GREENSBORO – A new online tool from VF Corporation allows customers to trace the origins of their products right through the supply chain. The tool – which looks to have drawn inspiration from a similar transparency mapping initiative by Marks & Spencer – outlines the supply chain footprint for ten of VF’s brands’ best known products through sourcing maps. Product footprints are outlined for brands including The North Face, Vans and Timberland. The interactive maps display the number and locations of suppliers in a region and users can zoom in for a close-up look at each supplier, including onsite inspections, verifications and associate interviews.
The source maps, available on VF’s sustainability website, are aimed at ensuring every step in the production of VF’s apparel and footwear meets the corporation’s standards of quality, sustainability and social responsibility.
“Consumers today want to do business with companies who are committed to social responsibility,” said Shanel Orton, VF’s traceability manager. “We want to know with certainty, too. This provides increased confidence that our practices are consistent with VF’s principles.
“The amount of effort needed to fully map the supply chain of a single product, and build verified data for each supplier, is not a simple task. This includes mapping where we acquire raw materials such as cotton and rubber, to the various factories that manufacture and produce a finished product, to the distribution centres from where the product is shipped. For example, for a single Vans® product, VF identified 78 unique suppliers in the full supply chain of that one product. Through the creation of the source map, a consumer can now follow the creation of Vans’ classic Checkerboard Slip-Ons starting with the cotton fibres that are woven into material for the shoes.
“These maps tell a powerful story about how our products are made. We can use this information to continually improve our supply chain footprint.”