The North Face has come up with a unique way of offsetting the carbon effects that are associated with modern farming by implementing new practices at the ranch that produces the wool for their “climate beneficial” Cali Wool beanie ($45).
One of the brand’s suppliers, Bare Ranch, located in Sunrise Valley at the border of California and Nevada, has implemented methods that, according to Fast Company, “sequester around 4,000 metric tons of CO2, offsetting the emissions from roughly 850 cars” per year.
The process started when Fibershed, an organization that focuses on regional textile production, reached out to Bare Ranch as part of its research; they then worked with The North Face to help develop a “carbon farming” plan.
In all farming, carbon is produced. It’s part of the natural cycle of growing crops. The key in reducing the effects of carbon emissions isn’t to completely get rid of carbon - that’s just not possible. Instead, farms and ranches can redirect that carbon, and make sure that it stays in the soil, not in our atmosphere.
Methods of removing more carbon from the air than produced at Bare Ranch include planting intermittent, short term crops between crops that need to be replanted every few years, avoiding bare soil where carbon can escape, adding complimentary crops to fields that help enhance soil, planting trees that will lock carbon into the soil, and managing where sheep graze all help keep carbon in check.
For The North Face, they determined that the most environmental impact of its products happened in production and manufacturing, which is why they switched to wool, which has a lower impact than other materials.
The North Face plans to add more wool into their 2018 line, but acknowledges scaling the program to produce more, while remaining sustainable, will be a challenge.
James Rogers, senior sustainability manager at the brand, told Fast Company, “In order to do that, we do need to see this idea grow more broadly, and we need to see not only other growers or ranchers adopting these practices, but other brands pushing for it as well and asking for the sourcing. We need to send that message from both sides of the supply chain.”
Although we’ll have to wait for a more comprehensive carbon-positive offering from the brand, for now you can purchase The North Face’s Cali Wool beanie.
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