The North Face Climate-Shames But Benefits From Fossil Fuels

While there are many examples of Hollywood celebrities, like Leonard DiCaprio, and political figures, like Al Gore, who are well known for their environmental insincerity, one clothing company has really earned its green cred. The North Face has made a name for itself highlighting their environmentally sensitive policies but its dirty little secret is that outdoor wear manufacturer has benefited mightily from fossil fuels.

For example, during mid-December, The North Face turned down selling jackets to Innovex Downhole Solutions, a minor West Texas oil- and gas-well developer, citing the company’s brand standards despite the clothing company reportedly having done so before. As Innovex’s CEO notes, The North Face’s products are made using the very petroleum the jacket maker now condemns.

Furthermore, The North Face has no problem renting facilities at a Denver-area airport for its corporate executives to fly their private jets worldwide, yet the garment industry has been found to be responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions. Worst of all, the outdoor gear producer’s parent company (VF Corporation) who The North Face uses facilities for its corporate jets, operates factories in developing countries that have minimal environmental rules.

VF Corporation is known for their overseas factory worker mistreatment, unsafe working conditions, and even refused to commit in writing to improve their factory employment situation. In fairness, the clothing maker’s parent company may have made improvements with its factory employee working conditions, but they still earned low marks for their efforts.

Three years ago, The North Face even helped finance a study that revealed dyeing and treatment of textiles contributes to 20% of the world’s water pollution. Yet, despite researcher’s findings, The North Face has not made any changes to reduce the clothing manufacturer’s carbon footprint.

The North Face has the audacity to climate-shame fossil fuel companies, while the company uses services that emit tons of carbon emissions and is tied to questionable labor practices and workshops. The basis of the clothing producer’s success is the result of using fossil fuels despite funding environmentalist causes and lobbying efforts to address climate change. The North Face should clean up their own act since the company has no business scolding others for their conduct.