Archive for March, 2010

Let’s Talk: How to ‘Mainstream’ the Climate Change Discussion?

Since 2008, Timberland has hosted quarterly calls with a diverse set of stakeholders to support our long-term corporate CSR strategy. This level of transparency and accountability helps Timberland elevate a dialogue on material issues for our industry while providing us critical feedback as we chart our path to become a more sustainable organization.  Won’t you join us for the next quarterly call?

Date:  Thursday April 8, 2010

Time:  12:30 to 2:00 PM EST

Topic:  Discuss the challenges of how to make climate change resonate in a mainstream, retail space and how to scale consumer behavior change.

Timberland’s Jeff Swartz
Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farm

Please register for the event by emailing You’ll receive a response within 24 hours that confirms successful registration.

Be sure to sign up by April 5 to receive additional information about the call and call-in details! These materials will be sent the week of the call.

The results of this and other calls are posted on our reporting web page. This online stakeholder platform will provide a continuation of the discussion through stakeholder comments and discussion after the call.

Sustainability on the Small Screen

Wood Turner from Climate Counts appeared on the NBC 10 News program in Philadelphia yesterday to promote the good work his organization is doing to help consumers make better-informed ‘green’ choices in spending their money.  We’re honored to have been one of the examples Wood used of companies with a notable commitment to climate change!

View more news videos at:

Timberland Perspectives: The Truth About Transparency

A Responsibility Revolution Extra Guest Post from Jeffrey Hollender & Bill Breen

During the two years they spent writing The Responsibility Revolution, authors Jeffrey Hollender and Bill Breen conducted an intensive series of interviews at key companies on the leading edge of the corporate responsibility movement. In this bonus excerpt from Bill’s conversations with Timberland CEO Jeffrey Swartz and Timberland CSR Strategy Manager Beth Holzman, they share some of the additional insights and perspectives these encounters provided:

No company can claim to be authentically responsible if it doesn’t dare to get a little naked. Radical transparency—revealing your good, bad, and ugly impacts on society and the environment—is the first step toward turning critics into collaborators and collectively inventing aggressive ways to operate sustainably. As we show in The Responsibility Revolution, few publicly traded enterprises have done as much as Timberland to innovate around transparency.

Along with Nike and Gap, Timberland was among the first big brands to reveal the locations of its suppliers’ factories and open them up to outside scrutiny. More recently, Timberland developed its Green Index tag, modeled on a nutrition label, which rates many of the company’s hiking boots and shoes on their environmental impact. There’s also the quarterly phone dialogs with CEO Jeffrey Swartz, in which callers query him about hot-button issues like eco-labeling and sustainable sourcing, and many more strategies for building a glass house.

When Bill Breen and I reviewed his interviews with Swartz, Beth Holzman, and other corporate-responsibility execs, we found that they’d dug into five essential truths about transparency. Each comes through hard-won experience.

Transparency is often irritating, difficult, and scary.

Swartz: Our efforts to be more transparent around our good and bad impacts on society and the environment started with the disingenuous discourse between activists and brands about where our factories are located. It was kind of a silly argument. It’s not hard to figure out where 300 million shoes are manufactured in China. Ten minutes with a phone book would give you the addresses. I didn’t want to have that conversation. And the best way to not have the conversation was to simply reveal the damn locations.

Read the rest of this entry »

Technology Finds Second Life in South Africa

Six months ago, we shared with you the good work our European team is doing to give new life to old computers by donating them through Computers 4 Africa, a UK-based nonprofit which (as the name implies) refurbishes and ships used computers to schools in Africa and South Africa.

Through Computers 4 Africa, we recently received this update about where and how our donated PCs are now having an impact:

Computers donated by Timberland have made their way to KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

Half the population of KwaZulu–Natal is below the poverty line. The students are mainly Zulu with about 25% Indian intake. The principal of Lower Tugela Primary School, Hans Tulsee, recognised the importance of ICT education and as a result launched a computer room last year through local fundraising efforts. The room was to be officially opened on 30th Jan 2010.

Thinking of upgrading your own PC?  Consider donating your old one (or, donating your time to help a good cause) through Computers 4 Africa’s website.

Ceres Report: Sustainable Biz a Necessity, Not a Nicety

A report issued by Ceres this week sends a message loud and clear to for-profit business:
Start taking sustainability seriously – or else.

As energy prices rise, populations grow and resources become increasingly constrained, the report explains, sustainability strategies are no longer a “nice to do,” but rather a critical business necessity – and a factor in determining success.

