VF aims to map the supply chains of 100 products in 2021 including Timberland boots © Getty Images
VF aims to map the supply chains of 100 products in 2021 including Timberland boots © Getty Images

Why VF Corp is mapping suppliers down to tier four

26 January 2021

VF Corporation has mapped its tier one to tier four suppliers as part of efforts to improve supply chain sustainability and worker wellbeing. 

The firm said it had enhanced its traceability mapping programme to trace its supply chain, from raw materials conversion to product distribution.

The company’s teams are able to use the data to identify opportunities for sustainability or worker wellbeing improvements deep within its global supply chain.

VF has prioritised traceability and mapping 100 of its brands’ products by December 2021, and has currently mapped and published 46 products including Timberland boots, The North Face jackets and Vans shoes.

Shanel Orton, director, VF responsible materials and traceability, said: “Traceability is foundational to building an ethical and sustainable supply chain and drives improvements for both people and our planet.

“The new data helps us further validate adherence to VF’s policies and supplier requirements throughout our supply chain, giving our teams, stakeholders and consumers greater confidence that our products are manufactured in a responsible manner.”

The data has been translated into both geographical maps and a traceability disclosure list which is publicly available to give stakeholders and consumers visibility into supply chain tiers that were previously unavailable.

Orton added: “We’re on a journey to drive positive change throughout our global supply chain while simultaneously strengthening the trust between VF and its suppliers, stakeholders and consumers.

“We believe this bold action improves our practices and sets an even higher standard in our industry.”

Last year, Sean Cady, vice president, global sustainability and responsibility at VF Corporation, told MPs during an evidence session on forced labour in the Xinjiang of China that the firm has “full traceability into the supply chains of raw materials”, from tier one “finished product” suppliers down to the cotton gins and farms. 

However, the firm was reported to be in the top 14 brands to cancel orders with suppliers in Bangladesh, following the outbreak of coronavirus, reportedly cancelling orders worth around $56m.

In 2019, one of VF’s brands, Timberland, announced it would be sourcing leather from farmers and ranchers that use regenerative grazing practices that mimic the natural movement of cattle.

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