The North Face® designs and delivers an extensive line of high performance outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear. We push the boundaries of innovation with our technically advanced products - so that our consumers and athletes can push the boundaries of exploration. Named for the coldest, most unforgiving side of northern hemisphere mountains, we help explorers reach Himalayan summits as well as discover adventure in their own backyards. Our vision is to enable exploration. We partner with world-class athletes and organizations to inspire, motivate, and facilitate outdoor recreation.

Headquartered in San Leandro, California, our products are sold in more than 70 countries around the world. We distribute our goods through 106 of our own retail, outlet, and partnership stores while also selling through specialty outdoor and sporting goods shops, department stores, and online.

As a brand steeped in a heritage of outdoor play, our commitment to sustainability comes from a desire to protect the natural places we love and from our concern about the effects of climate change on our communities and the places we play. We have challenged ourselves to push sustainability initiatives through our products, our operations, and our supply chain with a holistic focus on both social and environmental efforts. The talent, creativity, passion, and professionalism of our 2,080 employees across the globe are the catalysts of our success.

Sustainability Program

Key Performance Indicators

*Our 2011 collections are determined in 2010 so we are able to report 2011 product data in this report.

Focus Areas
We created our sustainability strategy by identifying where we have the greatest environmental impacts and by focusing our efforts in these areas. The first four areas below form the pillars of our sustainability work.

As our most significant environmental impacts occur during the manufacturing of our products, we concentrate our efforts on addressing our supply chain. We focus on resource efficiency, material selection and developing innovative design solutions.
As a company built upon outdoor exploration, we are deeply concerned about the impacts of climate change. Our climate change strategy propels us to understand and engage others on the issue, measure our greenhouse gas emissions, reduce our impacts, offset what we cannot reduce and advocate for forward-looking policies.
On any expedition, leaving no trace starts with using durable materials and reusing and repurposing as much as possible. In keeping with this philosophy, we are committed to eliminating waste and inefficiencies in our operations, manufacturing, packaging, and day-to-day activities.
Being a responsible business means serving the larger community and enriching people's lives in a way that draws upon our company's passions and capabilities. Our sense of community extends far beyond the walls of our offices to encompass our associates, suppliers, consumers, our industry, our communities and organizations that share our interests.

"At The North Face®, we truly believe that less is more. Designing high quality, durable products that last a lifetime is at the core of our approach to sustainability. This requires fewer resources, creates less waste and limits our impact on the planet. We are also constantly working to develop more sustainable materials and manufacturing processes. The real evolution of product sustainability lies in innovation; we take the same dedication and innovative thinking we put toward product performance and apply it to environmental responsibility" - Philip Hamilton, Vice-President of Product


Our rapidly growing engagement with bluesign technologies is the cornerstone of our efforts to drive improvements in our supply chain. The bluesign® standard is a rigorous, independent system to ensure that factories address harmful chemicals at the fabric level and meet demanding requirements for consumer and worker safety, efficient resource use and environmental protection. The bluesign® system also requires that mills meet the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), the European REACH (Registration, Evaluation, and Authorisation of Chemicals) protocols and all other relevant requirements.

We have aggressive goals for increasing the percentage of bluesign® approved materials we develop each season and aim to convert 65% of our fabric to bluesign® approval by 2015. Our approach has always been to prioritize our high volume fabrics and our largest suppliers to create the greatest and most immediate impact.


In addition to working with our primary suppliers, we aggressively worked to influence additional supply chain partners to engage with the bluesign® system in 2010. These included trim, synthetic insulation, down insulation, buckles, cording, webbing, and seam tape companies. Next, we will work to bring our thread, label, footwear, and equipment materials partners into the bluesign® system.

bluesign® Savings
While the data gathered from bluesign® technologies' work with textile mills is confidential, we have an agreement that gives us aggregated data from our bluesign® screened suppliers. This allows us to track the impact of the program from year to year. We are extremely proud of the environmental savings we have realized as a result of implementing this system – a testament to our strategy of identifying and addressing our biggest impacts first.

Supply Chain Environmental Savings for Our Products

2010 and 2011*

*Our 2011 collections are finalized in 2010 and thus this data can be included in our 2010 report.
** Conversion factors per U.S. DOE and U.S. EPA
**** Average tanker truck volume = 500 gallons


Sourcing with the bluesign® standard

*Note that 2011 collections are finalized in 2010 and thus this data can be included in our 2010 report.

Castor oil into jackets. Our Venture jacket is a great illustration of innovation going hand-in-hand with environmental sustainability. We reduced the synthetic compounds in the membrane of our Venture product line by 50% by incorporating castor oil, a renewable resource. The castor bean plant, widely grown throughout the tropics, produces oil from its seeds that provides an effective substitute for half of the petroleum-derived materials in the waterproof membrane of our best-selling Venture product line.

