The North Face Sustainability Report: Normalized GHG Drops 1%
The North Face reduced its normalized greenhouse gas emissions by one percent year-on-year, but GHGs increased 1 percent over the company’s baseline year, according to the outdoor brand’s Sustainability Report Update for 2011.
The report just provides figures for percentage differences between years rather than figures for normalized greenhouse gas production for individual years. From 2008 to 2009 the North Face’s normalized emissions jumped 5 percent, and from 2009 to 2010 they decreased 3 percent. The North Face is aiming for a 25 percent reduction over 2008 levels by 2013, the report says.
The company says it installed a 1 MW solar installation at its distribution center in 2009 and installed lighting upgrades at several retail stores and its warehouse, but is “disappointed” that it hasn’t made the progress that it anticipated on its normalized emissions target.
From 2010 to 2011 the company’s absolute carbon emissions increased 15 percent, the report says. In 2010 the company produced 6,838 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2011 this figure jumped to 7,881 metric tons. The North Face’s absolute emissions increased 16 percent at its retail stores and its distribution center and increased 12 percent at its headquarters building, the report says.
The North Face says that its retail stores are responsible for 49 percent of its facility emissions and “present some of the biggest challenges” for the company as it seeks to reduce its footprint. All of the company’s stores are in leased locations and most of them offer inconsistent opportunities for energy-efficient design based on the features of the shopping centers or malls in which they reside.
The North Face says it has had better success in executing projects at its headquarters and distribution center, where the company has a greater level of control over the facilities.
In 2011, the company invested in Green-E Climate Certified carbon offsets and Renewable Energy Certificates through the nonprofit Bonneville Environmental Foundation. These investments offset the energy used in its US headquarters, retail locations, distribution center, and showrooms. Emissions associated with the shipping of customer internet orders through thenorthface.com were also offset through Green Shipping.
Together, these programs resulted in emission reductions equivalent to removing 2,623 cars from the road for a year, the report says. The North Face was awarded a “Green Power Leadership Award” in 2012 for its commitment to green power.
Landfilled waste production at The North Face’s HQ dropped 7 percent from 2010 to 2011, the report says. Since 2008, the company has reduced the waste its headquarters sends to landfill by 35 percent and achieved an almost 17-fold increase in recycling by successfully changing employee practices and introducing composting for organic waste.
Through work with Bluesign, suppliers have succeeded in reducing environmental impact at the factory levels through savings in energy (13 million kWh), water (60 million gallons) and chemicals (1.6 million lb.), the report says
Some 36 percent of The North Face apparel fabric for 2012 is now Bluesign-approved, up from 27 percent in 2011 and 21 percent in 2010. The company’s 2012 collections are designed and ordered in 2011, so the company is able to report its 2012 figures for fabric in this report.
In September, The North Face’s parent company VF Corporation announced that it will use Schneider Electric’s online energy management and sustainability platform to track energy, water and emissions data across all of its brands, which also include Timberland and Wrangler. The software platform, Resource Advisor, is an online tool that provides users access to energy and sustainability data, reports and summaries, and ties predictive energy cost modules to project prioritization and portfolio-wide diagnostics.
The North Face’s previous – and first ever – sustainability report was released just over a year ago. Click through to read Environmental Leader’s coverage of the report.
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