North Carolina-based lifestyle apparel giant VF Corp. recently joined the growing list of companies urging federal policymakers to address climate change. On Sept. 27, Ceres and its partner advocacy coalition, BICEP (Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy), announced that the company, which owns iconic American brands such as Vans, Wrangler and Lee, signed the Climate Declaration that calls on lawmakers to spur meaningful growth towards a low-carbon, 21st century economy.
VF brand Timberland was a founding member of BICEP back in 2008, and The North Face, another VF subsidiary, joined the ranks a year later – saying “the future success of our business is fundamentally linked to having a healthy planet.” Now that parent company VF has signed on, its entire brand portfolio, which pulls in more than $11 billion in annual revenues and also includes labels like Nautica, Majestic, Jansport and Eastpak, will be part of the driving force that insists climate change is an opportunity for the U.S. to realize new job creation and economic growth while ensuring a stable climate for generations to come.
According to Letitia Webster, director of global corporate sustainability for VF, the move underlines the company’s focus on reducing its environmental footprint, with an emphasis on energy efficiency – critically important in addressing the climate-change issue.
“VF has made great strides toward meeting our 5 percent GHG reduction goal, ahead of a 2015 target and during a period of significant growth for the company,” she said in a press release, noting that this progress has been made through a number of initiatives – including lighting retrofits, use of solar power, and significant HVAC investments and improvements, among other energy efficiency measures – at the company’s more than 1,700 global locations.
“By joining BICEP, VF is taking the next step in our sustainability journey,” Webster continued. “Collaborating across businesses, governments and advocacy groups, such as BICEP, will accelerate technical advancements and smart policies that minimize the impact of climate change. We are proud to share our experience and eager to learn from fellow BICEP members in the joint effort to preserve, protect and improve the health of our planet.”
VF joins 28 leading companies in the BICEP network, including eBay Inc., Symantec and Patagonia, who go beyond simply acknowledging climate change and assert it as an chance for the U.S. to become a global leader in smart policies that not only boost green jobs creation but also help the planet and company’s bottom lines.
“VF’s brands have already played a critical role in supporting climate policies. We are proud to have VF as the newest member of BICEP and are certain they will be an active voice for smart policies,” said Anne Kelly, director of BICEP at Ceres. “With the company’s global commitment to mitigate the social and environmental impact of its products and practices, we’re sure that VF will flourish as a BICEP member.”
Earlier this summer, The Weather Company endorsed BICEP’s Climate Declaration – a move TriplePundit hoped would not only prove bullish for the action network but also put climate change denial trends to rest once and for all, although it seems deniers won’t be silenced so easily.
While it remains to be seen if lawmakers will heed BICEP members’ calls for action, the network’s total of 34 signatories account for $461 billion in annual revenue and more than half a million jobs – meaning its voice is surely a loud one in the climate conversation.
Image credit: Logo courtesy of VF Corp.
Based in Philadelphia, Mary Mazzoni is a freelance journalist who frequently writes about sustainability, corporate social responsibility and clean tech. Mary also contributes to Earth911; her work has appeared on the Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands and The Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @mary_mazzoni.