Clothes manufacturing, and fast fashion in particular, is the second "dirtiest" industry on the planet, causing enormous amounts of waste and pollution. To address this, companies need to look at every aspect of their production line. North Face, in conjunction with an organization called Fibershed, is working to develop wool that will actually give back to the planet, by creating a "carbon farming" plan with the ranchers who produce it.
Fast Company reports that Fibershed first reached out to Bare Ranch to help them make simple adjustments in their production so that their farm would have a positive effect on the amount of carbon it produces. Many farms can work to reduce carbon, since plants absorb it. But measures like planting fallow fields, layering compost, and planting trees made it possible for Bare Ranch to save 4,000 metric tons of CO2, which is about the same as the emissions from around 850 cars.
Lani Estill, a rancher from the farm, told Fast Company, “I like to think of the carbon farming and the climate beneficial work that we’re doing now as a change of thought."
They continued, “So instead of doing things normally–obviously, we’re raising sheep the same way that it’s been done for hundreds of years–we also think about the soil and the land when we’re making decisions.” The wool produced through Bare Ranch is now used to make North Face's Cali Wool Beanie, one of the company's top selling hats.
And it looks good, too: