Archive for 2010

Keeping Good Company in California

For the third year in a row, Timberland is proud to join forces with “In Good Company,” a coalition of companies dedicated to volunteerism.  As part of the program, candidates  from each of the companies participate in a week-long community service sabbatical in an area of need, working with local residents and nonprofit organizations to create positive impact where and how it is most needed.

For the first two years, In Good Company volunteers left their footprints and their impact in the city of New Orleans.  This year, sabbatical recipients will convene in the San Francisco neighborhood of West Oakland – a neighborhood that suffers disproportionately from asthma, diabetes, obesity and other environment-related issues.  Over the course of their week-long service experience, volunteers will help to create sustainable food solutions, green neighborhood homes and work on environmental restoration issues to make life a little easier for West Oakland residents.

We’re pleased to introduce the two members of Team Timberland who head out to West Oakland this weekend to begin their week-long service sabbatical and will be sharing their experience with us here on the Earthkeepers blog:

Courtney Baumann lives in Austin, TX and has been a sales manager at Timberland’s retail outlet in San Marcos for over seven years. Her passions include working with plants and playing with her pet turtle. Four years ago, Courtney started a recycling program at her mall, which continues to be a success!

Sandy McDowell is a fifteen year Timberland veteran, currently serving as the assistant manager at the Timberland store in Grove City, PA.  An “empty nester,” Sandy and her husband grow organic food and sell it at a low cost to their local community.

We’ll be hearing more from Courtney and Sandy over the course of their week in West Oakland – stay tuned.

Growing Goodness

We’re only a few weeks into fall and already missing the warm, vibrant days of summer … but comforted by the following video of Timberland’s Victory Garden in full bloom.

The Victory Garden has taken up residence on the front lawn of our corporate headquarters for 3 years now, expanding each summer to offer a broader variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers … which in turn increases the amount of support we’re able to give to the NH Food Bank.

If you’re not familiar with the model, we (humbly) think it’s a pretty good one: Timberland employees built the raised garden beds, plant the seeds, tend to the growing “crops” and pick, pull or otherwise harvest the good when they’re ripe.  The produce is then sold at the Timberland “farm stand,” located in our front lobby.  Employees get good, fresh-from-the-ground veggies, the proceeds go to the NH Food Bank … and we’re putting our corporate landscape to good, green use.  See for yourself:

Have questions about starting a victory garden in your own yard or company?  Inquire here and we’ll have someone from the Timberland Victory Garden committee get back in touch.  And remember … only 149 days til spring …

“They’re Gonna Feed Themselves”

“They’re gonna feed themselves.  They’re gonna be a proud, independent nation.”

Timberland President & CEO Jeff Swartz

To create real and sustainable community impact, you’ve got to involve community in the process.  Our second Yele Vert video highlights the critical role local residents play in the success of the Haiti reforestation program — from sifting soil and planting seeds to cultivating the trees that will provide long-term environmental and economic support.

To learn more about Timberland’s Yele Vert program — and to contribute to our reforestation effort in Haiti — visit www.Facebook/Timberland and start your own virtual forest.

Trees for Haiti

“Pouring money on top of dry land isn’t reforesting.  Reforesting is, you’ve got to come out in the dirt.  You’ve got to talk to people.  This is your home, this is our passion … how do we put those things together?”

Timberland President & CEO Jeff Swartz

We’ve just announced a commitment to plant five million trees in five years to help create sustainable solutions in Haiti and China — two areas plagued by the disastrous effects of deforestation.

To help illustrate the need for — and impact of — those five million trees, we’ve produced a series of videos about our Haiti tree planting project, Yele Vert.  Episode 1 appears below … and you can watch the entire series of videos on our YouTube channel.

Inspired to help?  Visit www.Facebook.com/Timberland and start growing your own virtual forest.  The more virtual trees planted, the more real trees we’ll put in the ground in Haiti.

Excited About Planting Trees

Since last Tuesday, September 28, I’ve been coming to work excited. I’m talking two-stairs-at-a-time excited. Excited about planting trees and excited to think about how to get other people excited about planting trees.

