SOURCE: The North Face

August 07, 2008 08:30 ET

The North Face Announces 40th Anniversary With Progressive New Initiatives

Company Celebrates 40 Years of Innovation and Exploration

SAN LEANDRO, CA--(Marketwire - August 7, 2008) - The North Face, the world's premier supplier of authentic, innovative and technically advanced outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear, today announced details of its Research, Design, and Development organizational changes, agreements impacting climate change, and the company's outdoor participation initiative. The company, founded in 1968 in Berkeley, California, is celebrating 40 years of innovation and exploration.

"For the past 40 years we have teamed up with the world's finest outdoor athletes, who constantly redefine the limits of what is humanly possible and provide us with invaluable, first-hand insights," said Steve Rendle, President, The North Face. "They inspire us to explore and push our own preconceived notions of what makes a successful company and brand."

The North Face RD&D is now restructured around four specific outdoor activities -- Outdoor, Action Sports, Performance Athletic, and Youth. This enables The North Face to focus dedicated teams on innovative products for these activity-based consumer groups. The company, building on its outdoor heritage, is deepening its connection with activity-specific consumers and enthusiasts.

"This new activity-based structure expands our business opportunity and strengthens our ability to bring the best products to the consumer," said Rendle. "We're reaching new specialty points of distribution and broadening the meaning of Never Stop Exploring."

The North Face today also announced three partnerships under its sustainability initiative. Under the agreements, the company will offset 100 percent of all North American facilities' energy use and has become a member of bluesign®, the independent industry textile standard.

Through work with the Environmental Protection Agency Climate Leaders program, The North Face has measured greenhouse gas emissions to begin a Greenhouse Gas reduction strategy. To initiate the footprint reduction, the company struck agreements with EI Solutions and Recurrent Energy to host a 1MW solar energy system at its West coast distribution center which will power more than 25 percent of its energy, eliminating more than 1,300 metric tons of CO2 annually.

In addition, The North Face has offset 100 percent of its North American facilities' energy through Bonneville Environmental Foundation's Green-e Climate Certified wind powered Renewable Energy Credits. The company also works with the Conservation Fund's Go-Zero program to offset any remaining emissions through their land restoration and tree planting programs.

Dedicated to understanding and improving the product manufacturing process, The North Face has become a member of bluesign®. As a bluesign® member, The North Face and bluesign® will work closely with mills and fabric suppliers to evaluate and improve the chemical make-up of materials at the very beginning of the product development process. In addition, bluesign® provides high standards for managing environmental, health, and safety (EHS) across the supply chain.

"The outdoor industry is a perfect platform to introduce new participants to the joys of the outdoors and the importance of conservation," said Letitia Webster, Director of Corporate Sustainability, The North Face. "To ensure future athletes, consumers, and conservationists, The North Face is committed to increasing participation in the outdoors through improving access and conservation of both the front and backcountry."

Building upon its $1 million donation to Conservation Alliance Legacy Fund earlier this year, The North Face is collaborating with the Children & Nature Network to sponsor the Natural Leaders program. The program, designed to guide and develop young adults, ages 14-24, in the outdoors, ensures youth leadership dedicated to getting their peers outdoors.

The North Face also supports the Recreational Performance Outerwear Apparel Act, the new legislation that supports consumers and promotes advanced U.S. textile technologies. The bill modifies the U.S. Tariff Schedule for specific types of high performance recreational outerwear and eliminates duty on these apparel categories. The legislation also contains a provision for investment in U.S. textile technologies and jobs that focus on advanced, sustainable, environmentally conscious manufacturing and streamlined supply chains. The North Face fully supported the Outdoor Industry Association's two-year research and work on the RPOAA legislation, done on behalf of the outdoor industry.

About The North Face®

The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1968. Headquartered in San Leandro, California, the company offers the most technically advanced products in the market to accomplished climbers, mountaineers, snowsport athletes, endurance athletes, and explorers. The company's products are sold in specialty mountaineering, backpacking, running, and snowsport retailers, premium-sporting goods retailers and major outdoor specialty retail chains.

About EI Solutions

EI Solutions is one of California's fastest-growing providers of commercial and utility-scale solar power systems. The company has completed projects for a wide variety of public agencies and private companies including Sony, BT and the largest solar installation on a US corporate campus, a 1.6 megawatt system on Google's Mountain View headquarters. EI Solutions' headquarters are in San Rafael, California, where all engineering, project management, finance and administrative functions are based. EI Solutions also operates a sales and marketing office in Pasadena, California, at the home of its parent company, Energy Innovations. More information can be found at www.eispv.com or by calling 800.237.0916.

About Recurrent Energy

Recurrent Energy is a leading solar power developer and an industry pioneer in Solar as a Service(SM). The company owns and operates onsite solar power systems, selling clean electricity to its customers at grid-competitive rates. By overcoming the barriers preventing widespread adoption of distributed solar power, Recurrent Energy makes solar a practical choice for today's large energy users in the commercial, government, and utility markets. For more information on Recurrent Energy and Solar as a Service, please visit www.recurrentenergy.com.

About the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF)

Founded in 1998, the non-profit Bonneville Environmental Foundation furthers the development and use of new renewable energy resources and restores watershed ecosystems. With the goal of powering change, BEF reduces dependency on fossil fuels by adopting clean, environmentally friendly sources of energy. Through revenues generated from the sales of green power products, BEF funds projects that restore damaged watersheds and support new renewable energy projects from solar, wind and biomass. BEF pioneered the sale of Green Tags in 2000 and has helped establish national standards for certification and trading. More information is available on the Web at www.b-e-f.org

About bluesign® technologies ag

Founded in 2000, bluesign® technologies is a leader in the new and rapidly growing market of EHS management along the textile supply chain and has developed corresponding tools and techniques for the bluesign® system partners such as textile manufacturers, chemical companies, retailers and brand owners including well known brands of the sporting goods industry such as Patagonia Inc. (California, USA) and MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op, Canada). Recently SGS has acquired a 50 percent stake in bluesign® technologies ag.

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