This month’s Shining Light Company is VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC), an apparel company headquartered in Greensboro, NC. – just a couple hours away from our home office. At some point in your life, you have probably been a customer, as the company’s largest brands are The North Face, Vans, Timberland, Wrangler, Lee, and Nautica. VF’s success starts with their powerful brands which represent the interests and lifestyles of people of all ages around the world.
The company was first established in Pennsylvania in October 1899 as the Reading Glove and Mitten Manufacturing Company. Today, VF Corporation is a global leader in branded lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories with more than 30 brands, 64,000 associates and $12.4 billion in revenue. The corporate culture (they call it One VF) is a combination of creativity, teamwork, financial discipline, and top-notch operations. Many VF associates embody the lifestyles their brands represent. The Reef brand meetings often take place at a local surf break, The North Face brand associates are encouraged to get outside to use the brand’s products, and at Wrangler, cowboy boots are part of the work attire.
VF recognizes that their employees are at the heart of their success and welcomes each employee’s perspective and the talent they bring to the business. An atmosphere of inclusiveness, open communication, and fair treatment is a company commitment. An associate engagement survey is conducted every 18 months so the company can understand how associates feel about working at VF and in what areas they can improve. In the 2013 survey, 97% of associates said they are proud to work for VF. The company also invests in employees’ well-being through a wellness program they created called U.S. Be Fit for Life. This program encourages healthy lifestyle choices by offering employees and their families a variety of tools and resources.
CEO Eric Weisman’s formula for company growth includes strong financial control, brands that are winning against the competition, and cultivating top talent. In his own words; “Money and brands don’t do me any good if I don’t have talent.” To boost talent across the company, VF created ‘Lead the VF Way,’ a company-wide program that promotes professional growth through dozens of courses, training sessions, and coaching opportunities. VF is consistently recognized as one of the top companies for developing leaders.
Interns have always been an invaluable source of talent for VF. Their internship program at the World Headquarters provides students with experience in their fields of interest while also gaining exposure to broader parts of an apparel and footwear company. As part of the program, VF has partnered with Action Greensboro, a non-profit organization whose aim is enhancing the city’s quality of life, including programs to attract and retain young professionals.
VF employees around the world are giving back to their communities. Often, VF is the largest employer in a community. They recognize this important leadership role by acting as a good employer and engaging as a good corporate citizen. They believe that thriving communities mean thriving employees. Click HERE to see examples of some of their recent service projects and partnerships.
Sustainability and responsibility are at VF’s core. Manufacturing more than 500 million units of product every year, they consider how, where, and by whom those products are made, as well as the associated environmental and social impacts. Recent corporate sustainability efforts at VF include achieving a 5 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in 2015, overseeing more than 1,500 community service events in 2015, and pledging to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2025 at VF owned and operated facilities. Energy & Climate, Water, and Waste have been identified as three focus areas. Their Sustainability & Responsibility Report analyzes their environmental footprint and identifies their highest impact. Read more about the Sustainability & Responsibility program here.
VF Corporation has a strong heritage of living out their core values of honesty, integrity and respect for others. Their dynamic and dedicated workforce, regardless of which brand they work for or where they live, embraces these values and uses them to guide their decisions and actions. We applaud their upstanding approach to doing business and are proud to feature the VF Corporation as a Shining Light Company!
DISCLOSURE: Shining Light Companies are exemplary companies who live out the Golden Rule in their business practices, demonstrate strong servant leadership and create compelling value through the products and services they offer. This is intended for general information purposes concerning only the values, corporate culture and business practices of the companies being spotlighted. It DOES NOT incorporate any analysis of the companies’ investment merit based on intrinsic value, fundamental analysis, etc. This must not be construed as investment advice or a buy/sell recommendation. These companies may or may not be included in our LightPoint Portfolios at any given time.