Redesigned in 2010 to debut in our Spring 2011 collection, the waterproof membrane is now made using our castor oil-based HyVent DT EC material and offers these benefits:
  • Each new Venture Jacket contains 28 grams of standard waterproof coating, 50% of which is castor oil-based.
  • The 2011 Venture product line will eliminate more than 50,000 lbs. of petroleum-based materials.

Recycled Content
Despite cost pressures that affected recycled polyester in 2009 and 2010, we have goals to increase the volume of the recycled content in each Fall and Spring product season and to bring recycled content into a broader range of materials, focusing on our highest volume products.

Here's a look at how one of our most iconic styles, the Denali fleece jacket, continues to evolve as we introduce improvements each year. In 2010, the fleece in our solid color Denali jacket was comprised of 87% recycled content Polartec® 300 series fleece. The recycled content was derived from 90% post-industrial waste and 10% post-consumer waste. The entire 2010 Denali product line:
  • • Diverted almost 42,000 plastic bottles from the solid waste stream.
  • • Saved over 500 gallons of gasoline.
The fleece in our 2011 solid color Denali jackets contains 87% recycled content which is comprised of 100% post-consumer waste. For our 2012 collection, the fleece in our solid color Denali line will consist of 100% recycled content and will be constructed entirely from post-consumer recycled fibers. We will use an average of 58.5 plastic bottles to create the polyester fibers for each men's Denali jacket while each women's jacket will incorporate approximately 47 plastic bottles.

While footwear currently represents a small part of our business, the various materials and processes involved in the construction of our shoes and boots bring unique sustainability challenges. We consider a variety of issues including incorporating recycled content, responsibly sourcing renewable materials such as leather, and eliminating potentially harmful chemicals. Our biggest achievement in 2010 was completely eliminating polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in this category. We had used PVC in the straps of our men's and women's Slippy flip-flops and in some microinjection labels but were able to substitute rubber for both of these applications. Our footwear meets the following standards:
  • • 100% PVC-free.
  • • 100% recycled PET.
    • • This means that all of the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) polyester in our footwear is recycled. Our popular Nuptse boots feature 100% recycled PET ripstop material uppers and trim.
  • • 100% British Leather Corporation (BLC)-approved leather.
    • • While only a small amount of our footwear is made with leather, leather tanning is a chemical-intensive process demanding strict environmental oversight. All of our leather is audited by the BLC (leather testing experts) against the environmental auditing protocol of the industry-leading Leather Working Group (LWG) and must achieve a silver level or higher.

Renewable Materials
In our quest for more environmentally responsible materials and processes, we constantly evaluate renewable alternatives to virgin synthetic materials. We consider wool and cotton and other traditional renewable materials as well as bio-based raw ingredients such as the castor oil used in our Venture jackets and pants. While the majority of our products are made from synthetic materials due to technical performance requirements, we still have a responsibility to address the impacts of our use of cotton and other renewable materials.

Rising cotton prices presented sourcing challenges in 2010 and early 2011. We are currently reevaluating our approach to cotton fabric sourcing to improve the overall sustainability attributes rather than focusing exclusively on increasing our organic cotton usage. Through our Sustainable Materials Landscape project, we will examine a variety of sustainable sourcing alternatives that will not be limited to organic cotton. We are also engaging VF's corporate sustainability team and know-how from other VF brands that use significantly more cotton to determine a comprehensive strategy.

In facing raw material price spikes or supply constraints, The North Face benefits by being part of VF Corporation's world-class sourcing structure. VF's sourcing organization encompasses offices in over 20 countries and over 600 people dedicated to overseas sourcing management. This allows us to research opportunities, manage supply disruptions, leverage pricing and supply concessions, and ensure that our strict sourcing standards are upheld.

Cotton Use





Total Cotton (thousand units)




Organic Cotton (thousand units)




% Organic of Total Cotton Units




*Note that 2011 collections are finalized in 2010 and thus this data can be included in our 2010 report.

Design Tools
We need to provide our product design, development, materials and sourcing teams with cutting-edge tools to allow them to evaluate sustainability considerations in the earliest phases of the design process before inferior choices are deeply embedded. We use our internal Product Rating Tool as well as the results of the life cycle assessment (LCA) studies we completed in 2010 to guide the design process. We are also actively participating with other outdoor and apparel peer companies to develop the Outdoor Industry Association Eco Index, an environmental assessment tool that will define sustainable products for our industry.

Life Cycle Assessments: In 2010, we conducted LCA studies in our outerwear, equipment and footwear categories to better understand the environmental hot spots that present the best opportunities for improvement. This holistic process evaluates the effects a product has on multiple environmental endpoints throughout its life cycle from material production all the way through end-of-life. The examination of our Surge backpack, Plasma Thermal jacket, and Hedgehog shoe confirmed that our biggest environmental impacts occur in the materials production and manufacturing stages of the product life cycle. This validated our strategy of working with bluesign technologies in our supply chain.


