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[Video] The North Face Publishes Its First-Ever Sustainability Report

Outdoor clothing and gear maker The North Face issued its first-ever public sustainability report via a dedicated microsite.

The company, founded in 1968, is one of the most recognized brands among outdoor recreation enthusiasts, but it has trailed competitors like Patagonia, REI and Osprey when it comes to sustainability practices, reporting and marketing.

However, that may be changing with the first comprehensive look at The North Face’s operations from 2010. According to the company’s own assessment of its Key Performance Indicators, it’s making strong progress on fabric sourcing, emissions reductions and offsets, and waste; while indicating more can be done to improve the use of recycled fabric content and increase volunteerism among employees.

The North Face says its concern for the environment is driven by athletes, customers and employees, who return from expeditions with stories of receding glaciers, decimated forests, unprecedented drought, and a natural world that is changing visibly.

“It’s not just our responsibility to ensure our products and business practices have the smallest possible impact on the environment — we strive to be a leader in meeting those challenges,” The North Face President Todd Spaletto said in a letter to the company. “This is just the first update on our progress; we remain committed to the challenge of seamlessly embedding our commitment to sustainability into every aspect of our business.”

The microsite abbreviates much of the detailed content with pullout graphs and important data points as well as videos from executives, athletes and the company’s sustainability team. For instance, the site highlights the redesign of the Venture product line for 2010, which reduced the use of petroleum products in the waterproof membrane 50% by incorporating renewable castor oil.

Bart King is a PR consultant and principal of Cleantech Communications.

Bart King is the principal of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. He is also Associate Editor of Sponsored Content for Sustainable Brands. Follow him @bart_king [Read more about Bart King]

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