Archive for September, 2010
Last week I was able to experience what every young professional dreams of… my first business trip! After being asked to go, there were so many things to consider. What would I bring? How would I get there? And most importantly, what would I wear?
Since I was traveling down with Timberland’s Values Marketing lead, I assumed that we would take a train to the Nature Needs Heroes event on Governors Island in New York to minimize our carbon footprint. To my surprise, due to the time constraints of making the entire trip in one day, we needed to travel by air.
The morning of, I got up at 3 AM, put a head-to-toe Timberland outfit together (rocking my EarthkeepersTM Bethel Buckle boots) and got to Logan a solid hour and forty minutes before my flight. Aggressive? Maybe. But my first trip jitters were getting the best of me, and it was not without a few hiccups. Between a last minute flight cancellation, getting dropped off at the wrong address and missing the first few ferries to the island, I was starting to feel like my first business trip was experiencing a little turbulence…
When I finally made it to the Governors Island event, I was taken back by how our North America Marketing team didn’t miss a detail: Between the mason jar beverage glasses, recycled shipping container displays, locally sourced food and plant-your-own-tree station, they had thought of everything. And the journalists at the event seemed to have the same reaction I did. One writer complimented, “this is so Timberland!”
The outdoor event was so serene with a clear view of the Statue of Liberty directly across from us. Guests were laying in hammocks, playing outdoor games, checking out our Fall 10 and Spring 11 EarthkeepersTM products and taking bike tours around the island with smiles on their faces. I especially liked seeing our tree planting videos playing in one of the shipping containers, partially because I helped gather those assets for the event, but mostly because it was great to see our global tree planting commitment story being told alongside our products.
After the event ended, we headed to the Timberland Soho store where I had the opportunity to meet other members of the Timberland team, who did a great job helping me pick out my new Quilted Light Down-Filled Jacket. I couldn’t go to Soho and not go shopping!
When the day was over and I was walking back to my car at the airport with ready-to-expense receipts for my travel expenses in-hand, I concluded that my first business trip was a success. I can only hope that my work at Timberland will bring me to even more new and exciting places. And just in case my manager reads this… I’ve always wanted to go out west
Timberland Global Marketing Associate
This morning Timberland CEO Jeff Swartz hosted one of our regular CSR Stakeholder Calls. Coming off our commitment made to plant 5 million trees in the next 5 years (announced last week at the Clinton Global Initiative), Jeff was joined by Trees for the Future Founder Dave Deppner to talk about The Real Impact of Tree Planting. Our logo’s a tree and we’re an outdoor brand, so tree planting might seem like a natural connection for Timberland. But we don’t just plant trees for the sake of doing so — we’re committed to ensuring our tree planting efforts create positive impacts for people and the environment. And what’s more, we know we can’t do this alone.
Our friends at the New York Restoration Project(NYRP) eloquently stated the case on today’s call: having an effective strategy is necessary to be successful. In the case of NYRP, they’re deciding where to plant 1 million trees based (in part) on data that connects adolescent high asthma rates with a lack of clean air in local neighborhoods. This is not simply environmental restoration (a worthy cause unto itself) – it’s the creation of health, social and economic benefits.
This is the same model that Timberland uses. We truly believe that tree planting can be a viable way to create sustainable agriculture, environmental restoration and socio-economic development, whether we’re planting trees in the Horqin Desert in China, the Marston Vale forest just north of London, or in rural communities. The areas of need are too many to name. On this morning’s call, we took a virtual trip around the world – discussing tree planting projects that Timberland is involved in, as well as the work of many others. We started off with the reforestation work underway in Haiti, and stakeholder participants shared information about their own projects – such as the World Wildlife Fund’s project to restore tiger habitat in Nepal or The Nature Conservancy’s tree planting efforts in Brazil.
So here we’ve gone from Haiti to China to Nepal to Brazil – “all without getting on a plane,” as Jeff Swartz candidly pointed out (how’s that for having your CEO understand the connection to carbon footprint!). The point I’m making here is that Timberland can’t do this alone. We rely on partnerships with groups that have the know-how, technical expertise and commitment to empowering local communities to be active participants in our environmental stewardship efforts. And while our NGO partners are critical to implementing these projects, we also know that Timberland is but just one company – what if we convened a group of brands and NGOs to come together to restore physical environments and create sustainable livelihoods for local people?
