Scale For Good

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Our industry has changed the world.
Now it’s time to change our industry.

As our world evolves, our industry needs to evolve with it. Traditional thinking says the bigger the business, the greater its negative impact. We’re turning that on its head to challenge ourselves - and prove to the world - that big can be positive. By using our scale to be a force for good in the world, we can amplify the amount of shared-value for our stakeholders.

Scale for Good is about using our size and influence to lead the transformation our industry needs. We will bring the full force of VF to bear on three of our industry’s biggest challenges – climate change, materials and worker well-being.

Scale for Good includes three priority workstreams:

  1. Climate change: We will decarbonize our value chain in line with climate science guidance;
  2. Key materials: We will dramatically reduce the impact of our key materials so we can continue making high-performance apparel and footwear in a resource-constrained future; and
  3. Worker well-being: We will ensure that no worker has to risk their dignity, health or life to work in the apparel supply chain, and we will empower them to pursue better lives for themselves and their families. This will help us secure a thriving, productive workforce for the future.

Confronting these challenges will demand the discipline and capabilities of our business mindset, the ingenuity of our brand teams and the creativity of our innovation engine. And in doing this work, we will prove that there is more value in solving climate change than contributing to it, in respecting human rights than ignoring them and in protecting the environment than destroying it. 

Our goal is to improve the lives of 1 million workers and halve our environmental footprint.

Key Priorities

Climate Change

At VF, we’re climate optimists because we believe we can be part of the solution. It will take bold, concerted action to get there, but many of the technologies necessary to slow rising global temperatures exist today and the roadmap is clear. Inspired by the work of Professor Johan Rockstrom of the Stockholm Resilience Institute, we’re pursuing three climate work streams that will enable us to meet our goal of halving our carbon footprint by 2030: 

Our Approach to Climate Change

  1. Deep Decarbonization: If we are to achieve the progress outlined by climate science, between now and 2030 we must remove carbon from the global economy – also known as “deep decarbonization.” At VF, we’ve set a goal to power all our owned and operated facilities with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025. We’re setting science-based targets that put us on a path to decarbonize our value chain from the farms where our materials originate to the consumers front door. We’ll focus our effort where we have the highest impact and the greatest opportunity to drive change: increasing energy efficiency and shifting to renewable energy.
  2. Natural Carbon Sinks: Our planet already knows how to manage carbon. In a normal functioning carbon cycle, forests, agriculture, oceans and soils keep carbon in balance by capturing and storing it in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, we are out of balance. That’s why we are investing in the creation and restoration of natural carbon sinks. Already we have a strong heritage of funding reforestation and conservation projects and working to conserve public lands and forests. And our Wrangler® brand is piloting cutting edge sustainable cotton practices aimed at transforming our cotton supply chains into carbon sinks. As we learn from our actions, we’ll scale best practices across the industry and with other agriculture sectors.
  3. New Human Carbon Systems: Our approach to climate is inspired by the same commitment to innovation that fuels our business. We are always exploring new materials that drive quality and performance, and are in the early stages of exploring new innovative sources for those raw materials. This work is unlikely to contribute to our short-term emissions goals, but the long-term potential is compelling.

Key Materials

The materials that go into our products make up anywhere from half to as much as 90 percent of our environmental impact.

Over the past decade, VF and our brands have played a significant role in advancing the sustainability of materials across the apparel and footwear industries. Notably, much of our work has been on driving transparency around the impacts of different materials in collaboration with industry coalitions and peers.

We will continue this path by being one of the first apparel and footwear companies to use the new standardized industry measurement tool, the Material Sustainability Index (MSI). We will use the MSI as a guide to help us improve the average impact of our key materials by 35 percent by 2025. It’s a first step toward what we hope will become a way to standardize and compare impacts across our industry.

Our long-term goal is to share this information with consumers and make sustainability information for apparel as accessible and easy to understand as a nutrition label for food. The next phase of our work will focus on using our scale to inform more sustainable material choices across our brands and the industry. In tandem, we will work to embed transparency and data into the heart of materials decision-making industry-wide.

Worker Well-being

The apparel supply chain supports tens of millions of jobs worldwide. In fact, more than one million people work in the VF supply chain alone. Through those jobs, we can be a powerful force for good by empowering workers and their families to pursue a better life and by contributing to thriving communities and economies. In turn, our business depends on access to talented workers and stable markets.

Our worker well-being ambition is clear: to ensure each job in our supply chain improves the lives of our workers. This means ensuring safety becomes a given in every factory, that respect for human rights is universal, and that we create positive impact in the communities where we source our products through worker and community well-being programs.

Our goal is to improve the lives of 1 million workers by 2025.

Building on our strong foundation of supporting workers, this work will focus in three areas:

  • Human rights: We have always prioritized human rights in our supply chain, but there is more we can do. In 2016, we began a comprehensive human rights risk assessment to better understand where we can have the most systemic impact. We also responded to the inaugural Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB), which enabled us to fully assess all our programs and understand our strengths and areas for improvement. To address the most salient issues, we started working with SHIFT, the leading center of expertise on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In collaboration with SHIFT, we will develop a focused plan to address the most relevant human rights challenges in our apparel and footwear supply chain. We will communicate more about our approach and release our findings in 2018.
  • Safety: Safety is non-negotiable at VF. We have learned a lot from the safety-related incidents at factories in Bangladesh and are doing everything we can to prevent future occurrences. We’ve made meaningful progress as a member of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety in Bangladesh and in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Vietnam and Cambodia on institutionalizing safety procedures. In other emerging economies, such as countries throughout Africa, we are working with local governments to develop policies that emphasize treating all workers ethically and providing safe working environments.
  • Sustainable communities: Our sustainable communities effort is about helping the workers in our extended supply chain live better lives because of their connection to VF. In 2014, we developed the Sustainable Living Environments (SLE) program to measurably improve the lives of workers outside the factory walls and within their communities. The programs, which have ranged from creating mobile medical clinics to daycare centers, are developed after we conduct on-the-ground worker assessments in partnership with our suppliers. In less than three years we have launched six SLE programs, helping to improve 15,000 lives. Going forward, we will expand these programs across the much needed areas of: access to water and sanitation, childcare and education, and, health and nutrition.

Collaborating with our contract suppliers is essential on this journey. We will continue to strengthen our relationships with them and deploy programs designed to improve their operations, support and safeguard workers, and enhance their local communities.