It was last Tuesday that I monitored Timberland’s quarterly stakeholder conference call about “The Real Impact of Tree Planting.”  (You can listen to the podcast here.) Our CEO, Jeff Swartz, hosts these calls to discuss with stakeholders (who range from other CEOs to non-profit leaders to influential environmental stewards to Timberland consumers), topics that directly impact Timberland’s CSR agenda. The goal of the call is to share with the participants ideas we consider, challenges we face and best practices we develop as we go about our business of making boots and being an environmentally and socially responsible company. Jeff and invited partners get the dialogue started and then the stakeholders share their thoughts, ideas and challenges.

The quarterly calls are stakeholder engagement at its finest. It’s a cool concept – stakeholder engagement. And guess what, it really works! I know because I witnessed it last Tuesday.

After Jeff and Dave Deppner from Trees for the Future, our partner in the Yele Vert tree nursery project in Haiti, set up the call with some really meaningful comments, the callers started asking great questions and sharing some valuable insight. These were extremely smart, engaged people from organizations like Alcoa, the World Wildlife Fund and the New York Restoration Project – people who really care about trees and are managing these truly impactful projects, just like the ones Timberland is supporting in Haiti and China.

The questions and the ensuing dialogue got me thinking about the commitment to plant five million trees in five years in Haiti and China that Timberland made at the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) the previous week. I wondered; how can we a) get people to understand why we plant trees and why it matters; and b) get other companies to join us to exponentially increase the impact.

Yeah, increase exponentially. If Timberland and its partners, Trees for the Future and Yele Haiti, can build six tree nurseries in Gonaives, Haiti in less than six months by engaging and training the local farmers, who will eventually take ownership of the nurseries, imagine what can five companies like Timberland could do with the help of five partners like Trees for the Future.

If our six nurseries will produce more than 1 million trees per year at full capacity, imagine what 30 nurseries will produce in a year – 5 million! And if those 5 million trees we’re planting annually provide the local citizens with sustainable resources for food, fuel, shelter and watershed management – not to mention jobs – well, imagine how many houses we can build, homes we can heat, stoves we can fuel and mouths we can feed.

And imagine – this is what gets really exciting – if the local farming population, which is now trained and engaged at every level of forestry and agriculture, arrives at the juncture where their crop productivity has increased to the point where they can not only feed their families but have enough corn and rice and other corps left over to sell – for a profit – to the very companies that initially helped the farmer set up their tree nurseries!

And then imagine if each of those companies implemented creative ways, like social networks, to tell the story of the farmer and his tree nurseries to their consumers. The stories would excite the consumers and inspire them to tell their friends and those friends told their friends and so on and so on – to the point where the company gained more consumers, sold more products and were able to invest more dollars into building more tree nurseries.

Imagine. Isn’t it exciting to imagine?

So what’s next? I’m going to start reaching out to leaders at other companies and see if I can’t get them excited and interested in planting trees with us. And you? For starters, you can check out our new Facebook application where you can cause real trees to be planted in Haiti by creating a virtual forest. The more virtual trees and virtual forests, the more trees we’ll plant in Haiti – in addition to the ones we’re already planting there. And while you’re surfing around the app, check out the videos that chronicle our projects in Haiti and share them with your friends. Then, share your ideas on how to get people more excited about planting trees on the application’s Wall, or join the conversation on our Earthkeeper Forum.  If you’ve read this far, you’re now officially a Timberland stakeholder and as such, we welcome your engagement at any and all levels.

Imagine a company that wants to engage with its stakeholders about the simple act of planting a tree. Isn’t that exciting?

Margaret Morey-Reuner
Senior Manager of Values Marketing, Timberland

Pictures of Purpose

A visual salute to the more than 4,800 employees and volunteers who worked inside, outside and upside down to create a positive impact in their communities during Timberland’s 13th annual Serv-a-palooza a few weeks ago.  A warm, sunny day and good company made the experience enjoyable … the collective power and passion made it unforgettable.

Living the Corporate Dream: My Trip to Governors Island

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…

View of Lady Liberty from Governors Island

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!”

Even Heroes get thirsty on a sunny September day…

Encouraging guests to do their own earthkeeping by planting a tree

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.


Earthkeepers products catching air

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 :)

Amanda Dunne
Timberland Global Marketing Associate

Tree Planting Recap: The Importance of Strategy, Collaboration, Engagement

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!

Beth Holzman
CSR Strategy & Reporting Manager, Timberland

Clinton Global Initiative Dispatch #2

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:

Group Therapy at the Clinton Global Initiative

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.