Posts within ‘Making Our Difference: TBL CSR’

In Good Company Takes to the Air

Part of the joy of putting in hard effort is seeing its impact — and that’s exactly what Timberland service sabbatical participants Erica Sarcione and Kerri Hewatt did.  Erica and Kerri are spending this week in Louisiana working on a wetlands restoration project with In Good Company – a partnership of businesses committed to making a difference through hands-on volunteerism for communities in need.

The In Good Company crew took time out from filling, hauling and planting 4,000 “Gulf Saver” bags (biodegradable bags filled with native plants and grasses that, when planted, help to stabilize areas of rapid erosion) to get a bird’s eye view of the area and their work. Erica captured the experience to share with us:

Up we go!

Nothing but smiles mid-flight

Bird's eye view of our job site

Erica reports, “That was an AWESOME day.  You really can’t 100% grasp the size and beauty of this place until you see it from above.  I hope by the pictures you can appreciate the importance of these wetlands and understand the need to do everything we can to save them.  There’s so much at stake here!”

With their week-long service experience winding down, we wish safe travels to the entire In Good Company team and look forward to posting final thoughts and photos from Erica and Kerri when they return.

8 Days of Gulf Coast Adventure (and Service) — In Good Company

For the past several years, Timberland has been proud to be a part of In Good Company – a partnership of businesses committed to making a difference through hands-on volunteerism for communities in need.  Each year, employee volunteers from each of the participating companies gather for a week-long service sabbatical to create a positive impact.  This year, Timberland’s representatives are Erica Sarcione, associate product manager at Timberland’s headquarters in Stratham, NH and Kerri Hewatt, assistant store manager for our Timberland Factory Outlet in Commerce, Georgia.

Erica and Kerri are spending this week in Louisiana, working side by side with volunteers from 16 other values-driven companies to help protect and restore parts of the Gulf Coast.  Over the course of the week they’ll learn more about the efforts of local nonprofit organizations, meet local activists, and experience plenty of local culture.

Erica and Kerri took a few minutes out of their jam-packed days to update us on what they’re doing and how the experience has been so far:

Everyone’s spirits are high and we’re all eager to get to work — and we have plenty of it ahead of us! We’re planting 4,000 “Gulf Saver” bags in the marsh lands this week (Gulf Savers are biodegradable burlap bags filled with native plants and grasses that are planted to jump start growth and stability in areas of rapid erosion). They lose about a football size piece of land every hour down here – and we’re here to help fix that!

- Erica

Volunteers planting Gulf Saver Bags. Photo courtesy of Restore the Earth Foundation

We are making great progress on our project here in Louisiana. On Sunday, we got a taste of what it’s like to fill the Gulf Saver bags — our team filled 1120 of them!  On Monday, we started loading the Gulf Saver bags off of a barge and onto smaller skiffs, then we offloaded them on the shore. Once all the bags were unloaded, we distributed them in intricate patterns and started planting the new grasses and trees.  Tomorrow we’ll get a chance to fly over the site and see our work from an aerial point of view.

- Kerri

A beautiful day for wetlands restoration. Photo courtesy of In Good Company

For more real-time updates and phenomenal photos of this week’s volunteers in action, follow the In Good Company page on Facebook.  We’ll also be sharing more updates from Kerri and Erica here on the Bootmakers Blog.

Clean Drinking Water in Vietnam

According to reports from the World Health Organization and UNICEF, every year 3.6 million people die of water-related diseases.  Access to clean drinking water is one of the basic needs we work to ensure all workers in our supply chain have.

During an assessment of factories in and around Hanoi, Vietnam, our Supplier Sustainability Team discovered that clean drinking water was the #1 concern among workers at the Stella Group’s Golden Star factories in Hai Phong City, Vietnam (a port city located about 60 miles east of Hanoi).  Although the water within the factory itself was clean, we learned that the community where many of the Golden Star workers live is far away, and far more rural: Residents there have to rely on groundwater and rainwater for drinking and domestic use, with little (if any) filtration.

When Timberland learns that access to clean drinking water is an issue in workers’ communities, we call on our partnership with Planet Water Foundation to help meet the need. Planet Water Foundation is a U.S.-based, nonprofit organization that strives to bring clean water to the world’s most disadvantaged communities through the installation of water filtration systems and education on how to use them.

In Vietnam, Timberland’s Supplier Sustainability Team worked with Planet Water Foundation, the factory and the local community to determine the best location for two clean drinking water towers.  The final selections were on the grounds of two kindergartens, where the highest number of community members would have access.  The towers were constructed in July 2012.

One advantage of the Planet Water filtration system is that the system doesn’t require any consumables. The filters only require nominal daily maintenance checks by school staff, and can last seven to ten years. When needed, the filters can be replaced for a modest cost. In addition, Planet Water guarantees each installation and returns to the project site every three months for five years after the installation to ensure that the system is operating correctly.

