Taking Inventory of Our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions
With 60,000+ associates in more than 1,600 locations around the planet, simply measuring our impact is a considerable undertaking. With this enormous first step completed, we have identified where our energy use and carbon impacts are greatest, and we are implementing strategies to reduce them.
Since 2009, we have measured GHG emissions in all VF-owned and leased facilities each year. Using the “operational control approach,” VF sets organizational boundaries to gather GHG information from locations and vehicles (leased and owned) where we have direct control. This approach is most reflective of our overall business operations, where we can influence decisions that impact GHG emissions. VF’s GHG inventory was compiled in accordance with the GHG Protocol, the most widely used international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify and manage GHG emissions, developed with the combined work of the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Supporting technical guidance for the US EPA Climate Leaders Program Design Principles (2008) and the Climate Registry General Reporting Protocol 2.0 added specific support for stationary and mobile combustion sources to the overall emissions inventory process.
In 2013, our GHG emissions for direct and indirect emissions totaled 1,449,581 Metric Tons of CO2, and we reduced 3,498 Metric Tons of CO2 due to emissions and energy reduction initiatives during that same year. We aggregate and analyze many types of facility metrics to identify the best opportunities to make the biggest reduction in energy use, while also identifying areas where renewable energy is a viable alternative.
The two greatest sources of our GHG emissions are generated from the use of electricity and natural gas at our owned and operated facilities, including our retail stores, distribution centers, manufacturing plants and global offices. These facilities, which emit over 250,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually and are considered as part of our direct operations, offer the clearest opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint. Reducing these emissions is our first focus.
Business air travel also contributes to our GHG profile. While this impact has been increasing steadily over the past few years on an absolute basis, it has stayed relatively flat on a per-employee basis. VF is a decentralized organization with many facilities and operations in local markets. Air travel remains a challenge to be addressed.
Because of the complexity and lack of direct control over our contracted factories, we do not presently measure the carbon footprint of every product in our contract supply chain. We have begun to evaluate the GHG impacts of our contracted factories and are working to increase awareness of carbon use in our supplier base, measures that will ultimately help us to further reduce energy consumption across our global production. The Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) of individual products across our brands have provided us with a window of insight into our energy use in this area and other carbon intensive sections of our value chain.
In 2013, we began collecting carbon footprint data related to the logistics and third-party transport of our products, from the final manufacturing site to our retail stores or wholesale suppliers. This data is helping us to identify opportunities for improvements, such as shifts to different transportation modes.
OUR ENERGY GOALS
Photovoltaic panels at our headquarters in Stabio, Switzerland.
Our long-term aspiration is to transition to renewable energy sources across VF. VF has set a new renewable energy goal to use 100 percent renewable energy at our owned and operated facilities by 2025.
1. Since 2009, we have reduced our direct greenhouse gas emissions by more than 12 percent in 2015 from a 2009 baseline, while growing revenue 75 percent in the same time period and the addition of approximately 400 more facilities. This goal will be achieved through carbon reduction targets in every part of our business:
• Retail: reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent/dollar of revenue
• Manufacturing: reduce carbon emissions by 10 percent/units produced
• Distribution Centers: reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent/units shipped
• Offices: reduce carbon emissions by 25 percent/full-time employee
2. All new, large-scale VF facilities to meet Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) or Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM) green building certification levels (Silver and Excellent or higher, respectively). Currently, our Alameda, California and Stabio, Switzerland facilities have achieved LEED Platinum certification; our Hackleburg, Alabama, distribution center (DC) has achieved LEED Gold certification; our Almelo, Netherlands, DC is BREEAM certified; and our new DCs in Belgium and China are also on track to meet LEED standards.
ENERGY AND CLIMATE ADVOCACY
While we are committed to lowering VF’s own carbon footprint, we know that is not enough. We recognize that the risks associated with climate change are real and pose a serious threat to our business and the communities we serve.
VF is an active member of Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), a coalition of businesses working with policy makers to accelerate meaningful energy and climate legislation. BICEP’s overall goal is to reduce U.S. GHG emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, with an interim goal of at least 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Through BICEP, VF participates in efforts to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy, increase investment in a clean energy economy and support climate change adaptation and forest preservation. VF, The North Face® brand and Timberland® brand are signatories of the BICEP Climate Declaration. Most recently, VF joined 128 companies and 49 investors in supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Carbon Pollution Standard.
"VF Corporation and its subsidiaries have set the gold standard for policy engagement by leading consumer companies. As a founding BICEP member, Timberland® demonstrated policy leadership backed up by stunning progress in its sustainability goals and true vision from the c-suite down. The North Face® quickly followed with a message that brought home the vulnerability of the outdoor industry to the impacts of global warming – a message it has taken to Capitol Hill, the Administration and to international climate negotiations. VF Corporation joined BICEP and signed the Climate Declaration in 2013, confirming the leadership of all the VF brands."
- Anne L. Kelly - Director, Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP) Policy Program, Ceres
As part of our advocacy efforts, VF and the Timberland® brand have also participated in the UN Summit on Climate Change and testified before Congress and government officials on energy and climate issues.
Representatives from VF and BICEP gathered for a meeting in Washington, D.C.