As a company with a significant global footprint, VF is dedicated to mitigating its impact on the environment. Expanding world populations and increasing demand are creating strains on natural resources. The earth's ability to absorb the waste created by its seven billion inhabitants is deteriorating. At VF, we recognize our responsibility to help ensure the long-term health of the earth, now and for future generations. It is not only a social and environmental responsibility, but a business responsibility. And we have established goals and strategies to continually measure and reduce our impact.
Our immediate focus areas comprise three categories: energy, waste and water. We know we need to be careful stewards of the water we consume and release back into the environment, to minimize our waste to landfills, use renewable energy when possible, and to use only the energy necessary to operate our business. By being mindful of our resource use, we will improve our business while contributing to the vibrancy of local communities.
We are educating our associates in these areas and engaging them in ways they can make a difference. Additionally, we are beginning to systematically measure our resource use in each of these areas to benchmark where we are currently and to set reduction goals.
Brands such as The North Face® are working hard to improve the material footprint of their products through, for example, increased use of the independent bluesign® standard in product manufacturing. And our newest VF brand, Timberland®, is rapidly expanding its environmentally-conscious Earthkeepers® line – and improving the environmental footprint of the facilities where these products are made.
As a global corporation, we are still in the growing stages of our sustainability journey, but we have much to be proud of and build upon. Environmental sustainability is fundamental to our success as a corporation and to our role as a global citizen. VF’s commitment to learn and scale best practices from across our brands and throughout our internal manufacturing processes is unwavering. We look forward to embracing the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead as we build value for our business and help create a better world for future generations.
Energy and Green House Gases
Our long-term aspiration is to operate with optimum energy efficiency while continuously working to minimize our carbon footprint globally.
In May of 2011, VF completed its second greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory, with a base year of 2009. This initiative measured emissions for onsite fuel combustion, transport fuel combustion, refrigerants, and purchased energy from over 1,100 locations and operations, as well as emissions from corporately booked business air travel. Based on the results, VF is in the process of identifying carbon reduction opportunities and targets in addition to developing a comprehensive carbon management strategy. Using 2009 as our baseline and the learnings achieved through our 2010 GHG inventory, we expect to establish and communicate long-term GHG and energy reduction targets in 2012.
Internal manufacturing accounts for 37 percent of our corporate energy footprint. Apparel manufacturing is energy intensive. However, we continually analyze energy consumption within our internal manufacturing facilities and are implementing a variety of projects to help reduce energy use. Examples include the installation of more efficient lighting and HVAC systems, lighting sensors, variable speed controllers, proper insulation and timers. For transportation management, we're pursuing over-the-road fuel savings through speed governors, better tire choices and enhanced vehicle aerodynamics for our trucking fleet. We embrace these and other opportunities to reduce our energy footprint.
We believe that environmental waste equals financial waste. Our ultimate goal is to send zero waste to landfills. We constantly explore new ways to minimize or eliminate waste in the product design process. From setting goals around our marker efficiencies to reducing the volume of paper and shopping bags in our retail stores, we are creating "win-win" solutions for both the environment and our bottom line.
Not only do we focus on our operations, but we encourage our associates to reduce waste wherever they work. Many of our brand offices have recycling and composting programs in place. For example, The North Face® office has reduced its waste to landfills by more than 30 percent since launching a recycling effort in 2009.
Water use is heavy in apparel and footwear manufacturing, from growing fibers to washing, treating and dyeing fabrics. We are collaborating with our brands as well as the industry to develop solutions to reduce our water use.
In our owned manufacturing facilities we manage water use with intense discipline. Improved plumbing fixtures and sensors, the adjustment of optimal water pressure, the use of indigenous landscaping and responsible irrigation techniques, and the minimization of water for internal laundries' wash formulas are all contributing to improved conservation.
Another demonstration of our commitment to sustainable water practices is through a partnership between Nautica and Oceana®, a global non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the world's oceans. In addition to helping protect a resource emblematic of the brand and a connection point with its consumers, this partnership helps motivate and educate every Nautica associate to make sustainable water usage part of his or her everyday responsibilities.