financial decisions.
VF is now working toward its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy to power all owned and operated facilities globally by 2025—a commitment the company made in December 2015 when it joined the American Business Act on Climate Pledge.