AAPN Member VF Corporation Creates a Circular Products Infrastructure

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Note that at our Charlotte Regional Conference (click to register) on April 1 we feature as one of three speakers Mick Reed, Senior Director, Strategy & Enterprise Risk Management, VF Corp.

VF Corporation Creates a Circular Products Infrastructure: Q&A with Sean Cady
FEBRUARY 6, 2020 BY ALYSSA DANIGELIS, environmentalleader.com

VF Corporation VF Corporation executives want their global apparel, footwear, and accessory company to lead the large-scale commercialization of circular business models.

They’re well on their way. Since publishing a circular strategy called Made for Change in 2017, VF Corporation has launched the North Face Renewed recommerce platform, introduced a North Face camping gear rental pilot in Europe with the Library of Things, and established the European luggage rental program Rent Your Kipling with startup Lizee.

“When we think about circularity, it’s more than simply recycling. We focus on recommerce, rentals, and the design of the products,” says Sean Cady, VF Corporation’s vice president of global sustainability and responsible sourcing.

Recently we caught up with him to find out how the company is working to extend the life of its products.

For VF Corporation, what are the main advantages of pursuing recommerce and rentals?
In the last 15 years or so, clothing production doubled around the world. But at the same time, there is a lot of waste around clothing that is underutilized.

We looked at the circular model, where waste becomes the feed for new products, and materials and products are kept in use as long as possible. We saw it as an opportunity to unlock a new revenue stream, engage with customers that might not otherwise be able to buy our products, and meaningfully minimalize our environmental impact.

The resale of apparel in the US, for example, has grown 21 times faster than the general retail environment. We see rental becoming a first choice for consumers that care about the environment. We believe that circular business models are financially viable for retailers, especially those in higher-priced segments.

What’s the financial viability aspect for VF Corporation?
Using waste as the raw material for new products just makes financial sense. When we get into rental, renewed or used products, there’s a new market willing to pay a lower price for a slightly used North Face jacket that performs equally as well, or pay a rental fee for a piece of Kipling luggage they don’t have the space to store.

We see financial viability in areas of our business that are not necessarily replacing what a full-price consumer would pay. Read More