Archive for May, 2011

The Last Mountain

… In the hollows of Appalachia, under repeated assault from the region’s dominant coal industry, a movement for change has been germinated.  Surrounded by over one million acres of horrific devastation, an unlikely coalition of Americans have come together to save their community.  The Last Mountain follows their journey of anger, insight, achievement and inspiration.

- Bill Haney, director / co-writer, The Last Mountain

The Last Mountain documents the conflict between a group of West Virginia residents struggling to protect their health and environment, and the coal company utilizing the destructive practice of mountaintop removal in their community.  The movie was selected to be screened at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in January, and the movie trailer earned the coveted title of “favorite trailer” from viewers on the Timberland / 2011 Sundance Film Festival page.  See for yourself:

And now, the film is available to those of us who didn’t catch it at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival; The Last Mountain debuts this Friday at Landmark Theatres in New York and Washington, D.C., and will appear in cities across the U. S. over the next few months.  Click here for a complete list of cities and dates.

To learn more about the issue and how you can take action to help stop mountaintop removal mining, visit The Last Mountain web site.

Help Timberland PRO Fight Hunger With Virtual Food Drive

On Friday, June 24th, as part of the 2011 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, Timberland PRO® is hosting the 10th annual community service event in Kansas City, MO.  350 students and advisors will volunteer that day, painting outdoor murals, planting fruit and nut trees and packing up food at the Kansas City region’s only food bank, called Harvesters. Timberland PRO® is proud to continue its long-standing partnership with SkillsUSA as both organizations share a commitment to leadership, volunteerism and community service.

In conjunction with this service day, Timberland PRO® will be running an online food drive with the Harvesters Food Network. Harvesters is recognized for excellence in their use of donated resources:  they use less than 3 percent of monies donated towards administration and fundraising, with the bulk being spent on food acquisition, distribution and education.

Timberland PRO® will match food drive donations up to a total of $2,000, and all donators will be entered into a raffle to win a $500 gift card.

To learn more and make a donation, please visit www.timberland.harvesters.org; the Virtual Food Drive ends June 24th.

Supporting Environmental Organizations on a Local Level: Cast Your Vote!

Partnering with local environmental organizations is second nature to a brand committed to protecting the outdoors. Whether we’re opening a store near to our New England roots on Newbury Street in Boston or on rue du Faubourg Saint Martin in Paris, France, Timberland knows the importance of giving back to the communities in which we work and live.

Ramsey and I headed to San Francisco for the opening weekend of the new Timberland store. There we witnessed firsthand one way Timberland is supporting organizations committed to bettering the Golden Gate City – by giving away a $2,500 grant to one of four local environmental organizations! In our latest vlog, learn more about this Timberland grant and how to vote for your favorite:

While we were there, we met up with folks from Friends of the Urban Forest, Nature in the City, Surfrider Foundation and Livable City. Want to know what they’ll do with the grant money if they’re chosen as the winner? Well, we’ll let them do the honors:

From the San Francisco area? Be sure to stop by the Timberland store on 845 Market Street before May 31st to cast your vote!

Values + Style: Po-Zu for Timberland

Eco-conscious footwear just took a step forward.

For 2011, Timberland in Europe has collaborated with ecological footwear brand Po-Zu to create a collection of shoes that are light on your feet and light on the environment.  Featuring natural materials (such as hemp, coconut fibers and natural latex) and vegetable-tanned leathers, the collection is also designed for disassembly — simply return the shoes to a Timberland store at the end of their useful life, and we’ll recycle and reuse as many parts and components as we can.  (Bonus – the coconut fiber shoebox they come in is compostable and can be used as seed trays!)

The partnership between Timberland and Po-Zu grew out of a shared vision of promoting the best practices in environmental design.  Po-Zu founder and designer Sven Segal conceived and launched the brand with the goal of setting new standards in ecological and ethical footwear manufacturing.

To collaborate felt instinctively comfortable as I was familiar with Timberland’s ethical stance and  eco-consciousness.  We have launched a product that is both sustainable and manufactured to very high standards. I am delighted with the results.

- Sven Segal, Po-Zu founder and designer

The Po-Zu collection of footwear is currently available in select markets only (sorry, U.S. shoe shoppers). You can shop the collection online here.  To learn more about the good work Po-Zu is doing to make the world of footwear more ecological and ethical one pair at a time, please visit their website.

Tune In: Timberland and IKEA Talk Responsible Business

We’re committed to the values of transparency and accountability. Part of that commitment is an ongoing dialogue with our stakeholders that serves to constantly challenge us to find better, more efficient means of building our products in a way that is less bad and hopefully, some day, more good for the environment.

