Q&A with Eric Wiseman, VF’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
“Integrating more sustainable and responsible practices into our business practices will make us an even stronger company for generations to come.”
Q: What are the primary sustainability challenges for VF and its industry?
A: How do we simultaneously advance technology, quality and sustainable materials, all while ensuring the workers making our products and the communities where we operate are treated fairly and with respect? That question speaks to the challenge our entire industry faces as we strive to embed sustainability into our products and processes. We must work together and leverage our influence to meaningfully improve workers’ lives.
Q: How has sustainability evolved at VF?
A: From the beginning, we agreed we needed to focus primarily on building the foundational infrastructure to support a world-class sustainability platform. I am proud to say we have many of the building blocks in place – from strong governance programs to an enterprise-wide data management system to measure and track our progress. With the launch of this report, we are now moving into the second phase of our approach, which is really about making the positive impact we know VF has the potential to do. Additionally, I am equally impressed with the level of passion our associates have to do the right thing by integrating more sustainable and responsible practices into our business practices to make us an even stronger company for generations to come.
Q: How are you scaling sustainable business practices across VF’s brands?
A: Sustainability is one of our five business platforms. We apply the same rigor and business discipline used to run our business to sustainability. We are pooling the independent efforts taking place across our business and creating a single platform where we can share sustainability resources, capabilities and best practices. With this more focused approach, we are able to leverage our scale to introduce more sustainable materials and processes more efficiently and quickly. Additionally, we are establishing enterprise-wide goals and have an executive-level committee to oversee progress. This approach enables us to truly integrate sustainability into the way VF does business.
Q: What do you hope VF’s sustainability platform will look like a decade from now?
A: Our customers and consumers care deeply about how their products are made. As we share our 110 plus years of responsible and sustainable manufacturing practices from our owned facilities with our sourced partners, and as we scale best practices across our brands, we have the opportunity to bring functional, stylish and sustainable products to our broad consumer base. In this way we can truly help to shape the future of the apparel and footwear industry, sustainably.
Q: You have a personal passion for sustainability. Who or what has inspired this passion?
A: As a kid, I was an active Boy Scout. Like all Scouts, we spent a considerable amount of time outdoors – exploring, hiking and camping – you name it. Through these adventures, I cultivated a deep love and respect for the outdoors. As CEO of VF, I am energized by our groundbreaking products that inspire and enable our consumers to get outdoors, and for our dedication to sustainable practices that help to protect the environment for future generations.