The North Face shuts stores in bid to make Earth Day global holiday

Outdoor retailer The North Face closed its global headquarters and more than 100 stores in the US and Canada on Monday, April 22, as part of its effort to make Earth Day a global holiday.

The store closures are the culmination of The North Face’s Explore Mode campaign, which saw the brand partner with musicians, artists and culinary influencers on pop-up events throughout the US.

The move follows a campaign launched four years ago by fellow US outdoor retailer REI to shut its stores and website on Black Friday and instead encourage customers to #optoutside.

Before closing its bricks-and-mortar stores in North America, The North Face switched them to Explore Mode, so customers could find resources to spend Earth “off the grid”, including an exploration kit filled with “analog gear to stay present and capture memories without the need for digital devices”.

“We believe that when people take time to appreciate the Earth, they feel more connected to it and are more likely to protect it,” Tim Bantle, global general manager of lifestyle at The North Face, said.

“Explore Mode urges us to unplug from our digital lives to connect in real life to the world, each other, and ourselves in the effort to move the world forward.”

Petition to make Earth Day global holiday

The North Face was one of 16 organisations, including global brands like Clif and S’Well, that launched a petition with Change.org earlier this month to make Earth Day a national holiday everywhere.

At the time of this writing, more than 128,600 people had signed the petition, which has a goal to reach 150,000.

Other retailers, such as Tapestry Inc, also took the opportunity of Earth Day to announce sustainability initiatives.

As part of its new corporate responsibility goals, the parent company of Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent, water usage by 10 per cent and waste in its North American corporate arm by 25 per cent and recycle 75 per cent of its packaging by 2025.

The company also aims to source 90 per cent of the leather it uses from eco-friendly tanneries and achieve 95 per cent traceability of its raw materials to ensure a transparent supply chain.

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