Big Steps to Renewable Energy in Europe

As an outdoor brand, Timberland knows that climate change is a real threat. We aim to be part of the solution by reducing our energy demand, investing in renewable energy and working with our partners to do the same.

Where possible, we’re driving down energy demand across all our facilities. In Europe, we have the opportunity to purchase clean energy for some of our offices, showrooms and retail store – but it’s not an easy task, as grid-renewable energy is not available in all locations. For example, we’ve had to work creatively with utility providers and experiment with bulk purchasing to bring success experienced in places like Germany, Austria and Switzerland to countries like the United Kingdom, where Timberland’s European Headquarters (EHQ) is based.

“We wanted to use renewable energy (in the U.K.) for a long time,” explains Alex Crawford, Timberland’s London-based European procurement manager, “but there wasn’t enough supply to meet the demand from businesses.”

Then in 2010, the British government began investing heavily in renewable power, offering tax breaks and relaxing laws to encourage the creation of power from sources other than fossil fuel. “Power companies erected big wind farms out in the ocean off the coast of Britain, so within the last 18 months, the supply has increased dramatically,” Crawford says.

Timberland’s procurement and facilities teams in the U.K. jumped at the opportunity to support the company’s energy goals in their homeland. With the help of National Utility Services, an integrated energy solutions firm, we were able to consolidate energy suppliers, and now source energy from a single supplier for our EHQ location 20 miles west of London, and another supplier for all retail locations in the U.K. This consolidation has offered a financial benefit, as well as an environmental one: we can buy renewable energy in bulk, resulting in cost savings. As of August 1, 2011, nearly all of the energy used by Timberland in the U.K. is derived from renewable sources.

“One of the great things about working for Timberland is that we always work as a team,” says Crawford. “Everybody pulled together to deliver this financially and environmentally beneficial result.”

Because of our focus on sourcing clean energy in Europe and elsewhere, Timberland met its goal of purchasing 15% clean energy out of our total energy usage in 2011. Going forward, we anticipate challenges as we look for opportunities to curb energy demand and emissions while still growing our business and expanding our international presence. Stay tuned to updates on Timberland’s Responsibility site for how we’ll tackle this challenge.

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