While the primary benefit of the water towers is better health through clean drinking water, there’s a business case for brands and factories to provide a sustainable living environment for workers — as well as a humanitarian one. After all, when employees miss work because they’re ill—or have to stay home to care for sick family members—productivity suffers.

Golden Star Factory manager Doan Anh Tuan sums it up by saying, “This project has affected our everyday lives—not just at the factory but into our communities and schools. We’ll be feeling its impact for generations.”

In the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

Our thoughts are with the friends, families and fellow Timberland employees that are dealing with the impacts of Hurricane Sandy this week.  Like many other companies, we’re actively assessing the need for community support in the hardest hit areas, to see where and how we can be of most help.

If you’d like to support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, please consider one of the many organizations that are currently mobilizing workers, setting up shelters and sending much-needed supplies to the impacted region, such as the American Red Cross and AmeriCares.

Timberland’s Quarterly CSR Reporting

Timberland recently announced its Q2 2012 CSR performance. You’ll find highlights from our second quarter’s performance below, organized by our four CSR Pillars: climate, product, factories, and service.  For complete Q2 2012 performance data and analysis, please visit the Goals & Progress section of our Responsibility website.

CLIMATE:

  • Greenhouse Gas emissions for Timberland owned and operated facilities, as well as air travel, decreased 18% compared to Q2 2011, primarily due to new clean energy purchases in the United Kingdom and a slight reduction in air travel.

PRODUCT:

  • We continue to reduce the environmental impact of our products by focusing on chemicals management in manufacturing.  In Q2 2012, our global average grams/ pair of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in footwear production was 63.2, which is near constant vs. Q2 2011. We anticipate improvements in VOC reductions as early as Q1 2013, as we are now evaluating new products during the development stage and targeting additional support and training for factories that are most challenged with VOC consumption.

FACTORIES:

  • Our parent company (VF) conducted 68 audits of Timberland suppliers in Q2 2012. 19 were Accepted (28%), 45 were Accepted to be Upgraded (66%), and 4 were Rejected (6%) – an improvement vs. Q1 2012 results. Action plans are in process for all factories that are Accepted to be Upgraded.  Primary issues at Rejected factories are lack of social insurance contributions, proper hours/wages recordkeeping, adequate fire alarms and machine guarding, and transparency. If improved ratings are not achieved with re-audits, these suppliers will be dropped.

SERVICE:

  • Timberland employees served a total of 55,189 hours as of the end of Q2 2012. The Hours Utilization Rate (HUR – the percentage of employee service hours used compared to total available according to the Path of Service program) year to date at the end of Q2 2012 was 28%, which is up 7% vs. Q2 2011.

More detail about our Q2 2012 CSR performance can be found on our Responsibility website.  Have a question, comment or want to continue the conversation?  Email us at csrinfo@timberland.com

20 Years of Service and One Great Day

Across the globe, Timberland employees are celebrating the 20th anniversary of our Path of Service program, which offers them paid time off to volunteer in their communities.  And what better way to celebrate 20 years of service than with more service?

Here at our Stratham NH headquarters, more than 350 employees pulled on their boots a few weeks ago and set out to assist a variety of local nonprofit organizations as part of “Serv-a-palooza” — Timberland’s annual global service event.  We were lucky enough to get blue skies, ample sunshine and just enough power tools to go around … and although there were a few blisters and sore backs at the end of the day, they were overshadowed by wide smiles (pride? relief?) and a collective sense of accomplishment.

Here’s how we spent our day:

Fresh trim paint for the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, NH

Measure TWICE cut once! Some of us learned the hard way

Invasive plant species? No match for our president Patrik Frisk

We had plenty of volunteers eager (perhaps TOO eager) to run the saw

Some of us worked really hard ...

... and some of us were better at resting

But we all had fun!

Huge thanks to the Timberland CSR team for organizing yet another successful, impactful day of service, and to the partners who donated their time, materials and invaluable knowledge — we couldn’t do so much good in so little time without you.

20 Years Long, 20 Years Strong

Twenty years ago, the idea of Timberland’s Path of Service program – a program that offers our employees paid time off to volunteer in their communities – was considered unconventional. Today, we’ve served over 845,000 hours in more than 20 countries through the Path of Service™ program.

In honor of our 20th anniversary and the work we’ve done to create positive impact in our communities, we’re gearing up for special celebrations around the globe.  Together, Team Timberland will spend tens of thousands of hours planting trees, building trails, creating community gardens and transforming playgrounds … the stuff we love to do, with the people we love to do it with.

From Taiwan to Tampa, we’re celebrating the twentieth anniversary of our Path of Service™ program.  We’re volunteering and also inviting vendors, distributors, supplier factories, consumers, community members, and friends and family to join our activities.

Atlanta McIlwraith, Timberland’s senior manager of community engagement

Central to our Path of Service celebration is Serv-a-palooza — Timberland’s annual global community service event which will take place over the next few weeks.  Here at Timberland headquarters in New Hampshire, several hundred employees will be out in our local communities next week building gardens and playgrounds, maintaining nature trails, and providing much needed maintenance and enhancements for nonprofit organizations near and dear to us.

