North Face accused of ‘virtue-signaling’ for refusing oil-and-gas firm’s jacket order
By Valerie Richardson – The Washington Times
Mr. Anderson, CEO of Innovex Downhole Solutions in Houston, went public last week after The North Face rejected an order for 400 jackets with the Innovex logo because, as he told CBS7 in Midland, “we were an oil-and-gas services company.”
The denial came even though the vast majority of The North Face hoodies, coats, gloves, snow pants and other apparel, as well as tents and backpacks, are made with nylon, polyester and polyurethane — all of which come from petroleum. Fleece jackets are also polyester.
“The irony in this statement is that your jackets are made from the oil and gas products the hardworking men and women of our industry produce,” Mr. Anderson said in a letter on LinkedIn to The North Face CEO Steve Rendle. “I think this stance by your company is counter-productive virtue-signaling, and I would appreciate you re-considering this stance.”
With the exception of gasoline stations, there may be no industry in the world more dependent on fossil fuels than outdoor recreation, and yet The North Face is hardly alone. Patagonia for years has supported anti-fracking causes despite its heavy reliance on petroleum products for its apparel.
Seeking to stifle their own suppliers would appear to be a poor business model for the companies, but there is a certain political as well as financial logic behind it.
Both The North Face and Patagonia cater to younger buyers, who are more likely than their elders to be climate-woke, making the outdoor industry that much more susceptible to the environmental movement’s ongoing attack on the oil-and-gas industry’s bottom line and public image.
Examples abound. All six major U.S. banks have ruled out financing oil-and-gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, with Bank of America coming on board last month, amid political pressure from environmental organizations.
The Sierra Club, part of the Don’t Fund Arctic Drilling campaign, has made it clear that its goals extend beyond ANWR.
“We know, however, that preventing further climate chaos means that banks have to go far beyond just ending funding for Arctic drilling, or coal, or even tar sands,” Ben Cushing, senior campaign representative of Sierra’s Financial Advocacy campaign, said in a Dec. 1 post. “We have to #StopTheMoneyPipeline going from Wall Street to the fossil fuel industry for good.”