Archive for 2010

Timberland Defines Outdoors

Looking back on 2010 and all that I’ve seen in our products and our company, all I can say is Timberland is certainly poised to be the #1 outdoor brand on earth! In every one of our product categories, I truly see a purpose and place for every design.

Even with our casual shoes we still keep performance in mind using technology from our outdoor performance products. We understand that customers want beautiful shoes that are built to last, sustainable and equip them to make the most of their outdoor experiences.  Whether you’re hiking a mountain or taking a stroll in the park, Timberland’s got you covered…literally!

New technology allows for completely waterproof footwear that doesn’t sacrifice style for performance.  Check it out:

And it gets even better.  Our products are created with Mother Nature in mind…from the ultra comfortable and sleek Earthkeepers line that focuses on creating a shoe from recycled materials, to our continued commitment to protecting the outdoors, we show that we are a true eco-conscious company that talks the talk AND walks the walk!

Stay tuned to see what we’ve got planned for 2011!

Bring Back the Patchwork Boots!

More boot love (and a request for our product team) from our customer email box:

Hi Timberland,

About 5 years ago I fell in love with a pair of your patchwork boots and received them for Christmas.  I absolutely LOVE my boots and EVERYWHERE I go… for the past 5 years I get stopped at least 5-7 times in stores from total strangers asking me where did I get my boots!!!  We got them in Atlanta!!  But you all do not sell these anymore and I think that is a big mistake.  I could probably put them on EBAY and get a high price.  I am serious.  Please bring these boots back to the market for consumers and your company.  They are loved.

Thank you and a Very Merry Christmas,

Crystal in North Carolina

In My Boots

We’re pleased to share the following story from Andy Friedman, a veteran Timberland account executive based in New York City:

On November 11th 2010, I had the pleasure of representing our brand at the 2010 Corporate Governance Awards dinner at Gotham Hall in NYC.  I was accompanied by my personal governance officer — my wife, Elana.

We were surrounded by notable companies such as Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Ann Taylor, FedEx.  All of us were making introductions, sharing what we do and, you never know how familiar your neighbor is with your company.  I have learned, many times over, to “just take it from the top” and share all of the exciting things the Timberland brand is involved in, to share the vision of the company and to share why I have committed the past 20 years to working for the brand.  Those who know me know that I don’t just tell a story, I tell the story.

People are always blown away by the product innovation, the community involvement, our brand’s staying power.  Everyone has a favorite story to tell about their 1st pair of Timberland shoes or favorite jacket, and everyone looks down at my feet to see what I am wearing.  I went against my personal governance officer’s advice and decided to wear my Abington boots with my tuxedo — a bold but proud move.

Unbeknownst to me, the gentleman to my right — a former Pfizer exec — happened to be on the evening’s panel of awards judges.  This coincidence reminded me, once again, how vital it is for the story of our brand and our business to be able to flow out of all of us, with whomever we are engaged with. It can only flow smoothly if we are informed, if we are passionate and if we are committed.  Earlier that evening I had shared with him that our Sales Team serves communities and schools in the Bronx—pre and post 9/11.  I shared that our employees are paid 40 hours per year to serve their community.

The nominees for the “Most Innovative Reporting” award were announced, and from across the table I heard, “we know who’s taking this one home”- he was looking directly at me.  The MC then announced that Timberland was, in fact, the winner.  I stepped up to the podium, proudly accepted the award, and returned to a table of congratulations.  I was extremely appreciative of the opportunity to represent Timberland in such good company, and proud to accept the award on our behalf.

Andy poses with the award and his personal governance officer, Elana

The honor didn’t stop there: the next morning, all nominees and winners were invited to be part of the “opening bell ceremony” at the NASDAQ exchange.  Wearing the same boots I wore the night before, I helped ring the bell to commence trading that day.

A truly amazing few days, wrapped around the recognition that Timberland strives for everyday – to be a responsible company that creates positive impact for our business, our consumers and our communities.  Based on my experience, I’d say we’re on our way.

I really am grateful that I was given this opportunity to accept this award.