Global Warming Potential impact during material production and manufacturing

• Plasma Thermal Jacket – 64%
• Hedgehog Shoe – 75%
• Surge Backpack – 85%

Focusing on issues regarding water, energy use and global warming potential, the LCA studies identified six key strategies for achieving the greatest sustainability improvements in our products:

• Decrease product material.
• Select lower impact materials.
• Reduce impacts of dyeing.
• Improve performance of Tier 1 Suppliers.
• Improve retail resource efficiency.
• Minimize washing and drying requirements during consumer use.

Sustainable Materials Landscape
All material choices come with trade-offs. Organic cotton can be water-intensive, readily available bamboo requires a chemically-intensive process to turn it into usable fibers, and using merino wool raises questions about animal welfare. To help our designers make informed choices, we are developing an interactive "Sustainable Materials Landscape" tool for all VF brands to use. It will provide the environmental profile for a wide range of materials used in our industry. Work began in 2010 and will be completed in 2011.

Internal Product Rating Tool and TNF Sustainability Goals
In 2009, we developed our internal Product Rating Tool with binary metrics for bluesign® approved, recycled and organic content. Every product style gets a "yes" or "no" based on whether they meet the thresholds established for each parameter. No credit is given for recycled content, for example, until a 50% threshold is reached. Our Action Sports Product team recently designed cycling shorts with only 49% recycled content – then worked to redesign them until they achieved the 50% threshold. We set the bar for these metrics higher each season.

Outdoor Industry Association Eco Index
No company alone can create groundbreaking change across the industry's supply chain. That's why we joined with over 200 companies globally to advance sustainability in the outdoor industry by collaborating to develop the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Eco Index. This pioneering environmental assessment tool provides companies with a way to measure and benchmark their products' environmental footprints and identify areas for improvement. The tool informs product design and sourcing decisions addressing the entire length of the supply chain. The framework is broken into product life cycle phases and covers seven critical impact areas: water, waste, biodiversity, energy use/greenhouse gas emissions, land use intensity, and chemistry/toxicity regarding both people and the environment.

The Eco Index was spearheaded by the OIA Eco Working Group and the European Outdoor Group (EOG) Sustainability Working Group, which TNF EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) chaired from its inception in 2008 until spring, 2011. The non-profit organization Zero Waste Alliance was also a valuable partner.

The North Face piloted the beta version of the Eco Index in 2010 for three different products (Men's Paramount Peak Pants, Men's Short Sleeve Easy Tee, and 100 Glacier 1/4 Zip). Our designers found the framework and content to be robust and helpful in focusing attention on opportunities for improvement they had not considered before.

The Eco Index has caught the eye of others in the apparel industry outside of the outdoor sector, was recently combined with Nike's Material Assessment Tool to create a comprehensive product sustainability evaluation tool for the apparel industry under the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC). VF joined the SAC in mid-2010, piloting a number of programs across its brands in 2011 to test the SAC's version of the upgraded tool.

Durable Products
"Sustainable consumption starts by consuming less. At The North Face, we focus on building product that lasts a lifetime so that our consumers buy fewer products over time, thereby reducing impacts on the environment. We find that The North Face can actually be profitable, while driving a very strong sustainability message." – Philip Hamilton, VP, Global Product

"We repair as much as we can and, above all, prevent materials from ending up in a landfill. When an item comes back damaged, the first thing we try to do is fix it. We have a staff of expert seamstresses and tailors whose average tenure with the company is 25 years. They have seen or touched just about everything we have made and are extremely creative solution providers. Anything we can't repair, we generally scavenge for usable parts. We have drawers of zippers and buttons and fabric pieces in all colors.

First, we try to get products back into the sales chain and then donate as many of the remaining items as we can. From 2010 through the first half of 2011, we donated more than 56,000 units to organizations such as Clothes4Souls and to emergency relief situations such as the Haiti earthquake.


We sort through the remaining items that we are unable to fix and recycle as much as we can. Finally, whatever can't be recycled is incinerated at a waste-to-energy plant. We believe strongly in responsible disposal and feel good every time we avoid throwing something away.

As our sales grow, the volume of goods that may require repair keeps pace and it is getting harder to keep up. As fabrics become more technical and cutting-edge, it is more difficult to repair them and sometimes requires new technology such as fabric welding tools. We are currently developing a plan to ensure that our approach to repairs meets the latest advances in product materials and construction." - Director of Quality, Rick Griffin
2010 Repair/Donation Program

Our passion for the outdoors inspires us to preserve the well-being of our planet. We believe that few issues affect The North Face as deeply as climate change. Our athletes, customers and employees return from expeditions with stories of receding glaciers, decimated forests, unprecedented drought, and a natural world that is changing visibly. This has energized our efforts to minimize our environmental impact and to protect the earth for future generations. Our climate change strategy is to:

Understanding Climate Change
An Athlete's Perspective

Conrad Anker, Alpinist and The North Face® Athlete, specializes in climbing the most technically challenging terrain on earth. His expeditions have brought him to high altitude and high latitude regions of the world where the effects of climate change are the most severe.

