The North Face
Outdoor gear
Established in San Francisco in 1966. Bought by VF Corporation in 2000.

Overall

Owned USA
Rating C
About the Ratings

Company Ownership

The North Face Inc
USA
VF Corporation
owns 100% of The North Face Inc
USA
Clothing
After many acquisitions and sell-offs, VF is now a major player in the outdoor and active market, particularly clothing and backpacks. Acquired Timberland in 2011, Dickies in 2017, Icebreaker in 2018 and Supreme in 2020. Spun off its denim business in 2018, creating new company Kontoor Brands Inc, and in 2021 VF sold off its workwear division.

Company Assessment

The North Face Inc
Information
Greenpeace is calling on The North Face to stop using toxic chemicals in their products, claiming that the company knowingly releases dangerous chemicals such as PFCs into the environment when they manufacture their products.
This company has taken angora items off the shelves and promised not to use angora again, following a PETA campaign launched in Dec 2013 which revealed the cruelty inflicted on angora rabbits in Chinese factory farms, where 90% of the world's angora is produced.
Source: PETA (2018)
This company has committed to making products with RDS-certified down. The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) is an independent, voluntary global standard which ensures that down and feathers come from ducks and geese that have been treated well, with no live plucking or force feeding. However the RDS has been criticised by PETA, who claim live plucking still occurs at RDS farms. (https://bit.ly/3TAiNB6)
Source: RDS (2022)
This company is a partner of I:Collect (aka I:CO), a global collection network to keep discarded clothing and shoes out of landfills. Customers deposit used textiles into recycling dropoff boxes at this company's stores, and I:CO arranges their environmentally-friendly removal, sorting and reuse.
This company is a member of the European Outdoor Conservation Association, a non-profit charitable organisation which supports conservation work by raising funds from within the European Outdoor sector and promoting care and respect for wild places.
Source: EOCA (2021)
The Material Change Index (MCI) is a voluntary benchmark that tracks the apparel and textiles sector's progress toward more sustainable materials sourcing (cotton, polyester, nylon, manmade cellulosics, wool, down and leather), as well as alignment with global efforts like the Sustainable Development Goals and the transition to a circular economy. This company was rated "Maturing", the second highest performance band.
The bluesign Standard sets "best practices" for the use of chemicals and resources - including water and energy - in the textile industry. Textile manufacturers who are bluesign system partners agree to establish management systems to improve environmental performance in five key areas of the production process: resource productivity, consumer safety, water emissions, air emissions, and occupational health and safety. They regularly report their progress, are subject to on-site audits, and must meet improvement goals to maintain their status.
Cam Walker from Friends of the Earth Melbourne has created a website which profiles outdoor gear companies and rates them according to a range of sustainability criteria. Follow the link to see this company's profile.
VF Corporation
Praise
The Green Supply Chain Corporate Information Transparency Index (CITI) evaluates consumer-facing companies that have a sizeable supply chain in China. The evaluation uses government supervision data and public information to assess the environmental management of their supply chains in China. This company received a score of 76.32/100 (retrieved 24 Nov 2023).
Source: IPE (2023)
In 2023, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change risk. Responding companies are scored across four key areas: disclosure; awareness; management; and leadership. This company received a CDP Climate Change score of A-.
Source: CDP (2023)
The 2023 Gender Benchmark ranks 112 companies from the apparel and food and agriculture sectors on their efforts to drive gender equality and women's empowerment across their entire value chain. Companies are assessed on governance and strategy, representation, compensation and benefits, health and well-being, violence and harassment, and marketplace and community. This company ranked #1/112, with a total score of 55%. The average score was 23% and the highest score was 55%.
The 2024 Social Benchmark assesses the world's 2,000 most influential companies on their responsibility in meeting society's fundamental expectations towards three measurement areas: respecting human rights, providing decent work, and acting ethically. This company was assessed in 2022 and received a score of 15/20. The average score was an alarmingly low 4.6/20 and the highest score was 15.5/20.
The 2023 Fashion Transparency Index reviewed 250 of the world's largest fashion brands and retailers and ranked them according to how much they disclose about their human rights and environmental policies, practices and impacts. Brands owned by this company scored 66%, signifying that it is publishing detailed supplier lists and the vast majority of policies, procedures and future goals. The average score was 26% and the highest score was 83%.
Baptist World Aid Australia's '2022 Ethical Fashion Report' assessed 120 companies on their efforts to mitigate against the risks of forced labour, child labour and worker exploitation in their supply chains, as well as protect the environment from the harmful impacts of the fashion industry. Assessment criteria fall into five main categories: policy & governance, tracing & risk, auditing and supplier relationships, worker empowerment and environmental sustainability. This company received a score of 54/100.
