Evaluating our Code of Conduct Program

Timberland prides itself on a long-standing Code of Conduct program. Over the years, we’ve shifted our work in factories to expand beyond basic compliance, trained our assessment team to incorporate workers’ voices, and helped factory management build better management systems.  We include environmental and social/labor conditions in our assessments, and go beyond factory walls to assess whether workers are able to meet their basic needs. We rely on partnerships with stakeholder groups and standards bodies to vet our approach against best-in-class training programs, processes for corrective action plans, and mechanisms for worker empowerment. We don’t have all the answers, but we know that giving workers a voice is critical for leveraging our business to create improved working conditions and quality of life.

So, how are we doing?

In 2010, Timberland commissioned Social Accountability International (SAI) to review whether our Code of Conduct program is implemented in the field as designed. SAI is a non-governmental organization whose mission is to advance the rights of workers around the world. As a Corporate Member of SAI, we share their mission to improve working conditions in our or supply chain in accordance with relevant ILO conventions and national law. We asked SAI to validate our program’s capability of achieving our objectives, including a review of our team’s necessary skills to be effective.

SAI’s comprehensive assessment concluded that there are key areas of our Code of Conduct program that are working well, producing positive results and even “best practice.”  SAI also uncovered a number of areas for improvement and opportunities for us to mitigate potential risks and improve the impact of our Code of Conduct program.  You can read more about SAI’s detailed findings and recommendations on the Responsibility section of our website.

Overall, the Timberland Code of Conduct program is extremely sophisticated in its design and places Timberland among the leaders in the field.

- Craig Moss, project lead and SAI’s Director of Corporate Programs and Training

SAI’s thoroughness enabled this process to truly validate our program’s capability and effectiveness.  We look forward to continued partnership with SAI as we continue to work to create real improvements in our supply chain.

Ensuring that the thousands of people worldwide who make our products have fair and safe workplaces is part of our commitment to running a responsible business.  To learn more about our Code of Conduct program, visit the Responsibility section of our website.

  • Colleen Von Haden

     Hi Plamen -

    These are great questions,
    but fall somewhat beyond the scope of SAI’s review, which validated
    Timberland’s capability of achieving our Code of Conduct program objectives,
    including a review of our team’s necessary skills to be effective in the
    field.  SAI’s investigation and analysis was conducted by SAI’s local
    field staff in countries that we source from, but did not include additional
    support from other organizations.   Here are separate resources that
    provide additional information:

    As reported in our Quarterly Metrics (http://responsibility.timberland.com/reporting/goals-and-progress/#csr-factory_conditions_global-q),
    year over year, we have seen more than 50% of suppliers show improved scores in
    our assessment process, indicating that factories are remediating issues found,
    such as those related to working hours, wages, and safety over time.
    Minimum wages are enforced with all factories that we source from.

    Additionally, Timberland’s sourcing
    team works closely and regularly with our Supplier Sustainability Team to
    incorporate factory assessment results into purchasing decisions and production
    orders. We added a new metric in 2010 to our CSR reporting to communicate
    sourcing managers’ progress for place orders with suppliers that have basic
    levels of compliance at time of selection. See http://responsibility.timberland.com/reporting/goals-and-progress/#csr-factory_sourcing.

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