Policies and Standards
Animal Derived Materials:
VF believes that all animals within the global commercial supply chain should be treated with care and respect. Therefore, we have developed a robust Animal Derived Materials (ADM) policy that is applicable to all VF brands, coalitions and supply chain partners involved in the procurement, sourcing and manufacture of any products on behalf of VF’s brands.
The ADMs most often used by VF are leather, down and wool, and the global supply chain for these materials is very complex. The apparel industry represents a portion of this supply chain along with other sizable actors such as the meat and automotive industries, and others. In fact, most of the ADMs that VF sources are a direct byproduct of meat production. As such, this limits the sphere of control and influence we alone can have on ensuring animal welfare at all points, including on-farm practices, for example.
Nevertheless, we are using our influence where we can. We take deliberate actions to ensure adherence to this policy from all suppliers of ADMs. These actions include: communicating the policy to our suppliers; collecting material inventories; requiring signed agreements and proof of origin for all materials; and, promoting standards through the policy such as the Responsible Down Standard. Suppliers that do not comply with our ADM policy cannot do business with VF.
Collaboration is the cornerstone of our global sustainability and responsibility efforts. As such, we partnered with a number of stakeholders to develop the policy, including animal welfare organizations, material suppliers, industry groups and industry peers. We will continue to engage with relevant stakeholders to periodically review the effectiveness of our policy and overall efforts, and make improvements when possible.
And, we will continue to actively promote the pursuit and development of viable commercial substitutes to ADMs that meet the needs of our business, brands and end users. Where possible, we are increasing the use of such materials and will maintain our quest to explore all options available to replace any ADM in our products.
Forest Derived Materials:
VF’s focus on using responsibly sourced materials includes our commitment to protecting the world’s forests. Our Forest Derived Materials Policy provides guidance to VF associates and our suppliers for all direct and indirect procurement of materials with an impact on forests and/or forest habitats.
For the materials that go into our products, we support the CanopyStyle initiative to eliminate the use of ancient and endangered forests in the production of manmade cellulosic materials such as rayon and viscose from our industry by 2017. Forests such as the Boreal, Coastal Temperate Rainforests and tropical rainforests including the Amazon and Indonesia are landscapes where, together, the initiative supports lasting conservation solutions and respect for the rights of local communities.
For the purchase of indirect materials such as paper and packaging, we strive to use products made with recycled fiber whenever possible and believe in the use of Responsible Forest Management Practices. We promote the use of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper and fiber, and look to elevate all third party forestry management certification systems by requiring additional supplier information to assess risk of these other sources.
VF partnered with Canopy and other external stakeholders and NGOs to develop this policy. And, in the spirit of continuous improvement, we will continue to collaborate with our suppliers and other like-minded organizations to evaluate more closed-loop, low impact alternatives and recycled content options, and advance responsible forest management practices overall.
VF’s Restricted Substance List serves as the basic mechanism to ensure our factories are in compliance with local, national and international laws. The list is included in our Terms of Engagement for suppliers and is implemented through vendor trainings, product design, factory audits and product testing. We require all of our suppliers, vendors, business partners and licensees to implement and verify compliance with the RSL.
CHEM-IQ℠ is VF's innovative chemical management program. It provides a simple, cost-effective and scalable method for identifying and eliminating unwanted chemistries before they enter our manufacturing process.
In 2012, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted rules intended to address the exploitation and trade of conflict minerals by armed groups to finance violent conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and neighboring countries in Africa (the DRC region).
As one of the world’s largest apparel companies, we take our social responsibilities seriously. VF is committed to sourcing product and materials from companies that share our values around human rights, ethics and environmental responsibility.
Policy on Cotton Fiber Sourcing:
VF’s Cotton Fiber Sourcing Policy details the required steps suppliers must take to track the origin and flow of material through each stage of their cotton supply chains.
Cotton grown in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Syria is prohibited. In the countries of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, established forced labor and/or child labor practices continue to be administered by the government. In Syria, militant groups are alleged to control much of the cotton production. The money generated from the sale of cotton is potentially used to fund extremists' activities.
All suppliers to VF Corporation and/or its brands are required to certify their adherence to this policy to ensure that no cotton from these countries is used to make our products.
Code of Business Conduct:
In 2014, our Board of Directors adopted an updated Code of Business Conduct, which applies to all VF directors, officers and associates. Our Code outlines the principles that have guided our company throughout the years, and that continue to guide us today.