Words don’t really do Serv-a-palooza justice, so here’s a video from our archives (Serv-a-palooza 2009) to give you a taste for how much work we do – and how much fun we have:

We’re pulling on our boots and getting ready to make our difference with the same energy and enthusiasm we had 20 years ago.  Stay tuned for photos and stories from 2012 Serv-a-palooza!

10 Days of Fabulous Films (and One Cool Map)

Grab the popcorn and turn off your cell phone: The curtain will rise at the Toronto International Film Festival tomorrow.  We’ve had such a good time at the festival the past few years — touring the city, scouting for celebrities, taking in amazing films — that we’re going back again as an official TIFF sponsor this year.

As in past years, Timberland is helping to make the 2012 festival more sustainable and less impactful on the environment by providing reusable tote bags and complimentary pedal-powered taxi (EcoCab) transportation for festival attendees.  This year, we’re also excited to have sponsored the creation of a Festival Walking Map — a colorful, illustrative map detailing the festival “neighborhood” so that attendees can easily navigate their walk from the Isabel Bader Theatre to TIFF Bell Lightbox without missing a turn or a showtime.

The walking map was designed by Toronto artist Jillian Ditner, an award-winning Ontario College of Art and Design grad whose map design started with simple sketchbook drawings:

My process is to begin with hand drawn sketches to develop the layout and feeling of the piece, later adding color and texture digitally. For this festival map I wanted to create a warm and friendly feeling while focusing on important landmarks to help the viewer navigate the city. It was important for the map to be accessible without compromising usability.

- Jillian Ditner

The finished product IS warm and friendly, yes?  If you want to see a bigger, better version, the festival walking map is available on our website in both printable and mobile-friendly versions.

When we’re not using Jillian’s map to explore the streets of Toronto, we’ll spend the next week and a half taking in all the cultural glory that is TIFF 2012.  To share our experience (virtually) and to learn more about Timberland’s support of events like this one, visit our Festivals page.

Fashion Fresh From the Sea

Maybe it’s a symptom of our Yankee frugality, but at Timberland we LOVE to recycle.  There’s something oddly thrilling about giving old stuff like plastic bottles and discarded tires a second life as recycled materials in our products.

And as we get more excited about recycling, we get a little crazy.  For example: Recycled coffee grounds in our S.Café® yarn (the grounds trap odors and absorb sweat — who knew?).  And when you’re designing a jacket and you need it to be waterproof and durable, why not start by thinking about other materials that are waterproof and durable?  Like, I dunno … fishing nets and ropes, salvaged from the ocean?

Introducing ReNet™ recycled nylon fabric:

Using ReNet™ in our products means less waste in the landfill (or worse – floating around in the ocean) — and wearing a jacket with ReNet™ in it gives YOU a whopper of a good story to tell on your next fishing trip.

Learn more about ReNet™ and the other recycled and renewable materials we use in our products in the Timberland Technology Guide.

Dutch Treat: Timberland Opens New Distribution Center in Holland

Timberland relies on its European distribution center in Enschede, Holland to supply footwear, apparel, and accessories to all of its customers throughout Europe. When the lease on the facility was coming to an end, Timberland weighed the pro and cons of renewing it or moving to another location—carefully considering the environmental impact of each.

We knew we needed a larger space for the future. When we looked at the cost of maintaining older equipment that would need to be replaced, we decided it would be more cost-effective to build a new, larger facility with more efficient equipment that required less energy to run.

- David Rupert, Timberland’s Director of International Distribution Engineering

Timberland chose Almelo, Holland—17 miles south of Enschede—for the new distribution center. The location has both business and environmental benefits, with easy access to the ports of Rotterdam to reduce emissions from trucking.

To live up to the company’s environmental commitment, Timberland partnered with OVG re/ developers, a Dutch developer with a proven track record in sustainable building construction.   OVG re/ developers developed the facility specifically to Timberland’s requirements—one of which was that the building meet Europe’s BREEAM® (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) certification. To earn a BREEAM® certificate, a building must meet established benchmarks for specification, design, construction, and use, as they relate to such topics as energy and water use, the health of the internal environment, pollution, transportation, materials, waste, ecology, and management processes. The new distribution center opened in April 2012, and in June, it officially received a “Good” BREEAM® certification.

Now fully operational, the facility features a number of environmentally conscious attributes, including underground storage tanks that collect rainwater for flushing toilets and motion-detector lights to help reduce energy consumption. A new, state-of-the-art, automated packing system offers greater efficiency—and less noise.  Outside, there’s extensive green landscaping—including more than 100 birdhouses that provide a home for swallows and bats. And like the old facility, the new facility gets 100% of its energy from wind power.

“Our new distribution facility proves once again that eco-conscious choices can also be smart business choices. Now we’re more efficient than ever before—shipping out products faster and with less impact to the planet,” concludes Rupert.