Today, VF Corporation, the US' largest fashion conglomerate - parent company of lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories brands including Timberland, The North Face, Lee and Wrangler – released its first-ever Forest Derived Materials Policy, which sets formal guidelines for the company’s purchasing preferences and use of sustainable forest materials and products.
“Deforestation and forest degradation continues to be a global issue affecting climate change and human rights,” said Letitia Webster, VF’s VP of Global Corporate Sustainability. “This policy provides clear guidance across our many purchasing categories and it enables us to play our part in protecting the world’s forests.”
VF’s forestry policy aims to avoid the issues associated with deforestation and forest degradation, including the loss of ancient and endangered forests, loss of biodiversity and habitat, use of forced labor in making forestry products and loss of indigenous peoples and local community rights.
The policy emphasizes the use of products made with recycled fiber whenever possible. Also, it promotes the use of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper and fiber, while striving to elevate all third-party forestry management certification systems.
The policy strengthens VF’s broader efforts to use responsibly sourced materials throughout its global operations and supply chain. The company also developed and adheres to existing policies for the purchase and use of Conflict Minerals, Cotton Country of Origin, and Animal Derived Materials, in addition to a Restricted Substances List for its chemical management program.
VF partnered with a number of NGOs and external stakeholders, including Canopy, a Canadian not-for-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting forests, species and climate. With its new policy, VF Corp joins global brands including Stella McCartney, Levi Strauss & Co., Marks & Spencer, EILEEN FISHER, Quiksilver and over 60 other brands and producers supporting the CanopyStyle initiative, which aims to eliminate the use of ancient and endangered forests in the production of forest derived fabrics such as rayon and viscose from the apparel and fashion industries by the end of 2017.
“When an apparel giant like VF expands its forest commitment with a policy like this, it adds incredible momentum to global forest conservation and climate efforts,” said Nicole Rycroft, Executive Director of Canopy. “From hang tags, to packaging to fabrics, some of America’s favorite global brands are protecting the world’s forests and the species that call them home.”