"As a high altitude climber, I have seen the effects of a warmer climate first hand. Routes established as glacial climbs have melted out, such as the British route on the Ogre, Karakorum. Glaciers have receded leaving swaths of debris in their wake - the Gangotri Glacier in India. Peaks such as Mont Blanc in the Alps which were held together by permafrost are melting.

Glacial recession is the most obvious physical manifestation of how increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is changing our planet. Glaciers, scenic and breathtaking as they are, serve a very practical purpose for humans. They are natural repositories of water. Mountain glaciers release stored water during the summer months ensuring a steady source of water for downstream populations. The Himalaya will be affected by a warmer climate in the coming century. As its 5,000 glaciers melt, the rivers that source in the mountains will cease to be perennial and become seasonal. This prognosis is of deep concern to the one-fifth of the world's population that receives water from the Himalaya.

The North Face is committed to reducing its carbon footprint. From the solar installation at the Visalia, CA distribution center to the energy saving practices in our textile mills, we are constantly looking for ways to reduce our impact. It is more than 'doing the right thing' – it is our brand heritage."


Everest Ice Survey
The effects of a warming climate – shrinking polar ice caps, receding Himalayan glaciers, and thawing permafrost are occurring most dramatically in some of the most inaccessible places on earth. Through time-lapse photography, the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) is bringing visual evidence of the ongoing retreat of glaciers and ice sheets to a wide audience. The EIS has 28 cameras monitoring 16 glaciers in the world's most extensive ground-based photographic glacier study. In the spring of 2010, we extended our support of EIS by joining forces with Conrad Anker, one of our global athletes, to take this effort to an iconic landscape by installing five time-lapse cameras that will survey the Khumbu and Nare Glaciers at Mount Everest.

"Our mission is to communicate the immediacy and reality of climate change via an engaging art form. Normally, climate change is presented with charts and statistics and remains fairly abstract for most people. We need to convey the climate change story in a tangible, visual form. There is a tremendous 'wow' factor when people see the massive Khumbu glacier churning down a valley. Instead of a static mountainside, time-lapse imagery allows people to see the glacier as a living, breathing organism. By merging art and science, the pictures touch us powerfully. That wakes people up – even climate change skeptics.

Connecting with The North Face and with Conrad Anker has injected tremendous energy into our project. Working with an engaged and enthusiastic partner of Conrad's stature and having support from the North Face in gaining access to a broad, new audience have been fantastic. We are also grateful for financial support from The North Face for the construction of these specialized cameras and their deployment to these remote locations."
- James Balog, award-winning environmental photojournalist and Director of the Extreme Ice Survey

Measuring Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Goals and Progress
Tracking our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions helps us understand our impacts and develop a strategy for reducing our footprint. By investing in renewable energy and energy-efficiency measures, we have been able to decrease the emissions from our U.S. operations over 9% from 2008-2010. We are on track to meet our five-year goal of a 25% reduction in emissions from U.S. operations by 2013. While this goal is normalized per unit of product sold, we are also working to reduce our absolute GHG emissions and to develop a broader program focus.

GHG Inventory
At The North Face, the greenhouse gases we add to the atmosphere come almost exclusively from our energy use. This includes the energy involved in processing raw materials, manufacturing, and transporting our products, as well as the energy we use to heat and cool our facilities. Business travel and commuting contribute additional energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.


For reporting years 2007 - 2009, The North Face reported U.S. GHG emissions to the EPA Climate Leaders Program. We are reporting U.S. 2010 emissions related to our GHG goal through this GRI Report. We follow the greenhouse gas protocol developed by the World Resources Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WRI/WBCSD) which includes:

  • Direct emissions (Scope One): This includes on-site energy production, natural gas usage, and fuel for vehicle fleets. We report this for our U.S. operations; additional data is included in the VF CDP report.
  • Indirect emissions (Scope Two): Purchased electricity, steam or heat. This is included in the U.S. operations data above.
  • Other indirect emissions (Scope Three): This category is broad and considered optional by the WRI/WBCSD. We track U.S. business travel and employee commuting for the purposes of determining opportunities for reductions and the emission amounts we offset but do not include these categories in our CDP reporting.

VF Corporation measured and reported its global greenhouse gas emissions – including those of The North Face – for the first time in 2010, covering 2009. VF was commended by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) for its sound approach to climate change reporting and was featured in CDP's Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index. This index highlights the companies within the S&P 500 Index that have displayed the most professional approach to corporate governance regarding climate change disclosure practices. See VF's CDP reports for 2009 and 2010 emissions here.

As most of our operations outside of North America are located in facilities with other VF brands, the process of identifying the portion of the VF greenhouse gas emissions attributable to specific brands is complicated. We are developing a methodology to address this and will launch a new global data management tool in 2012. This will help us further standardize our GHG emissions reduction initiatives, data collection and reporting.

