Archive for December, 2011

Looking Back

2011 marked the end of 3 generations of Timberland leadership by the Swartz family.  Our founder Nathan built the footwear business that was our beginning, his son Sidney created the boot and the brand (both called Timberland) for which we would become globally recognized, and his grandson Jeff instilled in our company the belief that we could do more than make boots – we could make positive, sustainable impact in our communities and for our environment.

Before we look ahead to 2012, it seems only fitting to look back, with Sidney, and remember where we came from.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year? It’s Actually in January

If you’re a film lover, that is.

The 2012 Sundance Film Festival starts in 3 weeks, and it’s all we can do to keep our Timberland Sundance team from flying to Park City right now.  They’re THAT excited.

And why shouldn’t they be?  Fresh mountain air, fresh powder snow, great films and the best people watching and celebrity sighting you could hope for in late January.

But 3 weeks is such a long time to wait.  Which is why we thought we’d share a few of our favorite festival photos from years past to get us all in the Sundance mood:

A gaggle of film directors and actors, braving the Park City streets in their Timberland Earthkeepers boots

Jumping for joy in Sundance snow (and Timberland boots)

Happy Sundance enthusiasts enjoying their new Timberland hats

Festival volunteer in her new Timberland gloves

You can continue to feed your Sundance fix by visiting the new Festivals section of our website.

Reflections on Service

The following post comes from Alan Jones, one of the Timberland service sabbatical recipients who spent a week in Louisiana last month working on a large-scale restoration project.  Turns out, the project’s impact extends far beyond the wetlands where Alan and his companions worked:

Since returning from the sabbatical, friends and family have asked me to explain the experience and how it impacted me.  Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been able to express it in a way that does justice, and I don’t know if I ever will.

Imagine this:

Get off a plane and shake hands with 30 or so faces you’ve never met.

Spend the next 8 days and nights with these people in comfortable (but tight) quarters.

Meet locals and taste the flavor of an incredible culture deep in the Mississippi Delta and swamplands and learn that the fastest land erosion in the world is happening in your country and at the rate of 2 football fields every hour.

Learn that 40% of our fishing industry is supported by this eroding ecosystem, and that one small nonprofit has been given the green light by the government to make it better.

Spend the rest of the week working with a team to rebuild a 5-acre site that will protect another 20 acres of marshland from saltwater intrusion and land loss.

Learn that this project is the largest implementation of it’s kind, and if successful will serve as the pilot program and catalyst for future restoration efforts.

Connect to people and land in a way you did not think possible, then bid them farewell, knowing that although you knew them not for long, you knew them well.

Realize that, in addition to the thousands of trees and grasses planted in the bayou, there is something unexpected growing inside upon your return.

What did I take away from this sabbatical?

to plant.

to grow.

to laugh.

to live.

Wishing You All Things Calm and Bright

Okay, so it’s a little impersonal – but if we took them time to send a holiday card to each and every one of our readers and fans, we’d still be licking stamps in April.  (Not that we don’t love you, or licking stamps.)

From our Timberland family to yours, warm wishes for a happy, healthy holiday season!

150 Gifts, 90 Timberland Elves (and a Partridge in a Pear Tree)

Timberland employees are always quick to lend a hand in community service.  This holiday season, we offered employees the chance to open their hearts (and wallets) by purchasing a gift for someone in need in the local community.  On a holiday tree in our cafeteria area, we hung tags containing wish-list items for individuals supported by several local nonprofit organizations.

We started by hanging about 50 tags.  Within three hours, all were gone.  We needed more!  I reached out to our service partners for more names and more wish lists.  As fast as we could hang more tags, Timberland employees scooped them up.  Our original target of serving 50 individuals soon increased to more than 80.

But we didn’t stop there.  At our in-house wrapping party, 20 employees added bows, tags, and ribbon to 146 packages.  We sent elves (who looked suspiciously like bootmakers…) out to each of our partner organizations to deliver bundles of gifts to some very deserving folks.

