CSR Stakeholder Call Summary: June 11th Scaling Sustainable Change Dialogue
Earlier this week, Timberland hosted a CSR Stakeholder Call about how to scale local community engagement efforts. Timberland’s VP of CSR Mark Newton was joined by Chuck Bennett, VP of Earth & Community Care at Aveda for a stimulating discussion about employee engagement, extending volunteerism up and down the supply chain, and how to scale efforts through collaboration and partnership.
Corporate community engagement
Did you know that 2012 is the 20th Anniversary of Timberland’s Path of Service™ program? Path of Service is our employee volunteer program, which provides Timberland staff up to 40 paid hours for community service. When the program was started, the idea of giving employees paid time off to perform community service was unconventional. Through this program Timberland offers our most valuable resource – our employees’ time – to engage in the communities where we live and work.
What was unique in 1992 is not so today; many companies now offer similar programs, and we’re fortunate to be informed and inspired by many of them – including Aveda, whose employee engagement program was outlined on this week’s call.
What’s the value of these community engagement efforts? We know our commitment to community engagement helps us retain employees and contributes to a healthy corporate culture. In our last global employee survey, 67% of employees reported that our Path of Service™ program plays a strong role in their decision to work at Timberland.
Extending up and down the supply chain
Just as we’ve seen increased employee development, attraction and retention inside our own company, we have encouraged and supported factories that produce our products to serve their local communities as well. See Timberland’s Responsibility site for examples of this engagement in factories in China.
We also have opportunity to engage business partners in service. By inviting others to join with us, we inevitably increase our impact. In fact, in 2011, 40% of the volunteers at Timberland-sponsored service events worldwide were business partners, and we hope to increase that percentage in 2012. Whether we’re working together to transform a school, build community gardens, or plant trees, we know that the bonds formed through service are more powerful than simply taking a customer out to dinner. Some of these organizations have even formed their own community engagement programs!
On the call, both Timberland and Aveda discussed opportunities to extend their community engagement efforts to their consumers and retail partners. For Timberland, our 20th anniversary of Path of Service™ presents a unique opportunity to invite these important stakeholders to join us. Timberland Taiwan is leading the way (with over 3,000 hours served by consumers and employees to date!), and we aim for other regions to also engage their consumers this year.
We were inspired to learn more about Aveda’s Serve from the Heart program, whereby Aveda provides grants to retail stores to invest in their local community organizations of their choosing – and store employees are also encouraged to volunteer. And there’s no doubt that Aveda’s Earth Month campaign is having a profound impact: in 2011, the company exceeded its goal of raising $4 million for global and clean water projects.
The importance of collaboration and partnership
Clearly, neither Timberland nor Aveda could successfully engage these local communities without their employees, business partners, consumers, and local community members. For Timberland, we’re always willing to share our experience – organizations looking to run their own service events might find some helpful tips in our Community Service Toolkit.
If you missed this week’s call and want to hear more, you can listen to the entire podcast here. Learn more about Timberland’s community engagement efforts and stay tuned for opportunities to continue the conversation at http://responsibility.timberland.com.
Tags: Aveda, community engagement, consumer engagement, corporate responsibility, CSR, environmental awareness, Path of Service program, sustainability, Timberland, Timberland stakeholder engagement calls