Karner Blue Global Ignites Vegan Momentum Strategy to Seek Cruelty-Free, Sustainable Alternatives
Kangaroo skin, or “K-leather” as it is known in the sports shoe industry, is still in great demand due to certain shoe manufacturers.
While Australia is still recovering from massive bushfires caused by poor environmental stewardship, kangaroos are still hunted in their natural habitats – although many are particularly at risk now after being driven away by the fires. And They are hunted and killed in the name of athletic shoes – namely soccer shoes.
This is why Karner Blue Capital (https://karnerbluecapital.com/), a socially responsible investment management firm, is calling on all major athletic shoe manufacturers to look for synthetic, cruel alternatives to K-leather. Karner Blue President Vicki Benjamin would love to share some insight into their investment strategies, industry research, and the results they are hoping for based on this outcry.
KBC’s ESG investment strategies focus on protecting our planet for future generations with a particular focus on preserving biodiversity, promoting environmental stewardship and improving animal welfare. Its aim is to provide sustainable and responsible investment products that enable investors interested in the treatment of animals, habitat degradation and the planetary risks of biodiversity loss to base their investments on their values.
This strategy aims for long-term growth in capital and dividend income by investing in global companies that are driving the future realization of a plant-based economy by promoting or innovating animal-free, environmentally friendly products while avoiding cruelty to animals and animal exploitation through implementation appropriate animal-centered strategies and procedures.
VFC has a KBC Impact Score of 2.73, which exceeds the mean KBC Impact Score for the entire textile and clothing industry by more than one standard deviation.
“We consider the items in bold below to be particularly important for promoting the preservation of biological diversity,” explains co-founder Andrew Niebler. “Compared to other companies in the industry, VFC works hard to reduce the amount of waste it produces and the amount of waste it produces after disposing of your clothing. As textiles and clothing is the second largest waste producer in the world, when analyzing this industry we focus on companies that think outside the box and manufacture products from recycled materials and find ways to recycle more materials and produce less waste ”.
- VF has two publicly available guidelines that address deforestation – the Animal Materials Guidelines (ADM) and Forestry Materials (FDM) Guidelines. The ADM bans leather derived from cattle raised on farms in the Amazon biome that have contributed to new deforestation in the Amazon. These efforts are designed to protect the largest intact tropical rainforest in the world. The RDM policy addresses the loss of old and endangered forests, as well as the loss of biodiversity and habitat related to deforestation and its impact on climate change. In addition, the FDM guideline minimizes the risk of deforestation through four measures: 1) supporting programs to conserve old and endangered forests, 2) prioritizing the use of certified sustainable sources, 3) promoting responsible forest management practices for suppliers, and 4) reducing the use of virgin material and prioritization of materials with recycled content. VF’s specific time-bound goals align directly with these strategies.
- VFC sources all down and feathers from RDS-certified suppliers (Responsible Down Standard)
- 90% of VFC’s wool is ZQ certified (recognized by ResponsibleWoolStandard). ZQ sheep graze on “free-range” pastures, on extensive agricultural conditions in the highland hills of New Zealand, in the outback of Australia, in the green plains of South Africa or in the mountainous terrain of South America. ZQ sheep are humanly treated, well fed, live natural and healthy lives, and are not exposed to mules, which means the fiber is of the highest quality and performance.
- The company aims to reduce the average impact of its key materials by 35% by 2025 and to publicly disclose the GHG impact of its top materials. The company is committed to sourcing 50% recycled nylon and polyester for its products by 2025.
- The company is a leader in innovation, particularly in relation to Timberland’s Ground to Good program. The clothing in this line is made in Haiti from plastic waste from water bottles.
- The company is also a leader in material innovation, especially in The North Face’s vegan spider silk jacket material, ThermoBall Eco recycled synthetic insulation and the Bottle Source Collection (product made from recycled plastic bottles from national parks).
- Approximately 40% of the company’s cotton comes from US growers who use some of the most advanced and efficient farming methods in the world. In the emerging cotton industries, the company has committed to certifying BCI, CMIA or organic cotton by 2020.
- The company’s total waste diversion rate increased from 65% in 2014 to 79% in 2016.
- The company’s North Face brand operates a Recommerce website, a secondary marketplace for used goods. To help consumers deal with clothing waste, the company has implemented take-back programs in more than 150 European stores. Items collected through these systems are either reused or recycled into new products, thereby reducing the waste streams on clothing and shoes. Since 2016, The North Face and Timberland have diverted over 10 tons of clothing from the landfill.
- By 2030, VF is committed to ensuring that 100 percent of its nine key materials, which account for around 90 percent of material-related carbon emissions, will come from regenerative, responsible renewable or recycled sources.
KBC believes that the combination of innovation and problem solving, together with a full acceptance of good practice in environmental and animal welfare, can better position companies for growth and success in today’s marketplace. Companies also have a responsibility to use their global reach and economic vigor to solve our planet’s sustainability challenges – and investors in these companies should use their power to drive a societal transition to a world where people learn in harmony with the world To live nature. This emphasis on the interconnectedness of the human and natural world is the hallmark of our approach and led us to become a certified B corporation, signing the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing and one of the original 26 signatories to the UN Treasury’s Biodiversity Pledge.
KBC uses a rigorous in-house research process to identify companies that are leaders in their respective industries when it comes to the treatment of animals and the protection of natural habitats, as these are important but often overlooked components in the fight to ensure health and health are vitality of our planet. Our portfolios are managed using a Quality at a Reasonable Price (QARP) investment approach, which measures the quality of a given company based on a combination of growth, profitability and balance sheet characteristics. Finally, we combine our investment strategy with targeted advocacy and engagement strategies that aim to positively shape corporate decisions that have an impact on biodiversity and animal welfare.
KBC’s Corporate Animal Blog is available at https://karnerbluecapital.com/the-corporate-animal/. Their blogs are helpful in understanding the wide range of topics KBC would like to consider when conducting its research.