VF becomes first non-automotive player to join GPSNR
28 Feb 2023
Owner of Timberland, The North Face and Vans brands boards rubber induustry's sustainability platform
Singapore – The Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) has announced that apparel and footwear manufacturer VF Corp. has joined the platform as a new member.
VF Corp., which owns brands such as Timberland, The North Face and Vans, is the first non-automotive member to join the GPSNR, which works to advance sustainability and equity across the natural rubber value-chain.
VF’s membership "reflects the extent of our scope in facilitating cross-industry, stakeholder dialogue to solve sustainability challenges,” said GPSNR director Stefano Savi in the 24 Feb announcement.
“We welcome them wholeheartedly and are looking forward to their GPSNR journey,’’ Savi further commented.
“We are proud to be the first in our industry to join the conversation" said Shanel Orton, VF's director of responsible materials and traceability. "Our hope is that many others follow suit.”
Multi-stakeholder platform GPSNR currently has nearly 250 members, including tire manufacturers and other natural rubber producers, processors and traders.
The platform’s existing membership represents over 55% of the NR value-chain.
For its part, VF's sustainability efforts, include a recent link-up with Terra Genesis International in Thailand to pilot the industry’s first regenerative rubber-supply system.
Regenerative rubber farming incorporates multiple tree species to mimic a natural forest ecosystem and uses Indigenous farming techniques.
The approach helps to diversify crop yields and provide multiple streams of income to the farming community.
VF said it aims to carry out “train-the- trainer” programmes to transition more plantations to regenerative systems.
The initiative is contributing to VF’s efforts to trace the sources of all-natural rubber across all VF footwear brands.
The group's first regenerative rubber footwear products are expected to launch in 2023 beginning with pilot collections from Timberland and Vans.
VF said it aimed to make the supply system available to other brands across and outside the industry “in the spirit of collaborating for the greater good.”