- The Washington Times
Monday, May 10, 2021

The North Face may be too woke to make jackets for oil-and-gas workers, but that doesn’t mean its commitment to providing petroleum-based products has gone unnoticed.

The Louisiana state legislature approved Thursday a concurrent resolution honoring the outdoor apparel company as an “extraordinary customer,” commending The North Face for maintaining a “symbiotic relationship” with the state’s oil-and-gas industry despite rejecting the jacket order in December.

“Last year, The North Face awkwardly rejected an order for 400 jackets from an oil-and-gas services company because the request apparently did not align closely with the company’s environmental protection goals,” said Republican state Sen. Stewart Cathey Jr. in a floor statement.

Mr. Cathey, the resolution’s sponsor, wore a gray North Face jacket during his floor speech.

“But since the North Face continues to offer a great selection of high-performance outerwear, ski wear and backpacks made out of nylon, polyester and polyurethane, all of which come from petroleum products, I thought it would be a great idea to highlight the symbiotic relationship between Louisiana’s oil and gas and petrochemical industry and The North Face,” he said, “and commend them for using natural resources so important to our state as they make their products.”

Louisiana isn’t the first to single out The North Face for its petroleum-heavy product line with a mock award.

In March, the Colorado Oil & Gas Association recognized The North Face as its first “oil and gas extraordinary customer,” saying it was hard to beat the company’s commitment to the fossil-fuel industry.

“North Face came out, didn’t want to associate with us, but hey, I don’t want to judge them on their words, we’re going to judge them by their actions,” said Chris Wright, CEO of Liberty Oilfield Services, in a March 8 press call.

He said he went through the company’s catalog and “failed to find a single product that wasn’t made out of petrochemicals,” estimating that more than 90% of their items were made with petroleum versus 60% of all fibers globally.

Not surprisingly, The North Face has yet to accept or acknowledge the awards, which stem from its refusal to accept an order from Innovex Downhole Solutions, a Houston company that provides products and services for oil-and-gas producers.

The North Face has declined to comment on the Innovex order, but told the Financial Times in December that it “thoroughly investigates product requests to ensure they align closely with our goals and commitments surrounding sustainability and environmental protection.”

The North Face brand is owned by the Denver-based VF Corporation, an apparel maker that includes on its website a series of climate goals, including pledges to reduce “the impact of our key materials by 2025” and use 100% renewable energy by 2025.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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