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VF's report advocates circular business models

10
Dec '19
Pic: VF Corporation
Pic: VF Corporation
Commercialisation of circular business models is one of the key focus areas for VF Corporation, one of the largest apparel, footwear and accessories companies, to reduce its environmental impact, according to the latest iteration of its Made for Change Sustainability and Responsibility report. The company has also unveiled science-based targets (SBTs).

VF’s Made for Change report details the company’s aspirations for advancing environmental and social improvements across its business, portfolio of brands, global supply chain and communities worldwide. The report also highlights achievements from the last reporting year, which was 2018.

“Our workforce of 50,000 performance-driven people shares a commitment to be more than just an apparel and footwear company. We strive to be a purpose-led enterprise that leverages the strength of our business to deliver positive impacts for people and the planet we share,” said Steve Rendle, VF’s chairman, president and CEO. “We're proud of our progress but know there is so much more we can do. Our Made for Change strategy outlines our forward-looking priorities and provides us with a renewed focus to push ourselves harder and farther as we address some of our industry’s most challenging issues.”

VF’s Made for Change strategy focuses on three areas. It advocates commercialisation of circular business models to reduce VF’s environmental impact while creating new growth opportunities; leveraging VF’s global scale and influence to drive impact reduction across the business and broader industry; and, enabling VF and its brands to serve as a catalyst for powering movements of sustainable and active lifestyles for the betterment of people and planet.

VF has made measurable progress against its targets in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, according to the report. Fifty per cent of VF’s distribution centres around the world are zero-waste facilities, and 16 of VF’s owned buildings are LEED certified. It has launched a bold sustainable materials vision focusing on three key concepts - regenerative, responsibly sourced renewable, and recycled materials, there has been improvement of worker livelihoods in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, China, Kenya and Lesotho through VF’s Worker and Community Development (WCD) Programme.

VF has also launched Science-Based Targets (SBTs) approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. SBTs are greenhouse gas emission reduction targets that are in line with meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“VF is the largest company in the textiles, apparel, and luxury goods sector to set a 1.5-degree target for its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, and a well-below 2-degree target for its product-related Scope 3 emissions,” stated Ben Peel, consultant, the Carbon Trust.

VF underwent an intensive, two-year long collaborative process to develop its new SBTs. The company partnered with global consultancy, the Carbon Trust, to model data across its owned and operated facilities as well as its entire operations from farm to retail store, and engaged deeply with its entire value chain. Primary data was gathered from VF’s 1,400 owned facilities, distribution centres and global logistics as well as more than 100 Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, strengthening its ability to identify and implement reduction strategies.

VF’s science-based carbon emissions targets include an absolute reduction of Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions 55 per cent by 2030, from a 2017 baseline year; and, an absolute reduction of Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions 30 per cent by 2030, from a 2017 baseline year focusing on farm-to-retail materials, sourcing operations and logistics.

The Science Based Targets initiative champions science-based target setting as a powerful way of boosting companies’ competitive advantage in the transition to the low-carbon economy. It is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments.

“This is the most comprehensive strategic advice we have delivered to an organisation on how it can achieve its SBTs across its own operations and its value chain,” said Tom Delay, chief executive, the Carbon Trust. “This work sends a strong signal to the apparel sector about the degree of transformation needed to truly address emissions across global supply and distribution chains and multiple brands. The collaborative development process and focus on influencing others is what true corporate leadership looks like. We are excited to see VF achieve its ambitious goals.”

VF has also announced its new sustainable materials vision which is key to achieving its SBTs. Extraction, production and manufacturing of raw materials account for the largest portion of VF’s carbon emissions globally. The innovative vision establishes a clear path for reduction. By 2030, VF commits that 100 per cent of its top nine materials, which account for approximately 90 per cent of its materials-related carbon emissions, will originate from regenerative, responsibly sourced renewable, or recycled sources.

Using tools such as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Materials Sustainability Index and Life Cycle Analysis methodologies, VF is assessing its materials choices within these three areas to identify the greatest opportunities for environmental impact reduction, and to understand how accelerating against these choices will contribute to achieving its science-based targets.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (SV)


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