North Face refused to fill an order for jackets to a Texas oil and gas company because they didn't want their brand to be associated with the fossil fuel industry, then they won an award for making clothing with the very natural resources they decried.
Innovex Downhole Solutions Inc. CEO Adam Anderson was the one who placed the order for 400 jackets as a Christmas gift to employees of the company. Instead, the distributor told him that the order had been declined by North Face because Anderson wanted to emblazon the jackets with his company logo. This was a North Face no-no.
Anderson told Hart Energy that the distributor was the one who relayed the news of the order's refusal, telling him that it was "not consistent with its brand standards," due to Innovex being an oil and gas company.
"Officially, they don't put that in their terminology, but they told him it's because if you look at their official disclaimer it references other companies they wouldn't want to be co-branded with such as alcohol, tobacco, porn," Anderson said.
Anderson brought this to the attention of VF Corp. CEO Steve Rendle in a letter, where he said that "low-cost, reliable energy is critical to enable humans to flourish."
He also pointed out North Face's hypocrisy, writing "Without oil and gas there would be no market for, nor the ability to create, the products your company sells," he wrote.
The award was given by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association in recognition of North Face's use of fossil fuel products to make their outdoor gear. It was the first of its kind by given by the industry and highlights the hypocrisy of the winter clothing company, who uses petroleum in its manufacturing yet virtue signals against the industry it regularly does business with, according to local news.
Dan Hayley presented the appreciation award, termed the "Extraordinary Customer Award," noting that the outdoor clothing giant uses petroleum in virtually every piece of clothing it manufactures.
The 400 jackets it could have sold to the oil and gas company would have been right at home in the oil and gas company, but according to that company's CEO, North Face said they don't want to be associated with the industry... even though that industry is what make their business possible.
Apparently, North Face said that the oil and gas industry "doesn't meet it's brand standards." North Face has a fleet of private jets, and uses petroleum in backpacks, clothing, jackets, and so much else that they produce.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Association is using this experience of exposing hypocrisy to launch an ad campaign to let people know just how much of the fabric of our lives has been made possible by fossil fuels.
Texas House Representative Dan Crenshaw slammed the company for their refusal to do business with the oil and gas industry, saying: "Ah yes, North Face, who is fully divested from oil and gas except for..... their supply chain, synthetic petroleum-based clothing materials, transportation, retail stores, and manufacturing. Virtue signaling is exhausting. Stop it."
Anderson was able to buy the jackets from Eddie Bauer instead. "The jackets are one thing and the solution to that problem isn't really a big deal," he said, "but I think it really hit a nerve—the idea of the population in general and even within our industry of apologizing for what oil and gas does. What we do is good for humanity and good for the world. Like everything, there's trade-offs. But I think somehow in the oil and gas world, we only talk about the small portion of challenges. We don’t talk about the 99% of oil and gas which is great for humanity."
Hart Energy reached out to North Face for comment, but received only a stock reply: "Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. We receive many requests from different companies or organizations to partner on co-branded product, and evaluate each individually based on multiple criteria, including product supply, time constraints, and if they align to our brand values. To respect the privacy of these organizations we keep the results of these decisions private."