We’ve Got Sole. Because our roots in action sports, including surfing and snowboarding, depend on a healthy environment, we have a vested interest in protecting the planet and improving global communities for future generations. We’re committed to reducing the ecological footprint of our operations and products. Vans Sole, our environmental program, is divided into 3 pillars: Green Sole Operations, Green Sole Product and Street Sole.
Since 1966, the Vans brand has always been about the people. We’re dedicated to keeping that Van Doren family spirit alive by supporting and enhancing the communities in which we work. The Van Doren, brothers James and Paul, founded the company, and many members of founding family and the Vans culture are still part of the brand today.
GREEN SOLE OPERATIONS
As a leading global footwear, apparel and accessory brand, our operational footprint of offices, distribution centers and retail stores continues to grow. Our Green Sole Operations initiative helps keep our team on track to reduce our environmental simultaneously. Green Sole Operations focuses on two key areas: Energy and Waste.
Since 2012, we have doubled waste diversion at our Cypress, California headquarters. We recycled over 50% of our waste in 2014. This year, our goal is to reach 55% recycling.
Some of the steps we’ve taken so far:
- Throw It Out, Responsibly. Throughout all of our Vans office buildings our waste stations are clearly marked with descriptive signage so that everyone can dispose of waste easily and efficiently.
- Stay Hydrated. But use a reusable cup. Every employee has a reusable coffee mug and water bottle. We’ve installed filtered tap water stations to eliminate use of disposable plastic water bottles.
- Silver or Plastic? That’s an easy answer. We’ve replaced plastic break room utensils with reusable silverware, saving 3,000 plastic utensils per month. That’s a lot of utensils.
- Keep Score. We publish a monthly operational sustainability scorecard so that our goals relating to energy use, waste diversion and paper use are clearly communicated – to everyone.
In 2014, we installed 4 electric vehicle-charging stations. Charging stations are free for Vans employees and they help reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to gasoline-powered vehicles.
Our offices in Canada and Europe are going green as well by thoughtfully integrating sustainability elements, which include waste reduction and energy efficiency efforts.
Vans’ Santa Fe Springs, California Distribution Center is in the top 25% of distribution centers worldwide for energy efficiency as rated by the Energy Star rating system. In 2013, it became a zero waste to landfill facility. This means over 95% of waste from our distribution center is recycled. The remaining waste is diverted to a waste-to-energy facility. In 2014, we recycled over 97% of waste at this facility. Here are some of the ways we accomplished this:
- Divert It. Throughout all of our Vans office buildings our waste stations are clearly marked with descriptive signage so that everyone can dispose of waste easily and efficiently.
- Saving Cardboard. We recycle more than 11,000 lbs. of cardboard each day, saving enough energy to power the average American home for more a year!
- Think Outside the Shipping Box. Our comprehensive box reuse project is aimed at reusing as many inbound shipping boxes as possible for outbound shipping. Can you believe this saves more than 120,000 lbs. of cardboard each year?
- Give Back. Since 2012, we’ve been donating the proceeds from recycled cans to local charities.
Our Vans Mexico City Distribution Center is certified to the LEED standard, an internationally recognized certification system which provides third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at increasing performance, reducing waste and improving quality of life.
OUR RETAIL STORES
We operate over 300 retail stores in North America with over 1.5 million square feet of space. This is the largest opportunity for us to reduce our operational environmental impact. Some of the ways we’re achieving this:
- Smarter Materials. Our retail stores are built with FSC certified wood fixtures and low-VOC paint.
- Light It Right. Since 2012, we’ve been installing new energy efficient LED track lighting for all new and remodeled stores. LED fixtures use over 40% less energy compared to previous fixtures. More than half of our stores in North America currently use LED lighting, with the goal of converting 100% of our stores to LEDs.
- It’s In The Bag. Since 2013, we’ve been selling a reusable shopping bag, with proceeds benefiting the A.skate foundation and Surfer’s Healing. To date, we’ve donated over $1 million to these charities through the sale of this bag and saved approximately 75,000 lbs. of plastic.