Outdoor brand The North Face, a global leader in the industry, has launched a ‘Reset Normal’ initiative to help address inequity in outdoor sports and activities. Communities of color are more likely to live in nature-deprived areas. Additionally, racism makes it challenging to explore the outdoors.
The North Face is attempting to combat that, including donating $7 million to the cause and partnering with influencers like Jimmy Chin and Lena Waithe. The Explore Fund Council hopes to connect to diverse communities to the world of exploration in its first year.
Lesnard cited the challenges of 2020 as motivation to accelerate the goal of increasing diversity in the outdoors and a driving force behind the creation of the council. “We believe enlisting these external experts will help us achieve our ongoing goal of truly making exploration for all” said Lesnard in referencing the potential in working with the group, particularly Emmy-award winning producer Waithe. “As a brand, we have long admired her work and are excited to partner with a strong voice like Lena’s to continue to advocate for change and access in the outdoors” commented Lesnard.
The initiative also has impact internally for The North Face. The company created the Racial Equity Council to promote inclusiveness in the company. “We have also engaged in an employee listening strategy which is aimed at gathering the ideas and perspectives” stated Lesnard. Parent company VF Corp also plans to have 25% of senior leadership roles held by people of color by 2030.