Now that’s a conversation I’m dying to have. Go to http://www.earthkeeper.com/Voices/Service to share information about your projects, aspirations, or ambitions. We’d love to hear your thoughts and engage with you further!
CSR Strategy & Reporting Manager, Timberland
Below, Timberland’s on-the-ground reporting team Olivia Zaleski and Gabriel London bring us more stories from inside last week’s Clinton Global Initiative — where policymakers, nonprofit and business leaders alike convened to turn their ideas into action to help solve some of the world’s most critical issues:
The following excerpt is from a blog post written by Maria Surma Manka for Earth&Industry.com. Maria was in New York this week attending the Clinton Global Initiative and created a series of insightful blog posts about the experience. We thank Maria for sharing, and invite you to visit Earth&Industry for her complete blog post series.
Who would’ve thought that a convening of so many policy wonks, business suits, and serious-minded NGOs at the Clinton Global Initiative would result in some of the best entertainment I’ve seen in a while? Laughter! Tears! Rants!
Continuing the day’s theme of market-based solutions, a discussion of this strategy to address environmental issues was held with Wal-Mart senior VP of sustainability Matt Kistler, Timberland CEO Jeff Swartz and The Nature Conservancy’s lead scientist, M. Sanjayan.
This is hard work noted Swartz:
“The private sector is not the answer, because there is no answer. The absence of leadership is the crisis – the government needs to do their job and set regulations. And NGOs think perfect is the enemy of good – if we [Timberland] stick our necks out, they [NGOs] chop it off. We can only have a conversation about solutions if government can unpuff its chest, if business can uncross its arms, and if activists can stop spitting on us all! I was at Copenhagen…it was all rhetoric. I’m afraid we’re losing the war.”
As Swartz took a breather from this (really insightful) run, Sanjayan jumped in to agree: “What moves players to get involved in partnership? Self interest…I don’t think people really care about their grandkids, actually. We’re too self-centered for that. I think maybe people care about their kids, but that’s about as far as they go.”
As the session came to a close and the mood spiraled downward, Kistler of Wal-Mart had one of the last words about working together for sustainability and change. I couldn’t catch all that he was saying, as he got very emotional and choked up at this point. But what was clear from this discussion – from the rants, jokes and tears – was that this sustainability work is damn difficult. Companies, NGOs and governments are working on it, but results can come painfully slowly in some cases, not at all in others, and in the end you question the overall impact of your years of sweat anyway. I’m not saying we should go easy on the big guys, but let’s just take a breath and acknowledge that this work is rough. In the end, we all hope to make a difference…grandkids or not.
This week, leaders from every sector and from around the globe are convening at the Clinton Global Initiative(CGI), a forum created by former President Bill Clinton to turn ideas into action and to help the world move toward a more integrated global community of shared benefits, responsibilities and values.
Continuing on our commitment to engaging consumers on key issues effecting our world, Timberland is partnering once again with on-the-ground reporting team Olivia Zaleski and Gabriel London to provide video updates from inside CGI. (Blog readers may remember that Olivia and Gabriel brought us daily updates and exclusive interviews during the United Nations Climate Change Summit last December.)
Welcome to CGI … and stay tuned here to the Earthkeepers blog for additional updates.
- Climate Week NYC is underway, bringing together business, government and NGO leaders to discuss climate action and the need to create a public/private response to climate change. To learn more about the Climate Week NYC events and speakers, visit their website. And visit our friends over at greenbiz.com for complete Climate Week coverage, videos and environmental opinion pieces (including one from our CEO, Jeff Swartz).
- At the Clinton Global Initiative(CGI), influencers and opinion leaders from around the world are gathered to turn ideas into action to create practical solutions to some of our world’s most pressing issues — including those focused on energy and the environment. In support of the action-oriented mission of CGI, participants must make specific and measurable commitments to action; on Timberland’s behalf, CEO Jeff Swartz spoke at CGI today and committed to expanding Timberland’s reforestation programs in China’s Horqin Desert and in Haiti.
We’ll be featuring on-the-ground video coverage from CGI here on the Earthkeepers blog starting tomorrow.
Please join Timberland CEO Jeff Swartz and Trees for the Future Founder David Deppner as they discuss tree planting programs that aim to create sustainable agriculture, environmental restoration, and socio-economic development.
