When it comes to reducing waste, doing it better often means doing it with less. It also means finding opportunities to reuse and give new purpose to recycled materials. We aspire to be a zero-waste to-landfill company.
VF has long viewed environmental waste as financial waste. Reducing it is part of our culture. For example, at our owned manufacturing facilities, we employ teams of engineers to find ways for us to use materials more efficiently. The initial pattern cutouts of our products, called “markers,” are regularly evaluated to ensure we use every possible inch of fabric. The percentage of unused waste material for markers in our owned manufacturing facilities is in the very low double digits, considerably lower than industry averages. Between 2010 and 2013, we were able to reduce our total owned manufacturing waste by 0.93 percent, from 12.84 to 11.91 percent.
To meaningfully reduce waste, we are finding new ways to apply that philosophy to every aspect of our business. We are exploring new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle in the methods used to design and prototype our products, the operations at our owned manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, retail stores and offices.
VF is continuously analyzing and refining our manufacturing processes to use the most of each material and further reduce waste.
We also take great care to reuse the materials needed to produce, distribute and sell our products. At many of our distribution centers, for instance, we reuse corrugated cardboard shipping boxes up to five times before they are recycled – helping to reduce both our environmental impact and our costs. We disposed 70,000 metric tons of waste in 2013, 60 percent (41,590 metric tons) of which were recycled. Hazardous and organic waste cumulatively made up approximately 1 percent of our waste disposal.
Additionally, many of our brands have developed post-consumer materials that look and perform similar to new materials. Examples of these design innovations include The North Face® brand’s popular Denali jacket, which is made with 100 percent recycled fleece, making the entire garment 87 percent recycled content, and products in the Timberland® brand’s Earthkeepers and Reef® Redemption lines that use recycled rubber and recycled Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) respectively.
Our brands are keenly focused on creating the most eco-friendly products in the industry.
Our desire for continual improvement motivates us to constantly evaluate and rethink our policies, procedures and processes to ensure that we are doing what’s best for our business, our consumers and our planet.