Andy

Happy Anniversary to Sara and Her Boots

Anyone who has ever felt emotional about a pair of shoes (it’s not just me … right?) will appreciate the latest customer note from our inbox:

This Christmas, I will be celebrating my third anniversary with my favorite boots… a pair of knee-high Timberlands. They are the best pair of boots I have ever had. I get compliments on them all the time, even in their old age, and I have repaired the zipper just one time. Their durability, unique but simple style, and reliability are the qualities with which I am having this love affair.  :)

This is just a note to say, thank you. Though I will be ever so sad when they are finally put to rest, I am thinking next year, I look forward to buying a new pair just like ‘em from you folks. Although I am of modest means, I will return to Timberland whenever possible for my boot needs.

Thank you!
Sara in Oregon

The Season of Giving

Ann Caron is Timberland’s Code of Conduct Coordinator … and yesterday, she was one of a team of Timberland volunteers that helped to make the holidays a little brighter (and drier) for 250 children in our local community:

Yesterday I had the privilege to volunteer at a Timberland “shoe fit” for the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation.  I, along with fifteen other Timberland employees and family members, fitted 250 kids from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston with yellow boots as part of the Youth Foundation’s annual Christmas party for families in need.

Some of the things we witnessed were truly humbling.  I measured one boy’s foot to be a size 5, but he was currently wearing a size 3.  One boy told the person fitting him that he wanted his boots to be bigger so he could pass them along to one of his 6 siblings.  One boy refused to be fitted because he was embarrassed that he wasn’t wearing socks.

Ann Caron (front left) and Timberland volunteers spreading holiday cheer at the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation Christmas party

The fact that Timberland was part of this wonderful event makes me so proud and grateful to be part of this company …and appreciative to have experienced what is truly important during this holiday season.

Ann

Seasonal Sustainability

There’s nothing like adding a little more stress to the holiday season, but if there’s a way to do it, I’ll find it.   So, it’s only fitting that I would suggest giving some additional thought before racing through a veritable tree drive-through and getting a cut tree.  I should have thought about it years ago, but honestly, it just never occurred to me that there was such a thing as a fake tree.  I grew up in Michigan where pine trees are plentiful and the only choice was to cut it from your yard or buy it from a tree farm.

Is it ok to buy a tree that’s grown on a tree farm for the purpose of decorating your home during the month of December?   In the early 1900s the debate was a hot one, but surely there’s new thinking by now.  Is it better to buy a fake tree that would very likely made out of plastic, contain PVC and be imported from China?  If it’s true that 1-3 seedlings are planted the following spring for every one Christmas tree harvested then cutting one seems ok, but maybe neither is a good choice from an environmental standpoint…

So, there’s another option – a potted tree.  Gosh, it seems obvious, doesn’t it?  Buy the thing in the pot and treat it like any other Christmas tree (ornaments, water, etc.), care for it over the winter as any other house plant and give it a permanent home in the backyard when you start to think about your daffodils.  If you’re really going for it, then find an organic tree farm.

Photo courtesy of TreeHugger.

I realize an article on planning for Christmas that comes out in mid-December is like the Food Network doing a segment about turkeys on Thanksgiving Day, but join me next year, won’t you?  This is my personal campaign to raise awareness for option #3, the potted tree!   I’ll begin the campaign in 2011 — along with a resolution to eat better and exercise.

Just kidding about that last one.

Wasn’t There a Stephen King Novel About This?

This is precisely why I pretend not to know how to use our lawnmower — for safety’s sake.  From our customer email archives:

I wanted to contact Timberland regarding an accident I had last week.  I was mowing my lawn and tripped while pulling the mower backwards. I fell on my backside and in the process pulled the running mower onto my right foot.  Fortunately for me, I was wearing my Timberland Pro steel toe slip-ons.  The blade shaved a bit of the sole, then the seam between the sole and the steel toe, then struck the steel toe itself.

The bone in my big toe is crushed and my foot is badly bruised, but I feel very fortunate since I could have lost part or most of my foot.

Thanks for your product!