DATE: Tuesday September 28, 2010
TIME: 9:30 to 11:00 AM EST
To register for the event, email email@example.com. You’ll receive a response within 24 hours that confirms successful registration.
This is the latest in a series of quarterly calls Timberland hosts with stakeholders to discuss topics and issues that are key to our efforts to become a more responsible, sustainable business. To listen to podcasts of previous calls, visit the stakeholder engagement calls page on Earthkeeper.com.
Tomorrow promises to be a quiet day at Timberland, as nearly 5,000 volunteers participate in our 13th annual global community service day — Serv-a-palooza. Timberland employees and partners will spend the day creating positive, sustainable impacts at 160 project sites in 24 countries around the world.
Community greening and revitalization is the focus for this year’s Serv-a-palooza events, which include:
- Restoring a wildlife reserve in London, England that supports a number of important ecological habitats.
- Transforming a foster care facility in Madrid, Spain by planting a vegetable garden and constructing a leisure area in the outdoors.
- Winterizing a garden in Munich, Germany by planting bulbs, removing weeds and trimming overgrown bushes.
To learn more about our commitment to community service and the programs with which we support it, visit the community engagement page on Timberland.com. And stay tuned here on the Earthkeepers blog for post-palooza photos, videos and reports from our events across the globe.
Timberland design director Pete Lankford wrote a blog post this week for Ecouterre, a website devoted to the future of sustainable fashion design. In it, Pete discusses the importance of end-of-life considerations and why they matter … in fashion design, and with consumers.
Our way of life today is defined by an incredible abundance of “stuff” that we buy, use, and toss out. Ironically, we now have a very different and an entirely new set of reasons to be frugal with the world’s resources: climate change and resource degradation.
To borrow the title from Thomas Friedman’s book on green issues, the world of today is increasingly hot, flat, and crowded. In a sense, you could say we solved the Depression era of scarcity too well. By this I mean that we’ve figured out how to make goods cheap, abundant, and durable but to such a degree that we consume too much and in the process create incredible quantities of trash.
* * *
I work as both a creative director and practicing designer at the Timberland Company and head up our green design efforts showcased via the Earthkeeper collection. Effective design has never been more challenging. We live in a world that is incredibly interlinked, complex, and dynamic—where relationships are forming and dissolving constantly. Designers have a difficult time keeping up, much less being effective. This is especially true of green design where each choice (alone and as part of a whole) affects the outcome.
Several years ago, Timberland decided to launch an ecologically minded or green line of footwear. Like most companies engaged in creating greener products we began quite naturally by focusing hard on the variables we could reduce or remove: boosting recycled content in base materials, sourcing regionally, and choosing reduced-energy manufacture processes. In short, we pursued a strategy of reduced carbon footprint; making incremental improvements by creating less waste and making more efficient use of materials at hand.
But a strategy of incremental improvement is not necessarily a powerful and resonant message with consumers. Touting 39 percent recycled content over last season’s 34 percent may be a hard-won and worthwhile step and yet, quite reasonably, will not hold the public’s attention.
Why should this matter? In the end, if I don’t persuade you to pick my shoe over the competition’s less-green offering, then all my company’s green efforts don’t mean a thing—all potential, no realization. My point here is that effective design communicates to users clearly and powerfully in a simple—and therefore understandable—manner. If you don’t, you lose at point of sale.
Timberland is proud to announce its biggest and most environmentally-focused marketing campaign yet – Nature Needs Heroes™.
Launching globally over the next several weeks, the campaign showcases our Earthkeepers™ product collection and uses outdoor imagery and humor to help convey the serious message of environmental accountability – the notion that even small acts of environmental action make a difference.
If you haven’t already seen our Nature Needs Heroes™ TV commercial, have a look and let us know what you think. (Did it make you laugh? Cry? Want to get up off the couch and go be a hero yourself?)
You can also experience Nature Needs Heroes through our brand new, high-tech interactive microsite where you can check out our Earthkeepers™ product in 360-degree detail, go behind-the-scenes of the commercial shoot and learn more about some of the recycled and renewable materials we use.
And later this month we’ll be launching our new Facebook “Virtual Forest” application, where users will be able to create their own forest (or join a friend’s) online, which will result in Timberland planting live trees in Haiti to supplement our reforestation efforts there. Stay tuned!