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  • In the mid-1960s, Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins met over a business deal.

  • These two young men both shared a love for adventure and a passion for all things outdoors.

  • But they also had one more thing in common.

  • They would each found two outdoor gear companies that would become juggernauts in the field.

  • For Chouinard it was Patagonia, and for Tompkins it was The North Face.

  • Both companies were born from a love of exploration and a passion for trustworthy gear, but their

  • paths quickly diverged.

  • Chouinard kept Patagonia private and incrementally grew the company into a brand that is passionate

  • not only about good gear but about the environment and ethical practices.

  • Tompkins, on the other hand, sold The North Face in 1966 for $50,000 dollars and the company

  • transformed into a $2 billion publicly traded corporation over the next 50 years, and it

  • constantly straddles the line between a hunt for profits and staying true to its outdoor

  • adventuring roots.

  • Considering these two diverging paths, I've always wondered whether The North Face has

  • retained the same attention to the environment and ethical production as other sustainable

  • leaders in the outdoor industry like Patagonia or Cotopaxi, and, if you're looking to buy

  • new gear, is it worth it to buy The North Face over other similar brands?

  • The best way to understand The North Face's environmental approach is through its manufacturing

  • and production processes.

  • That's where, according to the company itself, 85% of their apparel's environmental impact

  • comes from.

  • The North Face produces a wide range of clothing lines from streetwear and t-shirts to full-body

  • Everest-tested snow suits that look like a wearable sleeping bags.

  • But The North Face never seems to be a leader in the field of sustainability.

  • Rather than pushing the boundaries of what a for-profit company can do in terms of environmentalism

  • and ethics, they follow in the footsteps of those that do.

  • For example, in 2000, Patagonia became the first brand to start using textile manufacturers

  • certified by bluesign, which seeks to minimize the harmful environmental effects of clothing

  • supply chains.

  • 10 years later, The North Face then began to partner with bluesign certified manufacturers.

  • And in 2013, Patagonia and Fjallraven announced their transition to only using cruelty-free

  • down for their jackets, and a year later in October 2014, The North Face followed suit.

  • So while The North Face's environmental practices are improving, they aren't necessarily

  • innovating and discovering new ways to lessen their impact, and part of this might be driven

  • by a need to keep profits high in order to appease shareholders, because the costs of

  • environmental ethical actions in the eyes of a multi-billion dollar company often outweigh

  • the benefits.

  • This is also present in dealing with waste after their apparel leaves their store.

  • The North Face has started to ramp up initiatives to prevent unnecessary textile waste in the

  • landfill like in-store clothing receptacles for used North Face gear or the recently launched

  • pilot of a program called The North Face Renewed, which takes used gear, refurbishes it, and

  • then sells them at a high price point.

  • They even have a lifetime guarantee for their product, but that guarantee quickly falls

  • apart when you look at the fine print.

  • Their warranty only really protects against factory defects and not general wear and tear.

  • So, once again, The North Face does have some solid environmental practices and initiatives,

  • but unfortunately, they still are caught between two interests: making sure their quarterly

  • profits are on the up and up, and making sure they are creating environmentally ethical

  • clothing.

  • So, is The North Face worth your money?

  • For me, no.

  • Honestly, the most environmentally conscious purchase is nothing at all or buying something

  • used if anything, but if I had to choose a sustainable brand it wouldn't be The North

  • Face.

  • They seemed to be held back by a constant need to boost profits and expand their brand,

  • in ways that brand like Patagonia or Fjallraven might not be.

  • Ultimately, for an outdoor retail brand that commands a large chunk of the industry, The

  • North Face has the opportunity to challenge its competitors to excel as much as a for-profit

  • company can in terms of sustainability.

  • But just looking at the company's actions in the last couple of years, The North Face

  • only seems to be waiting for the tide to drag them along.

  • Hey team!

  • Charlie here.

  • Thanks for watching and thank you to the thousands of new people who subscribed in the past week.

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  • Again, thanks for your support and I'll see you on Tuesday with the news.

In the mid-1960s, Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins met over a business deal.

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Is The North Face worth your money?

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    joey joey に公開 2021 年 06 月 12 日
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