North Carolina-based Renfro Brands is demonstrating its motto “a life well-lived is lived in socks” to the fullest with the launch of a new social responsibility program called Project Footprint. Renfro, a manufacturer of high-quality socks for Fruit of the Loom, Merrell, Hotsox, K. Bell, and Polo Ralph Lauren, is launching its own direct-to-consumer line Loops & Wales, in conjunction with the new program.
For the century-old company, it’s a modern rebrand with environmental and community impact front-of-center for the business. The goal is to create a more sustainable future through internal and external company actions that will benefit the local and global community.
At heart, Project Footprint is designed to give back. On a sourcing level, this means Renfro will commit to using sustainable materials, including yarn, for at least half of its products in the next three years – to use only sustainable and recyclable materials by 2030. The changes in source materials mean new consumer products, including ones made with recycled materials such as organic cotton and bamboo. All of Renfro’s suppliers have already achieved at least one sustainable certification, and 30 percent of the company’s packaging components are reusable. Each of these is a puzzle piece to ensure that Renfro cuts waste sent to landfills in half and is powered by at least a third of renewable energy by 2025. Additionally, the company is planning corporate tree plantings and installing green roofing on its buildings.
But Project Footprint isn’t just about the environment. Renfro also is making changes in hiring. The 1,200-employee strong company has set a new goal to increase the number of BIPOC managers to 20 percent by 2025. The company will also partner with BIPOC and LGBTQ designers to amplify those voices. Additionally, Renfro is increasing the number of women at the executive level by at least 40 percent. Both changes are already being implemented successfully. Overall, the company knows that its success is tied directly to its community. To give back, there is a new emphasis on employee volunteerism. Project Footprint plans to donate $1 million dollars worth of employee hours to non-profit work.
“We are extremely proud of where we are today as a company, and that is thanks to our employees, partners, and communities who have supported and trusted us over the past 100-years,” said Renfro CEO Stan Jewell. “Project Footprint is not only our way of growing what our founders started but continuing our commitment to living our vision of helping people get back on their feet to achieve a life well-lived.”
Renfro is one of many fashion companies making changes as a result of recent reports from United Nations scientists about climate change. With many footwear companies realizing their manufacturing directly impacts the environment, these significant changes across many brands are adding up to make a big difference in cutting carbon emissions across the world.