To focus our resources toward the issues most significant to our business, VF conducted a materiality assessment to identify our impacts, risks and opportunities.
Conducting a materiality assessment helped us to mold our sustainability priorities.
VF is a large company comprised of many brands across multiple geographies. To help us focus our efforts toward the areas and issues that have the greatest impact, we conducted a materiality assessment. The processes and inputs that guided our assessment follow. We:
• Analyzed peer sustainability reports, recent industry news coverage, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3.1 Guidelines and the GRI Apparel & Footwear Pilot Sector Supplement to create a list of potential material issues.
• Quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed the list of potential material issues:
• Implemented a formal survey asking internal and external VF stakeholders to rank sustainability issues based on each issue’s importance to them and impact on VF’s business; and
• Conducted a series of interviews and meetings with key stakeholders who have a deep understanding of our business and its impacts – including Ceres, Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production, National Resources Defense Council, Social Accountability International and Boston Common Asset Management– to identify the issues that matter most to our industry and society.
• Completed Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) across our business to document our carbon, water and waste footprints.
Based on this information, we ranked issues along the following criteria:
• Significance to society:
• Level of stakeholder concern; and
• Relevance to the industry.
• Importance to VF:
• Potential financial impact; and
• Potential reputational risk.
The issues and their urgency were then categorized as low, medium or high based on the survey results and rankings. While all of the issues we mapped are important, the assessment exercise is helping us to shape our sustainability and responsibility priorities, strategy and reporting for maximum positive impact.
This website provides transparency into the sustainability and responsibility issues and focus areas we have determined to be the most relevant to VF. Further, the website provides insight into our goals for improving performance and reports our progress against those goals. We have categorized the issues and areas deemed material to VF into the following topics:
1. Sustainable governance: Corporate policies and accountability of VF leadership;
2. Ethical labor practices in VF and supplier factories: Wages, environmental health & safety, worker engagement and collective bargaining;
3. Product innovation: Our ability to shape the future by delivering groundbreaking, sustainable products and services that fit our consumers’ lives;
4. Sustainable materials: Use of recycled, renewable, organic and/or sustainable materials in our products;
5. Responsible sourcing: A supply chain upholding traceability, transparency and the highest ethical standards;
6. Disposal of toxic chemicals: Use and/or disposal practices of toxic or harmful chemicals in manufacturing processes (for example, dyes and softeners);
7. Availability and cost of natural resources: Energy, cotton, rubber and water;
8. Customer satisfaction: Retail customer (store and buyer) satisfaction regarding our ability to meet their growing sustainability expectations;
9. Consumer satisfaction: Consumer satisfaction regarding factors such as alignment of brand with personal values and growing expectations for more sustainable options.