December 15, 2014|By Alterra Hetzel| Climate
Get Outside and Go WildNearly 50 years ago the The North Face® was founded with the mission to build the best gear for the outdoors, support the preservation of wild places and inspire a global movement of outdoor exploration. Today the North Face is still passionate about its mission and exploration but it is also exploring important ways to reduce its carbon emissions and to address climate change.

One important way that The North Face is decreasing its climate impact is by focusing on programs that reduce carbon emissions, waste and water use from operations at all of its facilities – including its new 160,000 square foot LEED Platinum U.S. headquarters in Alameda, California. Over the course of the past five years, those reductions have resulted in a 21% decrease in normalized carbon emissions. Here are just a few additional reduction highlights from the California headquarters:

  • RENEWABLE ENERGY – The North Face installed five vertical wind turbines and over 4,000 solar panels on roofs, carports and awnings to ensure that over 100% of its electricity at the new facility is is generated from renewable energy sources.
  • INNOVATIVE BUILDING MATERIALS – The North Face used individually replaceable carpet tiles with 20-30% recycled content and reclaimed wood materials (diverting eight tons of wood from landfills). The North Face is sourcing cement panels that contain 50% fly ash, byproduct from burning coal, and using wall insulation made from 5,500 pairs of recycled jeans in one of the buildings.
  • EFFICIENT DESIGN – The design of the California campus ensures that use of day lighting is maximized and that the cooling system eliminates potent greenhouse gas emissions.

Since The North Face cannot neutralize its climate impact through reductions alone, the company looks to programs that can minimize its footprint externally by investing in renewable energy and carbon offsets.  That’s where The Conservation Fund comes in.

Since 2008 The North Face has worked with the Fund’s Business Partnerships program to calculate and offset 100% of the carbon footprint from its employee commuting and business travel. This program protects biodiversity and restores forests across America that are trapping carbon dioxide as the trees grow.  Support from The North Face has resulted in the planting of 21,500 trees in the Lower Mississippi River region on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Refuges like Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana that are providing important homes for wildlife including the federally threatened Louisiana black bear. In Northern California, The North Face is helping to protect California’s redwoods through donations to the Fund’s improved forest management project at Big River and Salmon Creek forests, home to the endangered coho salmon and coastal tailed frog.  All told, The North Face carbon investments will trap an estimated 20,700 metric tons of CO2 as the trees mature.

“The North Face is proud to partner with The Conservation Fund and grateful for its efforts to help our brand make strides to reduce carbon emissions and the effects of climate change,” said Adam Mott, Director of Sustainability, The North Face. “Protecting our wild lands is more than a business imperative – we are stewards of nature and future generations deserve our best efforts to retain the natural beauty and character of National Wildlife Refuges among other treasured areas.”

“There’s no more precious resource on our planet for clean air and clean water than our forests,” said Jena Thompson Meredith, director of corporate relations for The Conservation Fund. “Through its partnership with The Conservation Fund, The North Face has demonstrated its growing commitment to supporting the preservation of wild places and inspiring a global movement of outdoor exploration for people of all ages. It is a mission and ethic that unites every North Face employee, customer and athlete, and we are grateful for their continued leadership around forests and our global climate. Now more than ever, we are proud to call The North Face one of our most hailed business partners.”

And, for those wanting to explore the land that The North Face supports, the Fund provides guided tours highlighting light touch timber harvests, road improvement and restoration projects, and native plants, as well as tours tailored for youth education.  Or, visit one of the National Wildlife Refuges that are benefiting from commitment from The North Face, including: Big Branch Marsh NWR, Grand Cote NWR, Lake Ophelia NWR, Red River NWR, San Joaquin NWR, or the Upper Ouachita NWR. So don’t be afraid to get outside and go a little wild in the woods. Supporting high-quality forest offsets from The Conservation Fund is a double win for exploration and wildlife.