The fashion industry is a $12 billion business and the average American family spends $1,700 on clothes every year (US Dept Of Labor). But that vast obsession with the latest chic trends comes at a cost beyond your wallet. It takes an enormous amount of energy to keep the fashion engine running.
North Carolina based VF Corporation is one of the largest apparel and footwear manufacturers in the world. The company employs more than 60,000 associates globally and manufactures close to 500 million products each year for more than 30 brands. VF spends more than $125 million annually on energy, fuel, and business travel to power its operations worldwide. They understand their bottom line and continued success are dependent on utilizing clean energy and energy efficiency measures, and they know that consumers and shareholders expect it from top-level companies.
The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association — a nonprofit committed to cultivating “a robust clean energy ecosystem that unifies and benefits” consumers, businesses, the clean energy industry, and utility energy providers — honored VF with the Business Leadership Award for its company-wide efforts and its overall clean energy advocacy. Furthering that commitment, VF is a part of RE100, a global collaborative initiative of businesses pledging to using 100% renewable electricity by 2025.
In 2011, VF conducted a full assessment of where it could reduce significant waste and save energy in order to foster business growth and promote corporate social responsibility. VF has since resolved to meet Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) and other building efficiency standards in future large-scale VF facilities. Subsequently, the company’s newer facilities showcase their commitment to clean energy by reaching the highest level of platinum, sourcing 100 percent of their energy needs through solar and wind power.
It is probably no accident that many of the brands that VF services are also adopting clean energy practices. Timberland’s American distribution centers use renewable energy to power 50-100% of their energy needs. The North Face®, another energy conscious fashion line, uses five vertical wind turbines and more than four-thousand solar panels on roofs, carports, and awnings. North Face’s headquarters is now generating more than 100% of its electricity from renewable energy.
VF, and the large-scale clothing corporations with which it works, shares the ultimate goal of increasing the generation and consumption of renewable energy across the fashion industry and beyond. We salute them as both energy champions and fashion leaders whose roots stem from North Carolina.