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Making Cotton More Sustainable

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Making Cotton More Sustainable

April 13, 2017

Cotton is an integral material comprising much of the apparel consumers wear today. As one of the largest apparel companies in the world, VF uses about 1 percent of the world’s entire cotton yield annually to produce its apparel and footwear.  

This scale of cotton use, combined with its focus on environmental responsibility, is what led VF to collaborate with the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) and other organizations to ensure the improved sustainability of cotton and to fulfill future generations’ demand.

VF joined BCI as a fast-track member in 2012 and is today one of the largest Better Cotton sourcing businesses in the world. Since joining BCI, VF has invested to increase the supply of sustainable cotton.  At the end of 2016, approximately 13 percent of VF’s cotton was sourced as “Better Cotton.” The partnership helps make global cotton production better for the people who produce it and the environment in which it grows.

“As a leader in the apparel industry, we have a responsibility to take a leading role in moving our industry toward sustainable practices,” said Brad van Voorhees, Senior Manager, VF Global Responsible Sourcing. “But more importantly, we can make a measurable impact on farmers across the globe by improving their quality of life.” 

The company’s long-term goal is to use 100 percent sustainably grown cotton in its brands — a goal VF brands have embraced and started working to achieve. 

The Timberland® brand, for example, plans to use 100 percent sustainable cotton in its products as soon as this year.

In addition, the Wrangler® brand last year launched a sustainable cotton pilot project with approximately 20 cotton farmers in North Carolina. By 2020, the brand aims to leverage collaborative training and improvement programs for our cotton farmers to enhance the sustainability of our fiber supply.

More information about VF’s sustainability efforts is available here.