VF’s first sustainability and responsibility report highlights the work we are doing across our business platforms and brands to responsibly manage our business. This includes our careful use of resources such as energy, materials and water. It also includes some of the groundbreaking initiatives our brands are leading in sustainable product development – work that is shaping the future of the apparel and footwear industry. This website also introduces you to the people who are the source of our success – the people who work directly for VF and our brands and the people throughout our supply chain who we rely on to produce our products.
For the development of our sustainability and responsibility strategy and the creation of this website, VF partnered with many internal and external stakeholders to understand the social and environmental issues that matter most around the world. Our stakeholders’ input, together with what we’ve learned through detailed product lifecycle analyses and footprint audits, has helped us focus our efforts on where we can make the most significant favorable impact. This website represents the early stages of our journey.
We are pleased with our achievements in the following areas:
• Partnership with the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) – BCI is an important partner in our efforts to move towards more sustainable cotton and we have increased our sourcing every year since we started our partnership in 2012. In 2015 we sourced over 11% of our cotton from BCI.
• Energy efficiency initiatives – We are retrofitting our owned facilities with LED lighting and requiring all new offices and distribution centers to be LEED or BREEAM certified. These investments helped us reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 12 percent in 2015 from a 2009 baseline, while growing revenue 75 percent in the same time period.
• Sustainable products – Consumers expect more from their products. Our brands recognize that sustainability and responsibility must join fit, style, function, and price as part of the product equation to meet consumer expectations. From Reef’s® Redemption to Timberland’s® Earthkeepers, our brands are tackling the challenges that face our industry in creative ways. VF is focused on sharing these best practices and scaling them across the company.
• Responsible sourcing – One-third of VF’s products are manufactured in the 24 factories that we own around the world. In addition, we continue to invest in our innovative Third Way program, which enables us to share our manufacturing best practices and ensure worker safety through long-term strategic partnerships.
The scale and complexity of our global supply chain presents challenges that we are working to address.
In particular, we recognize our responsibility to stop and call out violations of human rights in the workplaces where our employees, or others, work on our behalf to produce the products we sell. This is especially true in countries such as Bangladesh, where building and fire safety codes and general working condition standards have resulted in unsafe work places. This cannot and will not be tolerated. As a founding member of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, we will support Bangladesh’s garment industry in its mission to instill a long-term, industry-wide culture that emphasizes worker health and safety. We will help make Bangladesh and other emerging markets around the world places to work where human rights are at the top of the must-do list.
We recognize that as our business grows, so does our responsibility to act as leaders in addressing our environmental and social footprint. Looking ahead, we will continue to implement corporate responsibility initiatives across our company on a scale that establishes sustainable improvements as the norm, not the exception. We will direct our resources and creativity toward the innovation of sustainable products and processes.
We hold ourselves to high standards at VF, and this includes operating as a responsible company. Our commitment is to make changes that continually improve our performance as well as the world around us. This website reports on our successes and challenges, as well as areas where we have a lot of work to do. This is a starting point, and we welcome your feedback in our efforts to continuously improve.
Eric C. Wiseman, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer