VF Corporation has pledged to protect children’s rights and eliminate child labour throughout its global apparel supply chain by 2025. The group, which owns the Vans, The North Face and Timberland brands, is also launching a new platform to invest in new, future-focused opportunities.

The Child Rights Action Pledge comes as the United Nations (UN) has declared 2021 the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.

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According to the International Labour Organization, although child labour has decreased by 38% in the last decade, 152m children are still in child labour.

As part of its pledge, VF commits to integrate the Children’s Rights and Business Principles developed by UNICEF, the United Nations Global Compact, and Save the Children. The Principles aim to maximise positive contributions and minimise negative impacts on children.

In addition, VF will continue to strengthen its child rights efforts through:

  • Increased due diligence in VF’s upstream supply chain;
  • It formalised Child Rights Policy inclusive of protocols for prevention, mitigation and remediation of child labour;
  • Enhanced review and assessment of supply chain purchasing practices, wages and working conditions for parents and care-givers to understand potential contributions to child labour risks;
  • Enhanced NGO partnerships focused on supporting children, advancing education and addressing the root causes of child labour.

“Our new pledge embodies all of the important work VF has done to date and further demonstrates our aspirations to being a leading industry advocate for the rights of children,” says Julie Sutton, VF senior director global impact and government affairs.

Venture Platforms

Meanwhile, VF has launched Venture Platforms, the newest component to its overall brand portfolio strategy.

The pillar complements the existing Core Brands (VF’s large, global brands, including Vans, The North Face and Timberland) and Emerging Brands (the remaining ten brands in the company’s portfolio).

“To ensure VF’s sustained growth over time, it’s imperative that we gain greater and earlier visibility into disruptive business models and capabilities within our industry so that we can incubate and invest in new, leading-edge, consumer-led ideas,” says Steve Rendle, VF’s chairman, president and CEO. “Venture Platforms will help us do this by serving as a complementary pillar to the existing growth and innovation strategies that already sit inside our company and brand portfolio.”

Venture Platforms has two reinforcing arms:

  • VF Venture Foundry: An internal business model incubator established to focus on new or evolving business models, platforms, experiences, and services within VF’s existing brand portfolio, as well as to address disruptive opportunities outside of its current operations.
  • BaseLayer Ventures: A new venture capital fund in which VF has provided the anchor investment. It tightly aligns with VF Venture Foundry and will provide critical seed and A stage capital to concepts that originate inside VF, as well as external start-ups.

Venture Platforms is led by a small team working in close coordination with VF’s brands and Entrepreneurs in Residence. It is supported by a venture advisory board that includes representatives from VF brands and functions in addition to select external venture experts.