VF Corp., whose brands include The North Face, Timberland, Vans, Supreme and Dickies, has released its third annual Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Action, or IDEA, annual profile, giving visibility into the company’s progress.
The report covers the company’s fiscal-year 2021, and outlines key strategic pillars that serve as the drivers and benchmarks for VF’s IDEA goals.
VF has publicly committed to two aspirational employee and representation goals and provided an update. By 2030, the company intends to achieve gender parity at the director level and above globally, and 25 percent people of color representation in the U.S. at the director level and above. During fiscal-year 2021, VF saw growth against both goals, with those who identify as women comprising 41 percent of the director-and-above population globally, and associates of color representing 16 percent of the director-and-above population in the U.S.
At the end of fiscal-year 2021, the representation of women globally across all levels of VF’s workforce was 55 percent. In the U.S. and Canada, women at the director level and above account for 43 percent of the company’s workforce, compared to 38 percent in fiscal year 2019.
Associates of color within the U.S. across all levels in the organization was also at 55 percent, though that’s heavily skewed toward its retail stores and distribution centers (where representation is 63 percent each). At VF’s corporate and brand headquarters locations, people of color account for just 22 percent of staff. While 29 percent of the company’s new hires at corporate and brand headquarters this fiscal year have been people of color, 27 percent of the associates who have left the company have been people of color.
During fiscal-year 2021, one-third of the company’s board of directors identified as women and 17 percent identified as people of color.
“Our IDEA annual profile celebrates and highlights the many ways our associates and leaders have mobilized to support our associates, our consumers, our industry and the communities we serve around the world,” said Lauren Guthrie, VF’s vice president of global inclusion, diversity, equity and action. “The efforts and achievements outlined in the report are rooted in building and maintaining a workplace that celebrates diversity and prioritizes allyship, advocacy and authentic belonging while driving focused actions to advance equity and social justice. The profile also points the way to the work still ahead of us, including how we’re progressing in diverse representation and where we plan to invest going forward. As we embrace our corporate responsibility to actively promote the betterment of people and planet, VF is committed to addressing the many ways inequities affect all of us.”
VF has also identified three strategic pillars to evolve the standards of an inclusive environment among brands and employees.
First is employees and culture. VF has developed a variety of learning tools, including an Inclusive Hiring Guidebook, to minimize the impact of bias in the company’s recruiting processes and relaunched a global learning journey to connect employees with the principles of IDEA. VF has also made it a priority to have listening sessions and well-being initiatives to ensure its employees are fully supported and embraced.
Second is brands and consumers. VF’s brands engage consumers in direct dialogue around inclusion, diversity and equity, while continuing to focus on amplifying values that transcend demographics. For example, the Timberland brand intensified its focus on fighting systemic racism through new programs and partnerships focused on community, design education and entrepreneurship. The North Face brand catalyzed the #stophateforprofit initiative and relaunched The Explore Fund to embed equity as a key component of the brand’s philanthropy and community engagement strategies. The Smartwool brand partnered with Outdoor Afro and Environmental Learning for Kids to support urban youth and people of color.
Third is society and movements. The report reinforces VF’s global intention to support programs and organizations that promote inclusivity across gender, ability, ethnicity, lifestyles and economics through brand partnerships and the charitable work of the VF Foundation.
“Injustice is a global humanitarian issue, and the life-altering circumstances of this past year have catalyzed social upheaval seen and felt around the world,” Guthrie said. “The actions we take — from the smallest gestures to the boldest moves — will continue to evolve as we work to lift up our communities and help create an equitable world.”
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