Cortney C. McDermott

thumb_Cortney_PICHead of CSR & Sustainability at The North Face (VFC) in Europe, and Chair of the European Outdoor Group’s Sustainability Working Group

Wednesday October 12th - 11.40-12.40 am: SEMINAR #6

Topic: A Sustainability Roadmap: The Outdoor Industry's Sustainability Working Group’s Vision


Sustainability is one of the biggest challenges facing business today. Everybody is affected by it, and the solutions are complex.

The outdoor industry is at the frontline of this important struggle. Its very existence is about enjoying a relationship with our natural surroundings. In addition, this first hand experience of the state of the planet has made outdoor consumers very aware of this issue, and they are now placing strong demands on companies to tackle them.

Since October 2008, The European Outdoor Group's Sustainability Working Group (SWG) has been working in partnership with the OIA's Eco Working Group in the US to provide solutions to the huge sustainability challenges facing the industry.

In this presentation, Cortney McDermott, Chairman of the SWG, will examine the benefits of a collective approach to sustainability. She’ll explain how the SWG works and guide you through the rollout and applications of the Outdoor Industry's Eco Index.

Initiated by the OIA's Eco Working Group in the US in 2007, the Eco Index is an environmental assessment tool for apparel, equipment and footwear products containing environmental guidelines (best practices), performance indicators and metrics, and a comparative scoring system.



Recipient of 15 university, state and national scholarships and awards in high scholarship, notable community service and university initiative, Cortney completed a 5-year University & Departmental Honors BSc Summa cum laude in 3 years and then procured her MSc in International Relations at the London School of Economics in just one year.

Her written academic contributions include Lin Pao and the Dynamics of the Mao-Deng Transition: A Study of the Market impact resulting from the Mao Tse-tung - Deng Xiaoping Transition and Motivé-e-s et Zebda: Le Chant des Partisans, which was studied and written in situ (Toulouse, France).

Cortney next moved to the north of Italy, where she currently lives, to teach business English and English as a foreign language in collaboration with the European Community. She joined the management and marketing department at The North Face Italia Italy (VF Corp) in 2005 and was appointed CSR & Corporate Communications Manager for the EMEA region in 2008. As head of CSR & Sustainability, Cortney manages sustainability & communications risks and opportunities for the business, and identifies industry ‘best practices’ in sustainability and implements them internally. She joined VF Corporation’s Sustainability Council in 2010.

Her most recent related publication, Corporate Agenda 21: a unified global approach to CSR & Sustainability (which won the Best Paper Award from the New York Corporate Communications Institute), is a conceptual study designed to establish the feasibility and benefits of forming a cross-industry corporate sustainability association. Since its inception in 2008 Cortney has been the Chairperson of EOG's Sustainability Working Group. She also serves on the Outdoor Industry Association’s Eco Working Group (US) Advisory Council for 2010. She speaks four languages fluently, plays the guitar, piano and canto and is a regular marathon runner.

VF Corporation: VF is a $7.2 billion apparel powerhouse, with an incredibly diverse, international portfolio of brands and products that reach consumers wherever they choose to shop. Over the years, we have built a foundation for sustainable, long-term success, based on our diversity, a culture that is perpetually driven to succeed and our ability to manage large-scale complexity. VF is a publicly held company listed on the NYSE (VFC) with locations in over 150 countries globally.



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  • Corporate Agenda 21: a unified global approach to CSR & Sustainability (Publishing House: Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Emerald Publications, vol. 14 No. 32008), a conceptual study designed to establish the feasibility and benefits of forming a cross-industry corporate sustainability association

Babylon: Sustainability Languages and the Eco Index (Published in Salt Magazine) March 2010
  • Biography published in the U.S. Library of Congress (The National Dean’s List 23rd Annual Edition 1999-2000, Library of Congress no.79642835).

Conference Presentations

  • ISPO 2009 and 2010
  • OutDoor Friedrichshafen 2008, 2009, 2010
  • UK Innov_ex  Conference: 2010
  • NYC Corporate Communications Institute Corp Comm Conference: 2008
  • Bluesign conference Friedrichshafen 2010
  • EOG open meeting Friedrichshafen 2010

Awards and Merits

  • National Deans’ List
  • Lincoln Academy of Illinois Award
  • Outstanding Delegate Award for the Economic and Social Committee at Midwest Model United Nations – 1999
  • Outstanding Delegate of Fifth Committee – Model UN – 2000
  • Outstanding Individual Community Service Award
  • University Standard of Excellence Award
  • EIU Certificate of Appreciation;
  • University Academic Achievement Award
  • College of Sciences Undergraduate Research Award
  • Best Paper Award (Corporate Communications Institute of New York) –
  • 2008 Eunice Dougherty Scholarship
  • University Honors Scholarship
  • C.A. Hollister Pre-Legal Studies Scholarship
  • Founders’ Scholarship – Sigma Kappa
  • Governmental State Scholarship