The 9.3% reduction in GHG emissions from U.S. operations from 2008 - 2010 is just shy of the interim 10% reduction target that would ensure steady progress toward our 2013 goal of a 25% decrease. A closer look at the data helps us determine where we can focus our efforts to enable us to meet or exceed this goal.

U.S. CO2e Emissions per Thousand Units Sold







2008–2010: 9.3% decrease in emissions per thousand units sold

Reducing our Footprint
We seek to reduce GHG emissions wherever possible, from our supply chain to the transport of our products, in business travel and from the energy used in our facilities. We take the same approach in addressing emissions that we use in developing more sustainable materials for our products, focusing on strategies that make the biggest difference.

Supply Chain Emissions
Our life cycle assessment studies confirmed that the majority of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with our products' life cycles occurs during the materials manufacturing phase. As we work with dozens of factories on a contract basis, we do not track or report this information as part of our global greenhouse gas inventory. It is difficult for a given factory that works with many brands to track the energy used only during the days of our production runs and on the specific machines where our materials are being produced. Instead, we are working with the bluesign® standard to revolutionize our suppliers' energy consumption. This is a key priority for us. In 2010, our initiative led some of our largest suppliers to achieve a reduction of 3,281 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacturing of our materials. This is equivalent to taking 643 cars off the road for a year.

Advocating Policy Change

We have been equipping pioneer athletes for expeditions that explore the boundaries of our natural world for 45 years. This gives us a long-term view of our business and of our environmental priorities. Reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions can only take us so far in protecting our natural world; we need to move faster and reach farther. As outdoor enthusiasts and as leaders within the business community, we must add our voices to those who are pushing for meaningful energy and climate legislation. Partnering with the forward-looking companies in the Ceres Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) coalition gives us an effective vehicle for advocating for progressive climate change policies.

BICEP member companies include Nike, Gap Inc., eBay, Seventh Generation, and Target. These businesses believe that climate change will affect all sectors in the economy and that policies are needed to support energy efficiency, renewable energy and investment in a clean energy economy. BICEP brings the business community and policy makers together to ensure that diverse business perspectives inform the debate about climate change policies.

Just as with any expedition we undertake, our goal is to leave no trace. On any expedition, carrying less waste out starts with bringing less in, using durable materials, and reusing and repurposing as much as possible. In keeping with this philosophy, we are committed to eliminating waste and inefficiencies in our operations, manufacturing, packaging, and in our day-to-day activities.

Reducing Office Waste
Fostering a Culture of Sustainability.
Office waste contributes modestly to our brand's overall environmental footprint. However, it's an area where we can make a big difference while also engaging our associates and fostering a culture of sustainability within our organization.

Our European office's Sustainability Task Force has had some great successes in making the office greener. Although our European associates moved from Italy to Switzerland to join the VF European headquarters in 2010, many of these initiatives will continue:

  • • Sustainability Speaker Series.
  • • Water filter systems throughout office instead of water coolers and bottles.
  • • Recycling islands replaced desk-side waste bins in 2009.
  • • GOOS (good-on-one side) paper containers next to all printers for re-use.
  • • Two-sided printing as default on all black and white printers.

Saving Paper
Saving Paper in Our Workbooks
As part of a transition to eco-friendly marketing materials, we have redesigned our product workbooks each year to improve their environmental profile. Our seasonal workbooks give buyers key information on every single one of our products. As the number of our styles has grown, reducing workbook size has been a challenge. Here are the key milestones on our trail to paperless workbooks:

2007: Workbooks consisted of mixed-paper sources (covers: 30% post-consumer waste/text: 100% post-consumer waste), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified, soy-based ink, with workbook sets placed in binders. Workbooks were mass-ordered, resulting in excess workbooks.

2008: Workbook production transitioned to 100% recycled, FSC-certified paper with 100% post-consumer waste and soy-based ink. Binders were replaced with 100% recycled cardboard carrying cases. We also reduced quantities by 10,000.

2009: Workbook production moved from Canada to U.S. reducing carbon footprint while maintaining other environmental features. We reduced quantities by 36,000.

2010: Workbook production continued as in previous year. A digital workbook was introduced as part of our plan to reach our target of zero printed workbooks in 2015.

2011: Pilot testing three digital workbooks.

2012: Plan to roll out full set of digital workbooks and reduce printed workbooks by 11% or 13,000 workbooks.

2015 goal: Replace all paper workbooks with digital alternative.

Workbook Metrics and Savings*


CY 2007**

CY 2008

CY 2009

CY 2010

Quantity Printed





Page Count





Total Pages

118 million

114.4 million

102.6 million

115.6 million






Waste (lbs.)





CO2 emissions (lbs.)





