Our commitment to creating products that safeguard the environment
is particularly challenging when it comes to delivering the
high-performance apparel and equipment our customers expect.
Some of the chemicals we use to impart performance characteristics
such as water, stain and oil repellency contain PFCs (perfluorinated
chemicals). We are working to replace these Durable Water Repellency
(DWR) chemicals with environmentally preferable options.
To clearly communicate our standards for chemical safety to all of
our suppliers, The North Face maintains a Restricted Substance List (RSL) that identifies
the chemical substances that are restricted for our products for
regulatory, safety or environmental reasons. We help our suppliers go
beyond compliance to identify environmentally preferable chemicals and
to reduce overall chemical use through efficient manufacturing
processes and by leveraging bluesign technologies’ apparel expertise.
Companies across the outdoor equipment and apparel industry share
many of the same challenges. Spurred by our belief in the power of
collaboration to develop solutions, we are working closely with our
industry peers as members of the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA)
Chemical Management Working Group (CMWG). The group is focused on
establishing shared approaches and tools for chemicals assessment and
management. As a founding member of the OIA Sustainability Working
Group, we contributed to the Eco Index, the foundation of the
Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index, which provides a standard
tool for measuring the environmental and social performance of apparel
and footwear products.
Partnership with bluesign technologies
The North Face has partnered with the industry-leading experts at bluesign technologies to help our mills reduce
their impact by using water and energy more efficiently and by
addressing harmful chemicals at the fabric level. The bluesign® system
provides a sophisticated, independent approach to reducing supply
chain impacts in five key areas: resource productivity; air emissions;
worker health and safety; water emissions; and consumer safety.
The North Face has worked to influence supply chain partners to
engage voluntarily with the program. After an intensive audit,
bluesign® experts provide each participating fabric mill with a
detailed, individualized assessment that gives them insight into how
to optimize their energy and water use per kilogram of fabric. The
five years of program data above demonstrate a significant increase in
efficiency at mills engaged in the program.
Through our parent company VF Corporation’s global supply chain and
compliance structure, we audit new suppliers to ensure that they meet
our standards and we inspect all direct suppliers at least annually.
Our conventional factory audit includes components that address
health, safety, and environmental concerns, in addition to social
compliance. We expect facilities to meet all applicable laws and
regulations and to employ procedures that minimize air emissions,
waste, energy and water use, and other significant environmental risks.
For more information on our social compliance program, see Social Responsibility.