Video: The North Face Journey to Sustainability

The North Face, a division of VF Corporation, is a global leader in the outdoor clothing and equipment industry.  Many of The North Face’s customers are people who have seen phenomena like glacier retreat first hand and are thus acutely aware of climate change.  Recognizing that sustainability is important both to Northface and its customers, the company has defined four key action areas to becoming a more sustainable company: Product Innovation, Community Engagement, Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Waste Elimination.

Based on their product lifecycle analysis, 75-80% of The North Face’s environmental impact occurs during the material production and manufacturing stage. This video is a fascinating account of a trip taken by management personnel to a fabric factory in Taiwan.  The video shows how The North Face is addressing the environmental impacts of its manufacturing process and discusses the importance of Bluesign, an independent industry textile standard.  (For more information about Bluesign, see this link to the April 2011 BC Business magazine interview with the founder of Vancouver’s TNT Garment Manufacturing, Mark Trotzuk.)  The video also reveals unexpected aspects of Taiwanese textile mills, such as rooftop vegetable gardens created by and for employees, and a CEO who says of his staff, “Their happiness is my duty.”  Enjoy!

Tom Baker is a Solution Architect at Fujitsu Canada Consulting where he focuses on Healthcare Information Systems, Mobility and Sustainability.