In 2023 KnowTheChain benchmarked 65 apparel and footwear companies on their efforts to identify and tackle forced labour risks in their supply chains. This company received a score of 42/100. The average score was 21/100 and the highest score was 63/100.
As You Sow's 2019 report, Mining the Disclosures, is a deep analysis of 215 companies' human rights performance in relation to sourcing conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This company's score was 63.1% (Good).
In 2020 Baptist World Aid Australia released The COVID Fashion Report, a special edition of their Ethical Fashion Report. The report is framed around six COVID Fashion Commitments that ask companies to demonstrate the steps and measures they are taking to protect and support the most vulnerable workers in their supply chains. This company showed evidence of actions that cover ALL areas of the COVID Fashion Commitments.
This company is listed as having best practice on a report card on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in corporate America.
This company has signed the Cotton Pledge with the Responsible Sourcing Network, signifying a public commitment to not knowingly source Turkmen cotton for the manufacturing of any of their products until the Government of Turkmenistan ends the practice of forced labor in its cotton sector. Each cotton season, Turkmen public sector workers are forced by the government to fulfill cotton picking quotas and private businesses are forced to contribute to the efforts financially or with labor. This places a huge burden on the health, education, and general well-being of Turkmen citizens.
The Apparel and Footwear Supply Chain Transparency Pledge (Transparency Pledge) helps demonstrate apparel and footwear companies' commitment towards greater transparency in their manufacturing supply chain. Transparency of a company's manufacturing supply chain better enables a company to collaborate with civil society in identifying, assessing, and avoiding actual or potential adverse human rights impacts. This is a critical step that strengthens a company's human rights due diligence. This company is fully aligned with the Transparency Pledge, thereby committing to regularly publish on its website a list naming all sites that manufacture its products.
Criticism
The average worker in the Bangladeshi garment industry is getting paid only one third of what is considered to be a living wage. Low wages and long working hours have been found to play a key role in parents' decisions to take their children out of school and let them work in various jobs. This company was identified in SOMO's 2017 report 'Branded Childhood' as contributing to this situation.
The Chinese government has facilitated the mass transfer of Uyghur and other ethnic minority citizens from the far west region of Xinjiang to factories across the country. Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of international brands. The 2021 Laundering Cotton report investigates how forced-labour-produced cotton and cotton-based goods from the Uyghur Region wend their way into international supply chains of well-known international clothing brands, including brands owned by this company.
In 2023 a group of unions and NGOs released a report that reveals how Nike, VF and Levi's and their wealthiest investors are profiting through wage theft from workers in their Asian supply chains. The report "Big Fashion Investors Cash In on Wage Theft" shows that after quickly bouncing back from a brief pandemic slowdown in 2020, Nike, VF and Levi's executives and investors have seen their profits skyrocket through stock buybacks and dividends. Meanwhile, the vast majority of garment workers, who lost on average 22% of their normal wages in 2020, have received no payback and remain in permanent crisis, with many factories continuing to steal overtime pay or pay subminimum wages.
Forest 500 identifies the 350 companies and 150 financial institutions with the greatest exposure to tropical deforestation risk, and annually assesses them on the strength and implementation of their deforestation and human rights commitments. This company received a score of 34.4%.
As You Sow's 2024 Plastic Promises Scorecard measures the corporate ambition and action of 225 large companies across six industries on six core pillars of plastic packaging pollution prevention: 1) Recyclability, 2) Reduction, 3) Recycled Content, 4) Recovery, 5) Reuse, and 6) Producer Responsibility. This company received a grade of D-.
This company received an S&P Global ESG Score of 29/100 in the Textiles, Apparel & Luxury Goods category of the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment, an annual evaluation of companies' sustainability practices (last updated 7 Feb 2021). The rankings are based on an analysis of corporate economic, environmental and social performance, assessing issues such as corporate governance, risk management, environmental reporting, climate strategy, human rights and labour practices.
Information
This company claims sandblasting doesn't take place in their supply chains, but haven't issued a public ban on the practice. Sandblasting is a dangerous and deadly process which involves workers firing sand at jeans under high pressure. It has been known to kill workers within months as the inhalation of large amounts of silica dust generated during sandblasting causes silicosis, a potentially lethal pulmonary disease.
This 2011 report by the International Textile Garment and Leather Workers' Federation (ITGLWF) examined working conditions in 83 factories in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Investigations found that widespread violations and abuses of workers' rights continue to be the norm, such as underpaying workers, long hours, forced overtime, and repression of the freedom of association. This company's brands were found to be made in one or more of the 83 factories covered in the research. [Listed under Information due to age of report]
