This week, a major apparel company announced that it’s going to be removing fur, angora and exotic leather from its supply chain.
The name VF Corporation might not sound familiar, but it’s the parent company to more than two dozen major brands, including The North Face, Nautica, Timberland, Vans, JanSport, Reef and Wrangler.
The announcement follows the release of its first policy on animal-derived products that was developed in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Humane Society International (HSI).
“We commend VF for committing to stop using fur and other animal materials in their products,” said 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.”
The move still leaves other products derived from animals, including leather, down and wool, but it’s a major step in the right direction and a sign the fashion industry is continuing to move towards cruelty-free alternatives.
“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,” said Letitia Webster, VF’s Vice President of Global Corporate Sustainability.
In a blog post, HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle noted there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about changes within the industry. One of VF’s companies based in Europe has already developed an alternative to down, and the latest announcement sends a clear message that alternatives are the future.
“There has been a trend within the fashion industry in recent years of switching to humane alternatives. Last year, Armani announced it would go fur-free. Brands and designers like Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Stella McCartney, and Ralph Lauren have also disassociated themselves from animal cruelty and switched to cruelty-free alternatives that are indistinguishable from the real thing. The HSUS and HSI continue to talk with companies to point them toward the humane economy , and today’s announcement is one of the most important,” he wrote.
The move also follows major victories to ban fur in cities in the U.S., including West Hollywood and Berkeley, Calif., which just made it official last month. Hopefully more companies will step up to protect millions of fur bearers and other animals who are needlessly used in fashion by making similar changes, and more will continue to develop alternatives to animal products that are made from truly eco-friendly and sustainable materials.
In the meantime, you can find stores around the world that have committed not to sell fur at the Fur Free Alliance’s Fur Free Retailer.
This article was first published by Care2.com on 10 May 2017.
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