Water (gallons)





*Savings calculations are based on size and weight of paper stock used in each workbook and compare 100% post-consumer recycled paper to 100% virgin paper. The eco-audit calculator used to measure 2010 savings is at

**The workbooks for each calendar year (CY) cover the following year's collections.

Reusing Factory Waste
The apparel industry generates a tremendous amount of waste; about 15% of all fabric purchased ends up on the factory floor. Much of it is landfilled. Fabric mills sometimes find a market for some of the scrap – but the waste material is not used for its highest purpose of making apparel. We are looking for new ways to minimize or eliminate waste during the design process to prevent this problem in the first place.

In 2010, we began experimenting with putting some of this waste scrap back into the product manufacturing process. We piloted a scrap blend for our stretch-woven fabric with 10-15% scrap fabric and plan to continue to pursue this.

Consumers may not realize how much packaging is associated with the goods they purchase. In addition to the product and display packaging visible to consumers, shipping and protective packaging is used to wrap the final product and any parts that are delivered prior to assembly. Multiple packaging points mean multiple opportunities for environmental savings.

Planning is underway for a major redesign of our packaging in 2013. The North Face has adopted the Outdoor Industry Association's Sustainable Packaging Design Principles & Guidelines, a valuable tool to guide our overall packaging strategy. The Guidelines stress reducing packaging, as well as using sustainable, recyclable and recycled materials. Our parent company VF Corporation has also started to place greater emphasis on packaging, and established a VF Packaging Task Force in 2011 to work on specific reduction opportunities.

Apparel manufacturing is a water-intensive industry with tremendous amounts of water used to grow fibers, wash, treat and dye fabric. We need to work as a brand and as an industry to develop solutions to address the projected increases in water scarcity that will occur alongside expected population growth. We are encouraging our suppliers to work with the bluesign® system to reduce their environmental impacts. In 2010, we reduced the water usage in our textile production by 79.4 million liters (21 million gallons) through our partnership with bluesign technologies.

At an April, 2011 stakeholder feedback session, stakeholders recommended that we examine water use and discharge by analyzing our operations against a global, water-stressed area mapping tool such as the one the World Business Council of Sustainable Development created. This is an area where we plan to develop a detailed strategy.

"We are firmly committed to our strategy of helping bluesign technologies expand into more factories to raise standard practices for the whole industry as well as our own suppliers" says Sustainability Manager Adam Mott. "But we need to go beyond this to incorporate a strategy for identifying our operations and suppliers in water-scarce regions and developing a more comprehensive solution." This video describes our work to address both water and wastewater in our supply chain.

At The North Face, our sense of community extends far beyond the walls of our offices. We strive to ensure that the workers in our supply chain are treated fairly and that our employees are fully engaged in their jobs. We support the communities where we work and play and we partner with many organizations that share our mission to enable exploration.

Outdoor Participation
"Providing access to the outdoors is at the heart of our business," explains The North Face President Todd Spaletto. "We believe in the virtuous cycle--a simple concept based on the idea that if you get people outdoors, they will love that experience. The more they come back, the more they grow to care about protecting our natural playgrounds and living healthy active lives."

The Explore Fund
In 2010, The North Face announced the Explore Fund, a $250,000 grant program to fund non-profit, community-based organizations that work to help children discover nature's playground.
  • • Our estimated reach in 2010 was 85,000 youth, and we anticipate a similar outcome for 2011.
  • • In 2010, we distributed $250,000 to 89 organizations to fund 103 projects. The same level of funding will be provided in 2011, as well as an additional $100,000 for the program's expansion into Canada ( and 87,500 euros ($118,000 USD) for the Explore Fund in six countries in Europe (


Sponsored Races and Events
We also enable exploration through the many events we design, produce, support and sponsor across the globe. In 2010, we welcomed hundreds of thousands of participants to global events that we owned or sponsored. These ranged from people climbing in New York City's Central Park to runners entering their first 50-mile race. Our goal is to have these events have a more meaningful and lasting impression for the participant.

We build sustainability into each of these events by striving to create low impact events that "leave no trace." In 2010, thousands of runners participated in The North Face® Endurance Challenge races at five locations across the United States where we:
  • • Organized carpooling support for participants.
  • • Promoted reusable water bottle usage; eliminated single-serve plastic water bottles at the Finish Festival; and limited the distribution of disposable cups.
  • • Offered participants the opportunity to purchase offset certificates for the carbon emissions of their travel to and from the race through the Race Green program.
  • • Provided information about these sustainability features to participants.
  • • The 2009 series was named "Best Green Race Series" by Trail Runner magazine.