Kevin from Minnesota

Report Card: Timberland’s Social & Environmental Performance

Today, Timberland released our Q3 2010 CSR results. We issue quarterly reports about our social and environmental performance to be accountable for our impacts and progress towards forward-looking goals. As Timberland’s Strategy and Reporting Manager, it’s my job to collect all of this data and analyze its impact on the business. Are we on track to meet our goals? Are there areas we need to improve upon? We believe sharing both positive and (sometimes) negative results allows us to have a credible conversation with stakeholders – who in turn challenge and push us to reduce our impacts even further.

Here are some highlights from this quarter’s results, organized by Timberland’s Four CSR Pillars. Find the 1-page summary here, or check out the reports yourself by clicking on Reporting & Download tab of the new CSR page on Timberland’s online community.

ENERGY:

We achieved a 3% emissions reduction in Q3 2010 compared to Q3 2009. This achievement is due to energy efficiency improvements (LED lighting retrofits in our stores and energy efficiency improvements in our corporate headquarters) and additional stores in Europe purchasing renewable electricity. The continued decrease in emissions puts us close to our 50% emissions reduction goal.

PRODUCT:

We saw a slight increase in Green Index ® scores (7.28 in Q1 2010 vs. 6.61 in Q1 2009; higher scores demonstrate larger environmental impact) this quarter.  This is primarily due to scoring a greater range of products which include heavier, leather products that have a greater carbon footprint.  We are, however, happy to see a year-over-year improvement in chemicals and resources scores. This demonstrates our product teams’ increased focus on using water-based adhesives, as well as recycled, renewable, and organic materials, and reduced reliance on PVC.

WORKPLACES:

At the close of Q3 2010, 32% of our suppliers hold High Priority scores (compared with 27% of suppliers at the end of Q2 2010) primarily due to Wages and Working Hours.  With the economic situation improving (orders increasing) while labor shortages increase, we anticipate working hours to be a recurrent issue for many factories this year.  Our sourcing managers are working with more focus to regularly assess production capacities of their factories and make adjustments in orders or secure additional suppliers.

SERVICE:

Timberland employees served a total of 57,067 hours in the first three quarters of 2010, which represents a 5% decrease in hours served at the close of Q3 2009.  Continuing high demands on employees‘ time at our manufacturing facility in the Dominican Republic along with our distribution centers in Danville, KY and Ontario, CA led to a significant decrease in hours served as compared to this time last year.  However, in Q3 2010, employees in Europe, our Stratham headquarters, U.S. Retail and Asia posted gains in service hours.

How do you think we’re doing? Share your thoughts here on the blog or visit our online forum to share your thoughts on individual pillars.

The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men

Bill Shore is the founder and executive director of Share Our Strength, the nation’s leading organization working to end childhood hunger in America.  He’s also a valued member of Timberland’s board of directors.  In his spare time, he has written three books – the latest of which was published last month.


The book, entitled, “The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men,” chronicles the efforts of a group of scientists determined to find a vaccine for malaria — and in the process, examines the qualities, character and values inherent in individuals who commit themselves to creating positive change and addressing the world’s most critical problems, despite the odds, risks and challenges.

Much of Bill’s insights are universally relevant — and inspiring:

“As Dan Pallotta, founder of the ambitious and wildly successful AIDSRides, bicycle rides to raise funds for AIDS service organizations, once said to me:  ‘Don’t you suppose someone must have argued to Henry Ford:  ‘But that’s crazy — you’d have to build these gas station places all over the country and pave these incredibly long roads.’”  Great imaginations are almost always unreasonable, but they almost always triumph in the end.

Most of us won’t cure malaria or invent the next automobile.  So why are these elements of breakthrough thinking important in our own lives?  Can they apply to each of us?  They do if we believe that the organizations, communities, and world of which we are a part can do better.  They are important if we’re frustrated with the slow and incremental pace of social change, or if we wish to play some small role in lightening the suffering and struggles of those less fortunate with whom we share this planet.  They are the qualities that allow some people, gifted with great vision, to insist that, rather than taking the reasonable approach of adapting to the world, the world, in George Bernard Shaw’s words, must adapt itself to the unreasonable man.”

The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men, along with Bill’s other books, is available on Amazon.com.

