The VF Corp. has released its first Animal Derived Materials Policy so that its brands will no longer use fur, angora or exotic leather.
Developed in partnership with The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, the new policy highlights which animal materials are off-limits and establishes formal guidelines for the procurement and use of approved materials for VF brands and global supply chain partners. The animal-derived materials most often used by VF and its brands are leather, down and wool. With more than two dozen brands, VF makes apparel, footwear and accessories under such labels as The North Face, Vans, Timberland, Lee, Wrangler and Nautica.
“VF believes that all animals within the global commercial supply chain should be treated with care and respect,” said Letitia Webster, VF’s vice president of global corporate sustainability. “As we continue to promote the development of viable commercial substitutes to animal materials, this policy will help to ensure that the materials we use today are procured from sources that prioritize animal welfare and responsible business practices.”
VF has a track record in animal welfare initiatives. VF’s Timberland brand partnered with other footwear brands, tanneries and retailers to set up the Leather Working Group to promote responsible practices within the leather industry. In 2014, The North Face brand created the Responsible Down Standard guidelines that enable any brand to evaluate and certify its complete down supply chain. The RDS was developed with Control Union and the Textile Exchange, which now oversees the program. VF also participates in programs centered on best practices for the wool industry. As part of the company’s effort to use responsibly sourced materials, VF has developed policies for the purchase and use of Conflict Minerals, Cotton Country of Origin, and Forest Derived Materials, in addition to a Restricted Substances List for its chemical management program.
In a blog post Tuesday, HSUS chief executive officer Wayne Pacelle said, “There has been a trend within the fashion industry in recent years of switching to humane alternatives. Last year Armani announced it would go fur-free. Brands and designers like Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Stella McCartney and Ralph Lauren have also disassociated themselves from animal cruelty and switched to cruelty-free alternatives that are indistinguishable from the real thing.”
The HSUS and HSI continue to appeal to other companies about supporting what it calls the humane economy, “and today’s announcement is one of the most important,” Pacelle wrote.
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