Carbon Reduction

Business must lead the way on carbon reduction

2016 Carbon Emissions

Our new Sustainability & Responsibility Strategy, Made for Changefocuses on leveraging our scale to create and share transformative solutions across our value chain. One way we’re doing this is by taking deliberate actions to reduce our carbon footprint and help address climate change. We aim to decarbonize our business and help restore our planet’s ability to sequester more carbon through natural carbon sinks such as forests, farms and oceans.

Carbon dioxide is emitted at every stage of our operations, from our offices and factories to the fields where cotton and other raw materials are grown. To eliminate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in our owned and operated facilities, we are moving to source 100 percent of our electricity from renewable sources. Throughout our extended supply chain, we are working with suppliers to pursue various carbon reduction strategies and energy efficiency projects, and we are working with our materials suppliers to increase the use of more recycled materials.

Emissions from agricultural production (e.g., growing fiber crops, raising cattle) contribute significantly to the overall carbon impact of our business. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of the total release of GHGs worldwide. Because these activities fall outside the scope of our direct control, we are using collaborative partnerships to inform, develop and promote more sustainable practices and alternative methods to reduce emissions.

Our carbon reduction aspirations aim to continue our meaningful progress. By 2015, we had reduced our carbon footprint in owned and operated facilities by 12.5 percent compared to a 2009 baseline. And, we have committed to source 100 percent of the electricity used in our owned and operated facilities from renewable sources by 2025.

We have started the process of setting science-based emissions targets to contribute to the global Paris Climate Agreement to limit the global temperature rise to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. By combining the discipline and capabilities of our business mindset with the science-based targets that sustainability demands, we will show that big business can be successful financially and address some of society’s biggest challenges. Take a look at our Made for Change Strategy for more.

From 2009 - 2015, we reduced our carbon footprint 12% while adding 600 new sites to our portfolio.

VF Carbon Reduction

Carbon Reduction in Action

See how we use our scale and influence to reduce our carbon footprint.

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Impacts And Efforts

The primary focus in our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint is the efficient use of energy and the procurement of renewables, which have already led VF to achieve roughly $25 million in savings.

The efficient use of energy throughout our facilities, operations and transportation is the cornerstone of our strategy. We focus on: 

Green buildings

Our portfolio of more than 1,200 facilities worldwide accounts for a significant portion of VF’s GHG emissions. That’s why we have prioritized high sustainability standards at our own locations. Our carbon reduction achievement of 12.5 percent from 2009 to 2015 (surpassing our goal of 5 percent) was driven by the introduction of new lighting standards, improved HVAC systems and simple behavioral practices carried out by associates, such as closing large bay doors when not in use at distribution centers. Our Green Building Standards aim for LEED Platinum certification for all new VF or brand headquarters and LEED Gold certification for all new distribution centers. Take a look at our portfolio of green buildings and our integrated approach to energy management.

Transportation and logistics

VF transports more than 1.3 million units of product to market every day. We can achieve significant carbon reduction by moving these products more efficiently and sustainably. Since 2012, we have reduced our global air freight usage by approximately 25 percent. Today, 80 percent of all VF products are transported by ocean freight. We also continue to save thousands of transit miles annually by maximizing container utilization, which helps to reduce the number of trips required to ship our products, save fuel and trim GHG emissions.

With our own VF trucking fleet, we have lowered the allowed fleet speed limit, installed air shields on tractors, and required low-profile tires at all wheel positions. In 2016, we upgraded the entire trucking fleet that transports Jeanswear products from our facilities in Mexico to distribution centers throughout the U.S. This upgrade increased fuel efficiency by 6 percent and led to annual fuel savings of 113,000 gallons.

Our supply chain

Our Responsible Sourcing team is working with suppliers to adopt a more integrated approach to the responsible use of water, chemicals and energy. We collaborate with select contract suppliers to assist in the installation of energy efficient technologies in their facilities, and we work with others to embed an energy conservation mindset through continuous training programs and other educational resources. Here’s a snapshot of our recent work:

  • In 2016, we launched a partnership with Target Corporation and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to advance resource efficiency to save chemicals, water and energy at supplier factories in Vietnam. In the first phase, IFC completed assessments for energy and water efficiency at 38 of our strategic factories. These assessments helped us develop programs that reduce operating costs and improve productivity while contributing to the country’s green growth and climate change targets.
  • Thirty-eight of our 40 strategic factories in Vietnam are participating in the VF/IFC energy efficiency program, achieving an average energy reduction of 12 percent and enjoying a collective savings of more than $1.5 million annually.
  • In addition to our work in Vietnam, we have worked with 15 strategic supplier factories in Cambodia since 2016 to launch energy efficiency programs. Four of these factories have installed solar panels.
  • VF provided financial support to two strategic spinning mills in Bangladesh so they could join the Partnership for Cleaner Textiles (PACT), also an IFC program, to expand energy management and efficiency projects. In 2017, we announced additional funding to help another 30 of our strategic factories in Bangladesh to join PACT.
Expanding our use of renewable energy

We set a goal to power 100 percent of our owned and operated facilities’ electricity needs with renewable energy by 2025. As of 2016, we are sourcing 6 percent of our electricity from renewable sources, with the EMEA region leading at 42 percent. To reach our goal, we will continue to negotiate energy contracts that add more renewables into our energy sourcing strategy, and promote the development of renewable energy installations through power purchase agreements and/or capital investments.

For example, at the Vans® brand’s new headquarters in Costa Mesa, Calif., a 1 MW carport solar array system generates roughly 50 percent of its energy needs. The system will save millions of dollars and roughly 60,000 MTs of CO2e over its 20-plus-year lifespan. Similarly, the solar panel system at VF’s Outdoor headquarters in Alameda, Calif., provides close to 100 percent of its energy needs and often exceeds it, which allows VF to sell energy back to the grid.

These and other similar projects illustrate the positive impacts that moving to renewable energy can have for both our business and the environment.

Key Performance Data

24%

Reduction in carbon emission by VF's EMEA offices from 2009 to 2015

100%

Electricity that will be sourced from renewable energy sources in our owned and operated facilities by 2025

$1.5M

Annual savings reported by 38 suppliers in Vietnam due to 12% energy reduction