Our Chief Executive Earthkeeper (and our CEO), Jeff Swartz, hosts regular stakeholder engagement calls to inform, inspire, and engage others about Timberland’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. Stakeholder engagement calls allow Jeff to answer various questions, comments, and suggestions regarding Timberland policies and actions and they allow us to carry on our stakeholder dialogue in a public forum. Past calls have covered topics such as corporate climate strategy, responsible sourcing, eco-labeling, community greening, and the current state of corporate social responsibility.

Our next call:

Reducing Environmental Impact & Driving Bottom Line Results
May 24, 2011 from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm ET

Timberland CEO Jeff Swartz and IKEA Chief Sustainability Officer Steve Howard will discuss opportunities for driving business growth while simultaneously achieving environmental goals.  This call will include discussion about how carbon emissions reductions can fuel cost savings and financial gains.

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

To listen to podcasts of previous stakeholder engagement calls, visit the Corporate Responsibility section of our website.

Dig It

What happens when citizens, musicians, organizations, corporations and governments come together as one to solve environmental problems?  Dig It, a Timberland documentary, tells the story:

Revolving around tree planting actions and beautification efforts in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Dig It focuses on the economic, health and safety impacts of tree planting (and the impacts of NOT having trees) and features passionate perspective on the issue of climate change from such diverse advocates as musician Stone Gossard, climate documentarian James Balog and Timberland’s own Jeff Swartz.  Dig It is directed by acclaimed photographer and film maker Danny Clinch.

We’ll be featuring parts of the Dig it documentary here on the Bootmakers Blog in weeks to come; to view the film in its entirety and to learn more about Timberland’s tree planting commitment and projects, click here.

Morality v. Technology? Don’t Make Me Ditch My iPhone …

Why is it that the world’s coolest brand sees a choice between delivering new culture changing products and delivering them … sustainably? How does Apple get away with such a limited imagination in this day and age?

CEOs of publicly-traded companies in the fashion industry don’t get the “pass” that comes to the super cool Apple leaders and their uber cool company.  Meaning, my shareholders and my consumers insist that we create profit, quarter by quarter, and that we do it … in a sustainable fashion, both in terms of environmental practice, and in terms of transparency and safe working conditions in the supply chain.  Why does a boot maker get held to a higher standard than an iPad maker?

Is it because consumers of iPads and iPhones and iMacs don’t care about how their products are made, about how much energy was used, what chemicals were involved, what impact on the environment the manufacturing process wreaks, or whether the rapidly churned products will end up being recycled or in a landfill at the end of their usable life?  I doubt it.  The elite technology adopters who “wear” their Apple products like a badge of hipster coolness seem to me like the very center of the “moral capitalism” consumer universe—hanging at Davos, orating at TED, elbow rubbing at SXSW.  As a wannabe cool guy, I sit here with my headphones on, listening to my iPod and working on my iPad, wanting to feel as cutting-edge as the technology at my command … but instead, I feel a little sick.  Because a brand that’s seen as a world leader is, in this case, failing to lead.

Apple refuses to set targets for reducing its carbon emissions.  Despite Chinese factory workers falling seriously ill after being exposed to a toxic chemical while manufacturing Apple products, the company remains tight-lipped about its supply chain – presumably prescribing to the belief that that supply chain secrecy is key to competitiveness.  It’s an argument that sounds vaguely familiar: in the last decade, some in the fashion industry pleaded the same argument with activists.  The outcome?  These days everyone knows where Nike and Timberland and adidas manufacture —names, addresses—and the “competitive secret” argument is debunked.  Period. Don’t tell me cool and sustainable aren’t compatible—there are too many examples in the marketplace, earning plaudits from consumers and activists for anyone to believe otherwise.

With success and leadership comes a heightened expectation of responsibility – and Apple is failing that test.  And the worst part?  The company’s “rebel without a corporate responsibility cause” attitude doesn’t seem to hurt it one bit with consumers or investors.

Many of us – myself included – are perpetuating a mind-blowing double standard, proudly browsing the organic produce section and flaunting our recycled grocery totes … but wave the “it” technology product of the month in front of us, and we forget all about business’s need to be transparent and accountable and responsible.

Why should consumers like me have to choose between transformational technology and moral consumption? To iPad, or not to iPad—why is that the question?  Why shouldn’t Apple’s leadership instead have to raise its game, and make their cool products and their cool company more socially accountable? If Apple would replicate the speed-to-market rigor and innovation of their product development in their corporate responsibility agenda, consumers like me could have our cool and self respect.

Apple should keep exceeding my expectations for products, but not at the expense of my expectations for social and environmental responsibility.  They can and must show leadership in sustainability, not just in technology.  That would be Thinking Differently.

Aren’t Feathers in Fashion Right Now?