Jolly Timberland volunteers wrapping some of the donated gifts!

When all was said and done, we supported five local organizations with 150 gifts delivered to 84 individuals through the efforts of more than 90 volunteers!  And although it’s been said, many times, many ways…we couldn’t help feeling that it truly is better to give than to receive.

Our version of Santa's sleigh, piled high with gifts

Special thanks to our nonprofit partners for allowing us the chance to share our gifts during the holidays: Seacoast Family Promise, Our House for Girls, The Housing Partnership, New Generation, and AIDS Response Seacoast.

And thanks to all our employees who got involved—once again, you’ve helped Timberland make a difference!

I love my job: sharing gifts with one very happy recipient

Spreading Cheer with the Gila River Indian Community

Timberland is a company steeped in tradition, embracing a bond with the outdoors and a commitment to giving back to the community. On December 8th, more than 100 employees had the good fortune to experience a heritage dating back more than 150 years when our community service event brought us to the Gila River Indian Community, which is home to the Pima and Maricopa tribes, to spread some holiday cheer.

We teamed up with the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa and Tribal Social Services to throw a fun-filled Christmas festival with nearly 300 children, decorating cookies, stockings and snowflakes, enjoying horseback rides and a trip to the Koli Equestrian Center, planting trees and snacking on holiday treats throughout – a natural crowd pleaser!

The gumdrop on top – a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus brought each boy and girl a special gift from their very own Christmas lists, while a special group from our team gave the Gila River Indian Community Orphanage a fresh coat of paint, landscaped the yards and assembled bicycles for all of its residents. What a Christmas surprise!

As a newbie to the Timberland team, it was amazing to be a part of such a special event where communities unite to kindle the Christmas spirit, bring smiles to children’s faces and feel the yuletide joy that can only come from Santa, his elves and a few cheery gingerbread men!

Timberland Gifts for Giving (and Getting)

Whether you’re in need of one last holiday gift or simply outfitting yourself for winter weather, we’ve got ideas to cover you head to toe:

Lambswool Beanie

This Handknit Lambswool Beanie is anything but boring; 100% lambswool provides cozy warmth, and the handknit cable design makes it a stylish stocking stuffer.  Pair it with our extra-long companion scarf (we’ve added extra length for greater wrap-ability) for maximum head-and-shoulders coverage.

Men's Earthkeepers Tweed Crew Sock

Give a gift that’s inspired by Timberland’s outdoor heritage and designed to be kinder to the environment.  Our Men’s Earthkeepers™ Tweed Crew Socks meet our strict criteria for more eco-conscious products – they’re crafted in the USA from 70% recycled cotton, with a blend of acrylic, nylon and spandex to ensure maximum durability and comfort.

Women's Cable Cuff Boot Sock

There’s nothing merry about cold feet.  That’s why we created the Cable Cuff Boot Sock, designed specifically for wearing with our women’s tall boots. This breathable, lightweight sock is made from 100% polyester fleece for the ultimate in warmth and comfort – just fold the top over boots for contemporary, seasonal style.

Men's Earthkeepers Sauvage Wallet

Do your holiday shopping in style with our Earthkeepers™ Sauvage Wallet.  This understated wallet is crafted in Italy from 100% premium washed cow leather from a tannery rated Silver for improved water, energy and waste management.  Rustic and durable, this Earthkeepers™ wallet is perfect for the season’s frequent trips to the cash register.

Down Time Slipper

When you’re ready to take time out from the holiday hustle, pull on a pair of our unisex Down Time Slippers.  These lightweight slippers are soft and warm – feather down stuffed and lined with cozy fleece.  A skid-resistant tread makes them as functional as they are comfortable.

Happy shopping and happy holidays!

Making a Difference with the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation

It’s hard not to smile when a young girl tells you she wants to wear her new Timberland yellow boots right away—rather than putting them back in the box, and despite the fact that she’s wearing tights and a party dress.  And it’s really hard not to smile when a boy can’t contain himself and yells out, fists midair, “Timberland!” as a volunteer hands him a pair in just his size.