Our many other global events provide opportunities for athletes to challenge themselves in running races, climbing, mountain biking and snow sports. From ultra-endurance slogs to short distances and kids' races, participants challenge themselves to push and exceed their personal limits. The global reach of some of our legendary endurance running races includes:
  • • Canada: The Canadian Death Race features 17,000 feet of elevation change in 125 km on the way to the finish in Grande Cache, Alberta. It's a challenging all-or-nothing race - if you finish it under the cut-off time, you've won! A 5K kid's race is also included. 2010 marked the race's tenth anniversary.
  • • China: The North Face® 100 Beijing is the ultimate 100K trail running challenge in China.
  • • Chile: The Ultra Maratón de Los Andes in Santiago offers 80K, 21K, 10K and 5K categories at the foot of the Andes Mountains.
  • • France: Considered the world's toughest running race, The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc boasts a grueling 166K course with 9,400 meters of elevation gain through three European countries. In 2010, the race was cancelled three hours after the start due to inclement weather. Organizers created an alternative 100K race – the UTMB Restart.
  • • Australia: The North Face® 100 in New South Wales, Australia is staged in the heart of Blue Mountains National Park.

Giving Back
We depend on a vast web of people, places and institutions to support our business and to extend our mission. Our corporate philanthropy provides a tangible means for us to give back to the communities we touch and to support the organizations that share our vision. Our giving priorities are an extension of our brand identity; we focus on giving to programs that enable people to participate in outdoor activities and that protect the natural world. We also encourage our athletes to give back to the people in the areas where their expeditions are based.

The North Face has established specific funding vehicles such as The Explore Fund and Explore Your Parks that extend our outdoor participation missions. We provide important support to additional outdoor and conservation organizations through membership fees and through donations. We highlight some of the key organizations we support below:


The Conservation Alliance: Funded by the outdoor industry, The Conservation Alliance raises annual contributions from outdoor companies and directs those funds to grassroots, conservation organizations to support their efforts to protect wild places for their habitat and recreation values. The North Face helped to found the Conservation Alliance in 1989 and donates annually. In 2008, we helped to develop and have contributed one million dollars over four years to the Legacy Fund, a campaign to raise an endowment to provide a permanent source of operational funding for the organization.

The European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA). The North Face is one of over 60 businesses in the European outdoor industry that supports conservation projects worldwide through this association. Every Association member can nominate up to three projects every year for grants of up to €30,000. The EOCA employs a rigorous screening process to ensure that grants support the most effective conservation organizations. Created in 2006 in the mold of the successful Conservation Alliance in the United States, the EOCA has provided important assistance to over 30 projects including the establishment of an environmental trail in Nepal, clean-up operations on a mountain peak in Kyrgyzstan, the protection of brown bears in northern Spain, replanting of native 'virgin' forest in the Czech Republic, and the creation of a trans-boundary hiking trail in Macedonia and Albania.

Khumbu Climbing School. The North Face® Athlete Peter Athans explains the importance of this school in the Himalayan Mountains where so many of our athletes have travelled and volunteered:

"Most of my expeditions have taken place in Nepal or the southern foothills of Everest, so the native climbers I am most familiar with are of Sherpa ethnicity. They are renowned for their remarkable physiology at high altitude - but it is also their psychology of persistence, a perspective tied to their Buddhist practice, that is perhaps the true source of their strength.

The physical landscape of Everest is hallowed ground as the residence of the mother goddess of all humans. The mountain is also sacred and important to the Sherpa because of the sacrifice of human life they have endured in accidents on the mountain assisting foreign and other Nepalese climbers. More than 25% of all fatalities occur to Sherpa mountaineers supporting other climbers' aspirations to reach the rooftop of the world.

The Khumbu Climbing School (KCS) educates Sherpa climbers in proficient and safe techniques for climbing and guiding. I have been involved with the KCS for five years, getting out on a daily basis to teach beginning and advanced students. We teach everything from climbing skills to avalanche preparedness, medical techniques, and effective guiding protocols. The school is in its eighth year and it has been rewarding to see the improvement in our cadre of climbing Sherpas and instructors.

The North Face has provided substantial support for KCS and other community programs where our athletes visit. We need to be in the vanguard of corporations turning the page on old business models, inspiring a new ethic of championing the triple bottom line of profitability, sustainability and responsibility to the environment, humanity, biodiversity and multiculturalism. It is imperative for The North Face to lead. It's our nature."

Donation Metrics 2010 Cash Donations in U.S. Dollars
Americas 762,438 (up 11% from 2009)
Europe 66,957
Asia Pacific 20,850
Total $850,245

Product Donations
We work with charities such as IN Kind in England and Clothes4Souls in the United States that disperse goods to people in need. We also provide product donations in response to disasters. Our Asian office helped earthquake-ravaged areas in western China and the United States office provided tents and other products after the earthquake in Haiti.

2010 Product Donations
• Americas 25,000 pieces
• Europe 5,028 pieces
• Total 30,000+ pieces

Fair Labour
The North Face® pursuit of excellence extends beyond our own operations to ensure that our suppliers meet our social, environmental, and ethical standards. In working with our supply chain, The North Face benefits from being part of our parent company's sourcing and compliance structure. VF's Global Supply Chain organization oversees the production of 500 million items annually at more than 1,400 facilities around the world. This provides tremendous opportunities for The North Face and the other VF brands to work together to leverage adherence to our sourcing demands and standards and to share auditing responsibilities. VF has established a robust set of social compliance standards and procedures backed by a team of 35 compliance specialists in 12 countries. In 2010, VF conducted 1,785 inspections in 62 countries.