From our email inbox, two flavors of customer feedback today … one complimentary, one not so complimentary.  I’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

The first comes from Ciro, a discerning shopper with (thankfully) a sense of humor:

… Ordered this jacket because it looked great and seemed like a steal for the discounted price. Little did I know that as soon as you try it on you’re going to look like poultry. I’ve had other down jackets where feathers occasionally pop out, but this one is ridiculous. The “shell” material is so thin and poorly made that you will be plucking feathers off of yourself for hours to come. So unless you’ve got a Halloween party coming up where your date is Colonel Sanders, I would advise strongly against purchasing this jacket. I would expect much better from Timberland.

So would we, which is why we’ve shared the “poultry” feedback with our apparel folks.  Feathers may be all the rage in hair extensions and jewelry, but we do believe they belong on the inside of a jacket.

Austin in Iowa had this to share:

I bought a pair of your boots 4 years ago. Very glad I did. Perfect for around the yard landscaping as well as fall hunting for the birds. Not too heavy, perfect for on the go. Gortex keeps my feet dry and my wife hates it when I come inside wearing them. I can’t blame her. But, I know in any prediction, wearing these boots, I’m ready for anything: weed-eating, mowing, climbing, running, putting the boat in, chasing foxes through the pasture. Love these boots. Please keep making them. This is my 4th pair.

I’m with Austin’s wife on this one — if he’s chasing foxes, hunting birds and running through pastures in his Mount Chocoruas, the boots probably deserve to stay outside at the end of the day. But we’re grateful for his love and enthusiasm, dirty boots or not.

Got a Timberland story to tell? Click here and share.

Free Music Friday!

Every month on Timberland’s community site, we feature a new musician or band that shares our passion for the environment and makes (in our humble opinion) great music.  May’s musicians are Alex and Janel, a New York-based pop-folk / Americana duo who reuse, recycle and drive their shared car only under duress:

If you think they’re environmental commitment is impressive, wait til you hear Maria (All That Time), a track from their latest album.  You can download it on our music page (free!) … and while you’re there, check out our previous featured artists and their tunes as well.

Timberland’s 2010 CSR Results and the Importance of Target Setting

It’s that time of year where people in my position are busy compiling year-end social and environmental performance which will eventually end up in our Corporate Social Responsibility report. Timberland has been reporting on our impacts since 2000, and we’re proud to share our accomplishments and how we got there. What’s equally as important is communicating our failure to meet certain targets, why that may have happened and what we’re doing about it. We call this balanced transparency – and it’s critical for building credibility as a responsible business.

Why would we publish targets that might be aspirational? As a public company, we strive to make responsible choices every day for our business, communities and the outdoors. We vet our targets internally with business units who are responsible for implementing programs to meet these goals, and also externally with issue experts, NGOs, and other stakeholders who push us to reduce our impact and improve the places we live and work. This process holds us to a higher standard. For example, we recently achieved a 38% GHG emissions reduction at the end of 2010 – a huge accomplishment by corporate standards. Sure, we didn’t meet our target last year – but we would never have reduced our footprint by as much as we did had we not set an extremely aggressive goal to in the first place.

And now we’re at it again… at the end of 2010, we collected data to see how we fared against other bold goals. Below, you can find a sampling of our year-end 2010 results, organized by Timberland’s four CSR “pillars,” which are also available for download at http://community.timberland.com/Corporate-Responsibility. By analyzing our current progress and challenges, we can now look to a longer-term horizon to consider new and different ways we will reduce our impact. For the last six months, we have been working on new targets that push us even further. We’ll publish these goals externally so that stakeholders can track our progress – look for our new CSR report late this summer!

2010 CSR Results

ENERGY:

  • As already noted, we achieved a 38% emissions reduction in 2010. This achievement is for our owned and operated footprint and employee air travel, over a 2006 baseline. Our recently released white paper gives all of the details.

PRODUCT:

  • Green Index® scores stayed relatively flat, which is an achievement because we scored a greater variety of products in 2010 (vs. mainly Earthkeeper product or “green” outdoor product in 2009), which included heavier leather styles that tend to score worse.  An increase in recycled content, our phase-out of PVC, and continued reduction in VOC consumption helped improve scores.
  • Of the cotton we purchased in 2010, 34% was organic. This is significantly higher than 2009 (18%), which is impressive given the sharp rise in the price of organic cotton and cotton as a whole.

WORKPLACES:

  • At the end of 2010, 32% of our suppliers had High Priority scores (compared to 32% at the end of 2009) primarily due to Wages and Working Hours issues. With the economic situation improving while labor shortages continued, working hours was a particularly challenging issue for many factories this year.  Our sourcing managers are increasing regular assessments of factories’ production capacities and making adjustments in orders (or securing additional suppliers).

SERVICE:

  • Timberland employees served a total of 75,859 hours in 2010, which represents an 8% decrease in hours served compared to 2009.  Continuing high demands on employees’ time at our manufacturing facility in the Dominican Republic along with our distribution centers in the U.S. contributed to a significant decrease in hours served as compared to last year.