by Stephen Garner

VF Corporation has released its first-ever animal derived materials policy and announced that its brands will no longer use fur, angora or exotic leather in their products.

The new policy, developed in partnership with The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, outlines which animal materials are prohibited and sets formal guidelines for the procurement and use of approved materials by the company’s brands and global supply chain partners. The animal derived materials most often used by VF and its brands are leather, down and wool.

The policy strengthens VF’s broader efforts to use responsibly-sourced materials throughout its global operations and supply chain. VF’s Timberland brand partnered with other footwear brands, tanneries and retailers to form the Leather Working Group to promote responsible practices within the leather industry. In 2014, The North Face brand announced its Responsible Down Standard (RDS), a global standard through which any brand can evaluate and certify its complete down supply chain. The RDS was developed in partnership with Control Union and Textile Exchange, which now manages the program. Also, VF participates in programs centered on best practices in the wool industry.

“VF believes that all animals within the global commercial supply chain should be treated with care and respect,” said Letitia Webster, vice president of Global Corporate Sustainability at VF. “As we continue to promote the development of viable commercial substitutes to animal materials, this policy will help to ensure that the materials we use today are procured from sources that prioritize animal welfare and responsible business practices.”

“The Humane Society of the United States applauds VF for demonstrating compassionate leadership in the apparel and footwear industries,” commented PJ Smith, manager of fashion policy for The HSUS. “This robust policy sets a bar to which others in the industry should aspire.”

“We commend VF for committing to stop using fur and other animal materials in their products,” added Kitty Block, vice president of HSI. “As a leader in the global apparel industry, VF’s policy sends an important message to the industry that animal suffering has no place in fashion.”