The North Face Goes Local with the Backyard Project

Jun 22, 2015 11:30 AM ET

Prove Your Purpose

Going local has been the trend for many companies looking to create a more sustainable supply chain. Chipotle, Stop & Shop and even JetBlue have sought out local options to heed consumer demands. And although it's not often we think of local beyond what we eat, that all changed when one major apparel company worked to create a product entirely from its own backyard.

When The North Face, a major U.S. apparel company, was introduced to a nonprofit promoting locally made textiles near its headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area, the brand decided to see just how close to home it could produce a product. This was the foundation for the Backyard Project, an initiative to examine the efficacy of a local supply chain and determine if the brand could find everything it needed to produce a hooded sweatshirt within 150 miles of the company headquarters. The process required The North Face to not only work closely with local suppliers, including heirloom cotton farmers and sewing teams, but also explore ways to reduce waste to maximize the small batch fabric.

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