For The North Face, (eco)Life begins at 40
Aside from discussing a small project in greening a retail store, (and the old connection to Esprit’s Ecollection and Parque Pumalin in Patagonia) we haven’t made much mention of outdoor clothing and equipment company, The North Face, on these pixels. But now they are celebrating their 40th birthday, the company might get more of a look in.
Not only have they signed on board with the bluesign, (the Swiss-based organisation that helps the textile industry understand the chemical impact of the production processes), but The North Face (TNF) have also announced they will offset 100% of their North American energy use.
This will be a three pronged action. Their west coast distribution centre will derive 25% of its energy needs from a 1MW solar plant hosted by EI Solutions and Recurrent Energy. They’ll also buy Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from Bonneville Environmental Foundation‘s Green-e wind program, and finally any remaining emissions will be offset under the Conservation Fund‘s Go-Zero land restoration and tree planting programs.The Sustainability JourneyIn related sustainability initiatives, The North Face Canadian office, which is LEED certified, cut its electricity load by 54% through installation of light sensors, and shrunk water use by 41% with better water fixtures. And the company report that in 2008 their staff contributed 700 hours to local conservation organisations.
Doug Schnitzspahn, writing for the Outdoor Retailer summer trade show's blog, asked TNF President, Steve Rendle, how important green is to The North Face's business? His response: "We refer to sustainability as a journey. It’s not something we can define overnight and say that we are sustainable. [...] You really have to look at how the company will evolve over the long-term in defining sustainability. We have a very strong sustainability commitment and platform to change how we as a larger corporation think, act and operate." Which doesn't exactly clarify much, but at least they are on the journey. We also note that TNF were offering to offset the carbon emissions of journalists attending the trade show.