Plastic bags are a thing of the past for VF Corp Ð or at least they will be by 2025, as the company vows to eliminate single-use plastic with its new goals for sustainable packaging.
“With a portfolio comprising some of the world’s most iconic apparel and footwear brands, we recognize we play an important role as environmental stewards and can serve as a catalyst for industry movements that drive positive change,” explains Jeannie Renné-Malone, VP–global sustainability for VF.
VF is the parent company to several outdoor and running brands, including The North Face, Timberland and Icebreaker, all of which will implement reusable and recyclable materials instead of plastic going forward. By 2023, VF aims to transition to paper-based packaging that consists of 80 percent recycled content at minimum. Any of the company’s existing single-use packaging by that year will be 100 percent recycled or comprised of bio-based content.
However, getting rid of plastic is only half the battle. In order to keep up with sustainability standards, VF is making paper packaging that is eco-friendly as well. The company has partnered with Canopy’s Pack4Good initiative as a commitment to stay away from materials from endangered forests and vulnerable sources in an effort to reduce forest fiber consumption.
“Our new global packaging goals are an example of how we can leverage our scale for significant impact. In just one year, we could potentially eliminate as many as 100 million polybags from our packaging waste,” says Renné-Malone. The North Face has already contributed to this goal through its Polybag Brigade program, where the brand recycled more than five million bags.
Like The North Face, VF’s other brands are also making strides individually. Timberland is currently designing its products for 100 percent circularity Ñ meaning everything can be recycled in order to produce zero-waste. This includes using natural materials sourced through regenerative agriculture. As for Icebreaker, the brand plans to remove synthetics from its entire product line over the next three years.
Staying on track to meet its goal by 2025, VF is setting yearly targets for itself and its external events. This year, the company’s distribution centers became zero-waste as of April 1.