Exploration is defined as the act of searching or traveling a terrain for the purpose of discovery. For The North Face, it defines our raison d’être. In scientific research, exploration is the attempt to develop an understanding. We have to explore together this concept of sustainability and to act on our understanding — incomplete as it may be.   — Lizzy Hawker, The North Face athelete
  • Todd Spaletto explains why sustainability is part of our heritage
  • Our global reach
  • Sustainability Manager Adam Mott explains our program philosophy
  • Key sustainability data in one handy table
  • Five areas are critical for our sustainability program
  • A formal stakeholder session provides valuable feedback
“Our products are built to last a long time thus reducing their impact on the environment. From there, our sustainability philosophy is to focus on our largest volume materials to create the greatest environmental benefit. In addition to incorporating recycled and renewable content in our products, we are implementing the bluesign® standard, a system for managing chemical inputs and resource efficiency in the supply chain. ” — Philip Hamilton, Vice-President of Product
  • We work with the bluesign® standard to reduce supply chain impacts
  • We build products that last and that have a lifetime warranty
  • We use castor oil to replace petroleum-derived materials in our Venture Line of apparel
  • Almost 42,000 plastic bottles were incorporated into our 2010 Denali fleece collection
  • We are reevaluating our approach to sourcing cotton
  • Our internal Product Rating Tool drives sustainable design
Our passion for the outdoors inspires us to preserve the well-being of our planet. We believe that few issues affect The North Face as deeply as climate change. Our athletes, customers and employees return from expeditions with stories of receding glaciers, decimated forests, unprecedented drought, and a natural world that is changing visibly. This has energized our efforts to minimize our environmental impact and to protect the earth for future generations.
  • Our athletes help us educate others on this issue
  • We are working to improve our progress against our GHG reduction goal
  • Our suppliers reduced GHG emissions by 3.1 million pounds in the manufacturing of our products
  • We offset 9,662 MT of GHG emissions, equivalent to keeping 1,895 cars off the road for a year
  • We joined with other forward-looking companies to support climate change policies through BICEP
Just as with any expedition we undertake, our goal is to leave no trace. On any journey, carrying less waste out starts with bringing less in, using durable materials, and reusing and repurposing as much as possible. In keeping with this philosophy, we are committed to eliminating waste and inefficiencies in our operations, manufacturing, packaging, and in our day-to-day activities. Here’s what we’re working on:
  • Creating a culture of sustainability helps reduce office waste
  • Follow our trail to paperless workbooks
  • Our Closed Loop Tote bags “close the loop” by using scrap fabric
  • We joined with TerraCycle to upcycle plastic polybags
  • A new recycling program proves successful
  • Watch the video about our supply chain water and wastewater work
At The North Face, our sense of community extends far beyond the walls of our offices. We ensure that our associates are motivated in their jobs and that the workers in our supply chain are treated fairly. We support the communities where we work and play and we partner with many organizations that share our mission to enable exploration. Our goal is to ignite a passion to preserve the natural world by enabling access to outdoor activities and building a sustainable connection between people and the planet.
  • Our mission to enable exploration expanded its reach with four new programs in 2010
  • Three athletes share their inspiring stories
  • We showcase our work with the Conservation Alliance and the Khumbu Climbing School
  • We have strong protocols in place to protect the workers in our supply chain
  • Our 2,080 associates are the source of our success
We are pleased to present our first public sustainability report. By providing this picture of where we are today and where we plan to go, we are engaging our stakeholders and upholding our commitment to transparency and corporate responsibility. We have followed the Global Reporting Initiative standards for a C Level Report. While much of this report leans heavily toward the achievements in our United States office, we also provide details on some of our global sustainability work.

  • Standard disclosures for the Global Reporting Initiative
The North Face 2010 Sustainability Report: Durable Products
Durable Products

We stand by our lifetime warranty.

“Sustainable consumption starts by consuming less. At The North Face, we focus on building product that lasts a lifetime so that our consumers buy fewer products over time, thereby reducing impacts on the environment. We find that The North Face can actually be profitable, while driving a very strong sustainability message.”  — Philip Hamilton, VP of Global Product

“We repair as much as we can and, above all, prevent materials from ending up in a landfill. When an item comes back damaged, the first thing we try to do is fix it. We have a staff of expert seamstresses and tailors whose average tenure with the company is 25 years. They have seen or touched just about everything we have made and are extremely creative solution providers. Anything we can’t repair, we generally scavenge for usable parts. We have drawers of zippers and buttons and fabric pieces in all colors.

First, we try to get products back into the sales chain and then donate as many of the remaining items as we can. From 2010 through the first half of 2011, we donated more than 56,000 units to organizations such as Clothes4Souls and to emergency relief situations such as the Haiti earthquake.

2010 Repair/Donation Program


We sort through the remaining items that we are unable to fix and recycle as much as we can. Finally, whatever can’t be recycled is incinerated at a waste-to-energy plant. We believe strongly in responsible disposal and feel good every time we avoid throwing something away.

As our sales grow, the volume of goods that may require repair keeps pace and it is getting harder to keep up. As fabrics become more technical and cutting-edge, it is more difficult to repair them and sometimes requires new technology such as fabric welding tools. We are currently developing a plan to ensure that our approach to repairs meets the latest advances in product materials and construction.”
— Director of Quality, Rick Griffin

Clothes4Souls “The recent clothing donation from
The North Face was an extremely substantial portion of Clothes4Souls donations. I am very excited about the opportunity to take Clothes4Souls to the next level by partnering with such a powerful brand. Together we can provide hope for a better tomorrow.” — Keith Woodley, Chief Development Officer, Clothes4Souls Inc.

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