A word from Eric Wiseman, CEO, VF Corporation:

"Throughout the 30 or so years I've worked in the apparel industry, I've visited hundreds of factories in dozens of countries. I've seen great factories – and I've seen some pretty bad ones, too. As CEO of VF Corporation, the world's leading supplier of branded apparel, I recognize that our company's reputation is on the line every day in every factory in which our products are produced. That's why we strive to be a leader in global compliance.

We don't simply create initiatives around our values; rather, they are the foundation upon which everything we do is based. We approach our compliance principles the same way – and work to make sure they are embedded into every partnership across our expansive supply chain.

Our current global compliance program stems from 12 principles first established in 1996 and expanded to 16 principles in 2008. These principles represent our commitment to our suppliers and our customers that each piece of apparel produced in our name will be made consistent with internationally recognized labor standards, such as the U.N. Global Compact principles upon which the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) key performance indicators are based, as well as the International Labor Organization's doctrine for human rights.

At the end of the day, we don't just have to answer to our shareholders and our customers; we also hold ourselves accountable to those in the communities in which we operate on a daily basis. Responsibility is the key to our success and we will continue to maintain the high standards for which we are known – for our customers, investors, employees and partners."

Eric C. Wiseman
Chairman, President and
Chief Executive Officer, VF Corporation

The North Face and VF believe that every individual has certain basic rights: the right to fair compensation; the right to associate freely and bargain collectively; the right to work free from discrimination and harassment; and the right to a safe, clean workplace. Recognizing that there are different legal and cultural expectations across the globe, VF's factory compliance program sets clear expectations and backs these with a systematic audit program. Here's how VF ensures that its core beliefs are upheld:
  • • Terms of Engagement. All suppliers must agree to these before we will work with them. These include our 16 Global Compliance Principles which cover issues from ethical business practices to worker rights and environmental measures.
  • • Auditor certification. Factory inspectors are trained and certified to the standards of the International Register of Certificated Auditors (IRCA).
  • • Factory audits. Factories are inspected (1-2 days on-site) before we will work with them and classified as follows:
    • o Accepted – Audited yearly (or every 18 months in high confidence cases).
    • o Accepted to be upgraded – Follow-up audits in 3-9 months (depending upon severity of issues found) for progress on action items.
    • o Rejected – Can reapply for re-audit in 3 months; second rejection results in a 12 month ban from consideration.

    While the focus of our audits is social compliance, we added an environmental component in 2008 that covers management practices relating to energy use, water use, hazardous materials management, worker safety, regulatory compliance, and wastewater discharges. The latter is the most frequent cause for corrective action. On the social side, the most common action issue involves factories, particularly in China, with excessive work hours, minimum wage violations, and the lack of social insurance coverage.

    We also want to ensure that factories further back in the supply chain that supply fabric and materials to our garment manufacturers meet our high standards. Material-processing factories have a higher potential for environmental problems and worker health and safety issues than the factories where our products are assembled or cut and sewn. We began expanding our audit program to our Asian fabric suppliers in 2010 and we will bring this initiative to the Americas in 2011. Extending our audit program to our fabric suppliers significantly expands our ability to ensure the social and environmental sustainability of our products.

    Better chemical management and the elimination of potentially toxic chemicals during both material processing and product manufacturing protect workers from chemical exposure and ensure safer factories. Our most ambitious and far-reaching initiative to improve factory conditions (and thus worker health and safety) is our campaign to encourage our suppliers to become bluesign® certified. Read about the tremendous success of this program in our product section and watch a video that takes you inside the process HERE.

The North Face® Team
Great teamwork is essential in any expedition. The passion and dedication of our 2,080 employees across the globe are the heart of our organization and the source of our success. We engage and motivate our associates as well as nurture their potential and provide an excellent work environment.

The number of The North Face® associates in the Americas increased 54% from 2009 to 2010. In 2010, 72% of associates in the Americas were in retail and the remainder in our American and Canadian headquarters. Employee diversity details can be found here.


European Headquarters Move
The North Face® prides itself on having motivated, fulfilled associates and strong retention rates. In mid-2010, we moved most of our European staff from Italy to Switzerland where VF's other outdoor and action sports brands are located. While we retained customer service personnel in Italy, 90 employees were invited to move. Fifty percent chose not to and left the company. For the people who decided not to join us in Switzerland and the five support people whose positions were made redundant, the company offered a severance linked to salary and seniority. Through a collective dismissal procedure, we are also offering additional financial support for two years.

*EMEA: Europe, Middle East and Africa