This 2008 investigative report into a sewing factory in El Salvador reveals how workers are: paid well below living wage, illegally forced to work overtime, fired for attempting to unionise, and cursed at and humiliated. Their customers include North Face (VF Corporation) and Eddie Bauer. (Listed under information due to age of report)
This 2013 report by the Workers Rights Consortium reveals that the majority of Haitian garment workers are being denied nearly a third of the wages they are legally due as a result of the factories' theft of their income. Wages for garment industry workers in Haiti are already among the lowest in the world. This company was named as being complicit in this wage theft.[Listed under Information due to age of report]
This company has been called out by the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) for not signing the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile & Garment Industry. All of the brands that have not yet signed the Accord continue to put workers' lives at risk and CCC urge them to sign on as soon as possible.
This company received a score of 21.5/100 in the Newsweek Green Ranking 2017, which ranks the world's largest publicly traded companies on eight indicators covering energy, greenhouse gases, water, waste, fines and penalties, linking executive pay to sustainability targets, board-level committee oversight of environmental issues and third-party audits. Ranking methodology by Corporate Knights and HIP Investor.
As You Sow's 2022 report, 'The 100 Most Overpaid CEOs', reveals the 100 most overpaid CEOs from USA's 500 largest public companies (as determined by the S&P 500 list). This company's CEO, Steven Rendle came in at number 77 on the list, having been paid US$15,782,406 in 2021. According to the report, "Most CEOs have come to be grossly overpaid, and that overpayment is harmful to the companies, the shareholders, the customers, the other employees, the economy, and society as a whole."
In 2022 the median pay for a worker at this company was US$28,679. The CEO was paid 136 times this amount. Exorbitant CEO pay is a major contributor to rising inequality. CEOs are getting more because of their power to set pay, not because they are increasing productivity or possess specific, high-demand skills. The economy would suffer no harm if CEOs were paid less (or taxed more). In contrast, the CEO-to-typical-worker compensation ratio was 20-to-1 in 1965 and 58-to-1 in 1989.
As listed on the We Mean Business website, this company has committed to the following climate action initiatives: adopt a science-based emissions reduction target; commit to 100% renewable power.
This company signed the Uzbek Cotton Pledge with the Responsible Sourcing Network, signifying a public commitment to not knowingly source Uzbek cotton for the manufacturing of any of their products until the Government of Uzbekistan ends the practice of forced labor in its cotton sector. However the Pledge was lifted in March 2022 after the Uzbek Forum for Human Rights, who monitored the annual cotton harvest since 2010, found no state-imposed forced labor in the 2021 harvest.
Brands owned by this company are listed in Human Society International Australia's Better Wool Guide as using 100% non-mulesed wool from a robust certification scheme, or has a time-bound commitment to do so. Mulesing is the controversial practice of removing strips of the skin of a lamb's rear and is often done without pain relief. In Australia, the only country where mulesing still occurs, an estimated 10 million merino lambs are subjected to mulesing each year - equivalent to 19 lambs per minute.
Social Accountability International (SAI) is a non-profit, multi-stakeholder organisation established to advance the human rights of workers by promoting decent work conditions, labor rights, and corporate social responsibility through the voluntary SA8000 Standard.
Source: SAI (2019)
This company is a member of the CanopyStyle initiative, which came about when research found that millions of trees are used every year to produce dissolving pulp, a key ingredient for fabrics such as rayon/viscose. The campaign seeks to phase out the use of endangered forest fibre in fabric.
This company is a founding member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, a multi-stakeholder initiative launched in March 2011 by a group of global apparel and footwear companies and non-profit organizations (representing nearly one third of the global market share for apparel and footwear). The Coalition's goals are to reduce the apparel industry's environmental and social impact, and to develop a universal index to measure environmental and social performance of apparel products.
This company is a member of the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3), a business-to-business forum that advances the application of green chemistry and design for environment across supply chains. It provides an open forum for cross-sectoral collaboration to share information and experiences about the challenges to and opportunities for safer chemicals and products.
Source: GC3 (2019)
This company is a member of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (formerly the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative), which helps companies address conflict minerals issues in their supply chains. The RMI provides information on conflict-free smelters and refiners, common tools to gather sourcing information, and forums for exchanging best practices on addressing conflict minerals. Membership is open to companies that use or transact in tantalum, tin, tungsten or gold (3TG). Founded in 2008 by members of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative.
Source: RMI (2019)
