How We Did – Timberland’s Emissions Reduction Story

In a sea of increasing claims of, “look how green my company is,” I’m proud to work at an organization that is credibly doing something to reduce our contributions to climate change. Our long-standing commitment to reducing our carbon footprint makes sense; our outdoor products are designed to be used in the very areas that we seek to protect and steward.

So how are we doing? Timberland recently achieved an absolute emissions reduction of 38% (for owned and operated facilities and employee air travel) over a 2006 baseline. We focus on absolute reductions because we are measuring the reduction in overall pollution caused by our business.  We achieved this industry-leading result by reducing our energy demand, investing in energy efficiency, and purchasing renewable energy. Overall, these strategies reduce emissions and save costs, making our climate change program a win-win for the environment and our bottom line.

For example, a variety of renovations and improvements made last year at our Stratham, NH (US) headquarters – including the installation of a white roof, more efficient lighting and high-efficiency HVAC systems – resulted in a reduction in energy demand and costs by more than 8%.  In many other Timberland facilities around the world, including our distribution centers in Ontario, CA, Danville, KY and Enschede, Holland, we’re able to generate or purchase renewable energy (directly or through credits) to help us greatly reduce our carbon footprint.  And on the retail side, all new Timberland stores are designed and constructed according to the USGBC’s LEED Retail standard, using an average of 30% less energy than our older store models.

These successes don’t come without challenges. For example, we’re comparing our current reductions to a 2006 baseline which was pretty lean to begin with (meaning we had made major reductions in our energy consumption prior to that time). Also, as we look to increase our use of clean energy, we know that infrastructure and incentives vary location to location, and we may not find the same options for generating or purchasing renewable energy at all of our locations worldwide.

We also are faced with the challenge that our business may grow in the coming years. While this is a good problem to have, it has significant implications for further reductions in our carbon footprint, such as new store openings around the world (which require more energy to operate) and an increase in employee air travel (which causes the most significant emissions within our current scope).

Despite these challenges, we’re committed to reducing the carbon footprint of our owned and operated facilities (and employee air travel) by 50% by the end of 2015. And we’re working to engage our factory partners, materials suppliers, and consumers to reduce their contributions to climate change as well. By diligently accounting for our own carbon emissions and sharing our learnings with others, we’re walking the talk as much as we can. If a company like Timberland can reduce its carbon footprint, others can too.

Please visit www.timberland.com/ClimateStrategy2011 to learn more about our accomplishments, challenges, and work within the supply chain, and http://community.timberland.com to engage with others on these issues.

  • http://www.scm-operations.com Supply Chain Guy

    Timberland’s approach towards carbon emission is amazing! Anyway, Timberland’s should also try to benchmark the performance against peer. 

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