Behind the Scenes of Our Strategy

Our journey to create our new Sustainability & Responsibility Strategy, Made for Change, began with a question: What will it take to move our business – and the industry – forward in a sustainable way while addressing a changing marketplace of evolving consumer preferences, shifting social pressures and urgent environmental constraints?

After two years of assessments, workshops, stakeholder engagement, trends analyses and consumer research, we outlined a new approach for how we manage sustainability at VF: creating value by making change happen. We identified three focus areas where we believe change is most urgently needed in our industry and where we can leverage our scale and influence to tip the balance toward creating business, social and environmental value:

  1. Linear to Circular: Transforming from linear to circular business models;
  2. Scale for Good: Using our scale to address our industry’s three biggest areas of impact – climate change, worker well-being and materials; and
  3. Movement Makers: Empowering our associates and consumers to participate in movements that help to drive change in the marketplace.

Here’s a look how we created Made for Change.

Measuring our impacts

Understanding how our business impacts workers, communities and the environment was a critical first step in informing the parameters of Made for Change. We conducted comprehensive business and environmental risk assessments and studied the inputs and impacts of operating our business and making our products. The insights collected led to the prioritization of three areas: workers, climate and materials. We recognize there are many other issues requiring our attention and we plan to continue to advance our actions against those issues over time. However, the three priority areas represent the most pressing issues for our business and industry today, and they present tremendous opportunities for us to use our scale to unlock transformative solutions for change.

Greenhouse gas emissions of our top materials by spend (kg MTCO2E)

Mapping future trends

Even the smallest trends can gain momentum over time and turn into forces of change that transform the marketplace. Our industry is constantly influenced by trends - large and small - that shape the direction of the market and sway consumers' shopping behaviors. Three trends in particular stood out from our research:

  • Conscious consumption: In a resource-constrained world with an ever-growing population, there is a growing contempt for mass consumption. Many young consumers prefer to own less “stuff” than their parents. They want smaller houses and material footprints, which simply means buying less.
  • Sharing economy: The desire to possess less is influencing a rising preference for access over ownership. Consumers are rethinking the products they need and are willing to spend their money only on those items that provide a sense of purpose and enable them to participate in meaningful, enriching experiences.
  • Commitment to sustainability: Consumers today expect brands to go beyond measuring their success solely by profit and align their behaviors with socioeconomic and environmental realities. Consumers want to associate with brands that have a positive impact on society.

VF Consumer Insights

We conduct in-depth consumer research to help us understand what our consumers expect from our brands and products. The insights we collect offer an important window into how our consumers are shifting the expectations they have of our brands as their social, economic and environmental realities change. We continually see that consumers want to purchase products and engage with brands that align with their personal values. They don’t want to trade performance, style or price for sustainability; they want it all. Many also acknowledge the challenge of finding sustainable products to meet their needs. This presents a unique opportunity to create sustainable products that all consumers can access across multiple price points.

Stakeholder engagement

We continually engage with external, nonprofit stakeholders to inform our strategy and programs. We are actively working with multiple organizations including the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and the Retail Industry Leaders Associations’ Retail Sustainability Initiative (RILA and RSI) as well as local and international nonprofits and governments.

We partnered with these organizations and others on our 2017 materiality assessment. Through this process, we received confirmation from both internal and external stakeholders that our sustainability strategy is addressing the issues they believe are of greatest concern.

  • Climate action
  • Ethical labor practices and workplace health and safety
  • Energy reduction and energy efficiency
  • Waste generated in manufacturing
  • Water use in textile and manufacturing
  • Ensuring consumer safety of products and materials

Materiality Matrix

Memberships & Organizations We Support