This company is a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, whose stated mission is to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation works with business, government and academia to build a framework for an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design.
This company is a member of the Textile Exchange, a global non-profit that works closely with its members to drive textile industry transformation in preferred fibres, integrity and standards and responsible supply networks. They identify and share best practices regarding farming, materials, processing, traceability and product end-of-life in order to reduce the textile industry's impact on the world's water, soil and air, and the human population.
This company is a member of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a legally binding, five-year commitment to improve safety in Bangladeshi ready-made garment factories. The Alliance aims to improve worker safety in the Bangladesh garment industry by upgrading factories, educating workers and management, empowering workers, and building institutions that can enforce and maintain safe working conditions throughout Bangladesh. However it lacks an important enforcement mechanism included in the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, and unlike the Accord, the Alliance has not received the endorsement of the ILO.
This company is a signatory to the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, a United Nations initiative which contains the vision to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
This company has a extensive sustainability claims on its website.
This company is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, a voluntary program which encourages the adoption of better management practices in cotton cultivation to achieve measurable reductions in key environmental impacts, while improving social and economic benefits for cotton farmers, small and large, worldwide.
This company is a member of the Leather Working Group, a multi-stakeholder group who's objective is to develop and maintain a protocol that assesses the compliance and environmental performance of tanners and promotes sustainable and appropriate environmental business practices within the leather industry.
In 2022, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts towards removing commodity-driven deforestation and forest degradation from its direct operations and supply chains. Responding companies are scored across four key areas: disclosure; awareness; management; and leadership. This company received a CDP Forests Score of C.
Source: CDP (2022)
This 2010 report by As You Sow, "Toward a Safe, Just Workplace: Apparel Supply Chain Compliance Programs", provides a scorecard and report focus on company programs such as: factory auditing, remediation, continuous improvement, collaboration, company management accountability, and transparency. This company received a C- rating.
California, the UK and Australia have all enacted legislation requiring companies operating within their borders to disclose their efforts to eradicate modern slavery from their operations and supply chains. Follow the link to see this company's disclosure statement.
The 2023 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark assessed 55 companies in the apparel sector on their human rights performance. This company received a score of 36.4%. The overall average score was a disappointing 18.2% and the highest score was 53.4%.
The 2020 Sustainable Cotton Ranking, published by WWF, Solidaridad and the Pesticide Action Network UK analysed the 77 largest cotton users among international apparel brands and retailers, reviewing their policies, actual uptake of more sustainable cotton and transparency in their supply chains. According to the report, this company is "starting the journey" with a score of 23.4%. The average score was 18.2% and the highest score was 79.2%.
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre digital platform presents news and allegations relating to the human rights impact of over 20,000 companies. Their enhanced Company Dashboards also include financial information, key data points based on corporate policies, and scores from prominent civil society benchmarks. Follow the link and use the search function to view this company's dashboard.
In 2023, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts to manage and govern freshwater resources. Responding companies are scored on six key metrics: transparency; governance & strategy; measuring & monitoring; risk assessment; targets & goals; and value chain engagement. This company received a CDP Water Security score of C.
Source: CDP (2023)
JUST Capital polls Americans every year to identify the issues that matter most in defining just business behaviour. For their 2024 rankings the public identified 20 issues, which are organised under the headings Workers, Communities, Customers, Shareholders and Environment. JUST Capital then define metrics that map to those issues and track and analyse the largest, publicly traded U.S. companies. This analysis powers their rankings, in which this company ranked 328th of 937 companies, and 6th of 12 Clothing & Accessories companies.
The 2022 Nature Benchmark ranks 400 companies across eight industries on their efforts to protect our environment and its biodiversity. The companies were assessed using three measurement areas: governance and strategy; social inclusion and community impact; and ecosystems and biodiversity. This company ranked #52/400, with a total score of 27.8/100.
This company is listed on the Facing Finance website as a company that manufactures weapons or profits from violations of human rights, pollution, corruption, or international law. Follow link for further details.

Company Details

Type:
Wholly-owned subsidiary

Contact Details

Address:
San Leandro, California, USA
Website:
www.thenorthface.com

Products / Brands

The North Face
North Face Outdoor Wear