Sustainability & Responsibility
Dec 05, 2018

Protecting our planet

We’re using the power of our brands to build communities around our natural connections to the outdoors. These communities, when given direction and opportunity, rally people to protect our planet and, ultimately, cultivate lasting change. We’re taking action now, because tomorrow is too late.

Our brands celebrate the outdoors. They share our purpose but also a belief in the power of showing up and participating in events that spark real change. For example, the 2019 Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, the world's largest surf competition and lifestyle festival, not only utilized renewable energy to power both the contest and its webcast, but diverted waste from landfill, supported local community groups and charities, encouraged alternative transportation, and offset its carbon emissions. That’s an impressive list of actions—all of which have helped to protect the environment in Huntington Beach, where the event was held, while benefiting the local community and economy at the same time.

Other brands are doing exciting things to highlight planetary protection, too. For example, Icebreaker backed a 300-mile Pacific swim to bring attention to ocean pollution, and encouraged consumers to follow the journey. The North Face’s Explore Fund is supporting programs, such as Walls are Meant For Climbing, which provides free, public climbing boulders within city parks to make climbing more accessible in communities across the U.S.

Connecting people & planet

We’re not only striving to protect wild places and public spaces, but we’re connecting people and communities with their planet—from mountaintops to city parks. By reconnecting people with the places they care about, we are able to create a powerful catalyst for change. We strive to make the outdoors welcoming for everyone, regardless of their background, physical capabilities, and personal choices. Sometimes, this means bringing the outdoors to people, as Timberland is doing by involving consumers in “urban greening” projects such as tree planting and garden making. Other times, it means bringing people to the outdoors, just as The North Face does by mounting expeditions or sending social media influencers to the Arctic to highlight drilling activities. It can even be as simple as teaching young kids the joy of getting outside.

Eagle Creek are taking an even bolder stance. With a staggering 700,000,000 paid vacation days going unused by American workers each year, the travel brand is asking people to convert those unused hours into travel days, and even encouraging people to quit their job. Why? Research shows that immersing yourself in another culture improves creativity and productivity, while boosting immunity, health, and happiness.

Actions are important, but values matter too, and this is where transparency fits in. We’ve made transparency a priority, as it provides consumers with confidence regarding where their products are manufactured, how they are made, and the materials they are made with. By the end of 2021, we plan to publish maps of the supply chain journeys of more than 100 brand products.

Pulling together for the planet

We can do a lot through our brands, but we can do so much more if we work together with others to amplify our impact.

Togetherness is also the common factor in our advocacy partnerships, through which our brands co-create products that benefit people and planet. Eastpak has created products that help fund Designers Against Aids, Smartwool is selling socks that support Protect Our Winters and SOS Outreach, and Timberland has relaunched its iconic Earthkeeper® boot, made solely from recycled or earth-friendly materials.

We’re also advocating from the top down for the benefit of our planet. Together with our brands we have supported the permanent reauthorization of the Land Water Conservation Fund in the USA, which preserves natural areas, cultural and historic landmarks, and outdoor recreational opportunities in all 50 states. Meanwhile, as part of the Business Coalition for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, we’re advocating for US Congress to support the US Department of Labor in improving working conditions, raising living standards, protecting the ability of workers to exercise their rights, and addressing the workplace exploitation of children and other vulnerable populations. 

Similarly, VF advocates for strong climate action at the state, national, and international levels and continues to engage thought leaders, stakeholders, and elected officials on the benefits of renewable energy, the need to curb emissions, and the importance of the Paris Climate Agreement.

At VF, we believe change comes from the ground up. That’s why we’re inspiring people to connect with their surroundings, working with local and global partners to amplify awareness around our planet, and empowering our consumers to become part of the solution.

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