The North Face Sustainability Report: Normalized GHG Drops 1%

by | Dec 17, 2012

The North Face reduced its normalized greenhouse gas emissions by one percent year-on-year, but GHGs increased 1 percent over the company’s baseline year, according to the outdoor brand’s Sustainability Report Update for 2011.

The report just provides figures for percentage differences between years rather than figures for normalized greenhouse gas production for individual years. From 2008 to 2009 the North Face’s normalized emissions jumped 5 percent, and from 2009 to 2010 they decreased 3 percent. The North Face is aiming for a 25 percent reduction over 2008 levels by 2013, the report says.

The company says it installed a 1 MW solar installation at its distribution center in 2009 and installed lighting upgrades at several retail stores and its warehouse, but is “disappointed” that it hasn’t made the progress that it anticipated on its normalized emissions target.

From 2010 to 2011 the company’s absolute carbon emissions increased 15 percent, the report says. In 2010 the company produced 6,838 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2011 this figure jumped to 7,881 metric tons. The North Face’s absolute emissions increased 16 percent at its retail stores and its distribution center and increased 12 percent at its headquarters building, the report says.

The North Face says that its retail stores are responsible for 49 percent of its facility emissions and “present some of the biggest challenges” for the company as it seeks to reduce its footprint. All of the company’s stores are in leased locations and most of them offer inconsistent opportunities for energy-efficient design based on the features of the shopping centers or malls in which they reside.

The North Face says it has had better success in executing projects at its headquarters and distribution center, where the company has a greater level of control over the facilities.

In 2011, the company invested in Green-E Climate Certified carbon offsets and Renewable Energy Certificates through the nonprofit Bonneville Environmental Foundation. These investments offset the energy used in its US headquarters, retail locations, distribution center, and showrooms. Emissions associated with the shipping of customer internet orders through were also offset through Green Shipping.

Together, these programs resulted in emission reductions equivalent to removing 2,623 cars from the road for a year, the report says. The North Face was awarded a “Green Power Leadership Award” in 2012 for its commitment to green power.

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