Hope in Haiti: Fighting for Humanity

At first, I thought I was fighting to save rubber trees, then I thought I was fighting to save the Amazon rainforest. Now I realize I am fighting for humanity.

- Chico Mendes, Brazilian Environmentalist

This quote describes the transition in meaning of the Yéle Vert project Timberland is supporting in Gonaives, Haiti. At first we thought we were fighting to save Haiti’s rapidly declining tree population, then we thought we were fighting to save the region’s eroded farmlands and deforested hillsides. Now we realize we’re fighting for humanity.

12 months ago we set out to build nurseries so we could plant trees by the millions annually. Fast forward to today: a year after breaking ground on the first Yéle Vert community nursery, the five community nurseries and the larger central nursery are up and running at full capacity. Over the last month and a half, approximately 280,000 of the trees grown by farmers since July in the six nurseries have been transplanted by those same farmers to their land and various community-owned properties. Approximately 95,000 trees remain in the nurseries and will be transplanted over the next two months depending on rain and weather conditions – all under the very able direction of Timote George of Trees for the Future. When those trees are planted, Yéle Vert will have put approximately 475,000 trees in Haiti’s soil in its first year – despite the January earthquake, the October cholera outbreak and the November failed elections. And that’s not all. The farmers have already seen an increase in their crop yields as a result of their putting into practice the agroforestry training provided by the Yéle Vert program.

Timote George, project manager of Yéle Vert, standing next to a 4-month old Moringa Oleifera tree at the central Yéle Vert nursery. A red arrow has been added to show the top of the tree. The large-leafed bush on either side is Jatropha, which is used as a hedge to protect crops as well as for biofuel.

Next steps for Yéle Vert include the completion of an administration building at the central nursery by the end of December. The building will serve as Yéle Vert’s administrative HQ as well as provide storage for tools, seeds and supplies. Also, the environmental education component of Yéle Vert got underway recently. A local teacher is meeting regularly with children from the villages where the Yéle Vert nurseries are situated to give them environmental education lessons.  Eventually a full environmental education curriculum and accompanying text book (written in Creole, making it the first of its kind) will be introduced to each participating Yéle Vert community.

Rosie Despignes, who has begun to implement the environmental education component of Yele Vert, showing some of the curriculum material she has been preparing.

The progress of Yéle Vert has not been without challenges. In November one of the farmers, a regular Yéle Vert participant, died of cholera and several other people succumbed to the disease in Gonaives in recent weeks. This is when the aspect of humanity, although ever-present, shone through at its brightest. Hugh Locke and Samuel Darquin of Yéle Haiti joined Trees for the Future’s Timote George in conducting a cholera prevention training session with the Yéle Vert farmers.  Timote will be receiving additional prevention training from Partners in Health and Yéle Haiti has sent a shipment of bars of soap so that all six of the nurseries will begin to serve as community focal points for cholera prevention.

What is interesting is that this leadership role for the Yéle Vert nurseries is happening naturally because they are already a trusted and valued part of these farming communities.  Also, within the next few weeks the Yéle Haiti foundation will be building one compost toilet in each of the six Yéle Vert nurseries as a result of a request from the farmers. The farmers want to see how such toilets work so that they can install them at their own farms as a cholera prevention step. Currently most farmers’ homes are without even an outdoor toilet, which can lead to the spread of cholera.

From trees to training and text books, from soil and seeds to composting toilets, Yéle Vert has become an integral part of the lives of farmers and their families in six villages around Gonaives, Haiti. Yes, it takes a village to raise a child. And it takes a village to plant a tree as well. But it also takes support from private sector companies like Timberland and from committed non-profit NGOs like the Yéle Haiti Foundation and Trees for the Future to build and fulfill a vision of sustainable living rooted (pun intended) in environmental and agricultural education, stewardship and action to create a successful model for economic, social and environmental livelihood. That’s what Yéle Vert is. And that’s something to be celebrated – especially if you imagine the day where every village in Haiti has a Yéle Vert program with multiple nurseries that grow millions of trees annually. That’s hope for Haiti – and it’s real and it’s within reach.