For the second year in a row, Timberland volunteers had the chance to participate in the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation’s Christmas Party event.  Our volunteer crew fit over 200 kids with new yellow boots that will keep their feet warm and dry through the harsh New England winter.

Timberland boots waiting for good homes

During this hectic time of year, it’s easy to forget how much a simple gift can mean to someone, but watching the excitement and gratitude from these kids, the true meaning of the season was fully brought to life.  We were thanked by Foundation members and kids alike throughout the “shoe fit,” but I know I speak for my fellow volunteers when I say that we were the grateful ones.  Being able to give back to the community in such a rewarding way made us all proud to be a part of Timberland.

The Timberland volunteer team

Will Sustainability Reach the Mainstream?

A key tenet of being a responsible company is to manage risk and create value for the long-term sustainability of the corporation. At Timberland, we believe the concepts of commerce (sustainable shareholder returns) and justice (operating sustainably, including social and environmental management) go hand in hand.  Our challenge is to not only demonstrate the business case for sustainability within our own company, but to ensure that others do too.

Earlier this year, former Timberland CEO Jeff Swartz and PPR Chief Sustainability Officer Jochen Zeitz engaged in spirited dialogue about PPR’s Puma brand initiating a new sustainability accounting measure: their Environmental Profit & Loss statement.  I am impressed with Puma’s effort to calculate and assign financial costs to environmental impacts – something that will help move the needle for mainstream analysts to incorporate “that type of sustainability” into financial valuations of companies.  We’ve seen few other companies proactively quantify sustainability impacts (Baxter Healthcare and SAP provide interesting examples; see also Timberland’s CSR Stakeholder Call from May 2011 – Reducing Environmental Impact & Improving Bottom Line Benefits), but clearly not a groundswell.

Could the needle be starting to move a little more? Last week Puma announced it would be taking its Environmental P&L to greater scale – the brand’s sustainability accounting work will be extended to other luxury brands owned by PPR, including Gucci, Stella McCartney, and Yves Saint Laurent.  Hopefully, this is an indicator of how one brands’ sustainability efforts can influence more than their individual operations and sustainability plans. (And before you ponder too much about the applicability of this point coming from an employee of a recently acquired brand, yes – we at Timberland are thinking about opportunities to scale our experience within a greater family of brands too. See more on that below).

Engaging the financial community

It’s not just corporations that need to push for greater inclusion of social and environmental issues in financial accounting. I believe the time has come for the financial community to explore the value of “non-financial performance” in meaningful ways.  There are many players working on such efforts. For example, Bloomberg now puts out ESG (environmental, social, and governance) data on its terminals, accessed by 300,000 customers – including Wall Street and other analysts. Last year, the SEC issued interpretive guidance for climate risk to be disclosed in financial filings. And a new reporting framework is being developed by the International Integrated Reporting Committee to bridge the gap between purely financial vs. purely sustainability reporting efforts. All of these efforts aim to put traditional ESG information in front of mainstream analysts. The argument is that if we can translate such issues into financial models, the “dual meaning” of sustainability may actually help drive investment decisions.  I agree with this sentiment – but there’s one player missing: the investors themselves. There’s too much talk of “us” (CSR practitioners) translating/ appropriating CSR data for “them.”  To truly drive the relevance of both financial and ESG information, we should be inviting analysts and investors to weigh in on sustainability accounting practices, standards development, and how to review issues like supply chain vulnerability (in the form of climate adaptation or labor unrest, e.g.) as components of a corporation’s short term and long term business viability.

Read the rest of this entry »

Time to Get Your Warm On

Only 2 weeks to go until the official start of winter … have you checked your mitten drawer and given a critical eye to your boot collection to make sure you’re ready?  Whether you’re in denial or can’t wait, here’s a little inspiration to get visions of snowball fights dancing in your head:

Check out our complete winter product collections for men and women — great ideas for holiday giving (or keeping for yourself!).