“Sustainability performance is fundamental for business success in the 21st century,” said Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres, which published the report, The 21st Century Corporation: The Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability. “If businesses deepen their efforts to solve social and environmental threats, it will position them to innovate and compete in the fast-changing, resource-constrained global economy.”

The report provides a roadmap of sorts for integrating sustainability into every aspect of business, focusing on 4 distinct areas: governance, stakeholder engagement, disclosure and performance.  It also calls for significant performance improvements from companies by 2020. Among the report’s 20 key expectations for companies:

  • Make energy efficiency and renewable energy the foundation for company operations
  • Design and implement closed-loop systems so that air and wastewater emissions are eliminated and zero waste is produced
  • Dedicate 50 percent of research and development investment to developing sustainability solutions
  • Compensate and provide incentives for top executives and other employees to drive sustainability into the business

The good news is that many companies already recognize the challenges outlined in the Ceres report, and are incorporating them into their business planning.   Further good news?  Given the best practice examples the report includes, along with the clearly-defined roadmap for implementation, companies that are currently lagging behind can quickly and easily become educated, inspired and on their way to greater sustainability.

More information and report downloads can be found at

Helping Haiti from the Streets of Taiwan

Timberland Earthkeepers in Taiwan took to the streets last weekend with their “Help Haiti Road Show,” designed to raise support for relief efforts in Haiti. A team of models dressed in Timberland Yele Haiti gear paraded along streets in Taipei, accompanied by Janet Hsieh – actress, musician, designer and host of the travel show “Fun Taiwan.”

Minister Mario Chouloute, the Haitian representative to Taiwan, was also on hand to give a status update on recovery efforts in Haiti:

Our thanks to the Taiwan team for their efforts to raise awareness for the ongoing needs in Haiti. To learn more about how Timberland is contributing to Haiti relief efforts — and how you can help – visit our Help Haiti webpage.


Sundance ’09 Revisited: The Cove

In tribute to the film “The Cove,” which received an Academy Award for Best Documentary last night,  we’d like to replay the following video interview with Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens — The Cove’s director and producer, respectively.  Earthkeeper correspondent Annabelle Gurwitch caught up with the pair at last year’s  Sundance Film Festival, where she learned about the genesis for the Oscar-winning film:

Helping Haiti’s Children

Marie Jose Poux is a busy woman: the Haiti native now lives in New Orleans where she’s a hospice nurse and also owns an art gallery where she features the work of Haitian artists.  She’s also the director and founder of the Hope for Haitian Children Foundation HFHCF(HFHCF) – a nonprofit organization working to provide support and care for orphan children in Haiti.

Through HFHCF, Marie Jose operates Foyer Espoir Pour Les Enfants — an orphanage in Port au Prince, Haiti.  She travels to Haiti several times a year to bring supplies and donations to the orphanage – and was there on January 12 when the earthquake struck.

Some of the children of Foyer Espoir Pour Les Enfants

Like many individuals and organizations that were serving the people of Haiti long before January’s disaster occurred, Marie Jose’s mission now takes on (if that’s possible) greater importance and critical urgency.  HFHCF has facilitated the collection of desperately-needed supplies – enough to fill at least three 40-foot shipping containers – and last Saturday, the first container was packed and prepared by local New Orleans volunteers.  Our own partner Yele Haiti sponsored the cost of shipping the first container to Port au Prince (each container costs roughly $7,000 to ship, transport on the ground in Haiti and unload).

HFHCF is seeking support for their effort – most immediately, sponsors to help pay the shipping fee for the second and third containers full of supplies.  To learn more about the organization and how you can help, please visit their website.

72 Hours for Clean American Power

Over the next three days, hundreds of thousands of people will be urging their senators to pass clean energy and climate legislation as part of a 72-hour call-in campaign – a national grassroots’ effort by more than 30 groups.

The campaign is organized by environmental organizations, labor unions, veterans groups, faith and business leaders who want to build momentum for climate action.  The urgency?  Congress is, right now, setting its agenda for the rest of 2010. We need clean energy and climate legislation to be on the table.

 If you believe that investing in clean energy can create jobs, protect our security, put America at the forefront of a global market and help us solve global warming, then add your voice to the 72-hour campaign: either call 1-877-973-7693 or use the campaign’s “click to call” tool.  Let our elected officials know who you are — and that you support passing clean energy and climate legislation now.