Issues in Earthkeeping, Part II

As an update to our recent blog post about Issues in Earthkeeping, Timberland today issued the following statement regarding deforestation in the Amazon Biome:

For more than 20 years, Timberland has been committed to active environmental stewardship, including a long history of combating climate change through partnerships like the Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), and taking responsibility for our product supply chain through strong code of conduct and transparency programs.  One thing we’ve learned for sure, no matter how good our efforts and intentions, no one company can “go it alone,” and so we are grateful for the work of NGOs such as Greenpeace in exposing problems deep with in the Brazilian leather supply chain.  Deforestation in the Amazon Biome, particularly deforestation since July, 2006, by farms that may ultimately provide cattle and hides to our leather supply chain is not in any way acceptable to us.

For more than 20 years, Timberland’s approach to supplier relationships has been one of active, mutual engagement – where we discover opportunities to improve the dignity of workers, to conserve precious natural resources, to create profit and sustainable social change — we have an unflinching commitment to work with our value chain to address failures.  We seek sustainable change, not short term gestures.  We seek suppliers with a real commitment to action.  When we discover failures, we work zealously to address the problem.  If we don’t find partners willing to make substantive efforts to change, we change partners.  We have lived these principles consistently through time all over the world, and have seen many positive improvements in human rights and environmental practices in our supply chain, over the years.

Our principles apply in the Amazon, and so we are working closely with our suppliers in Brazil, including Bertin, to ensure they have an action plan in place that addresses their commitment to an immediate moratorium on deforestation in the Amazon Biome, and of course refraining from sourcing products from indigenous or protected lands or entities that engage in slave labor.  In order to maintain a relationship with Timberland, all current Brazilian leather suppliers must publicly commit to supporting an immediate moratorium on any further cattle expansion into the Amazon by August 15, 2009. Additionally this commitment will include implementation of a traceability policy and monitoring to ensure adherence to these principles and a timeline to phase out of sourcing from farms which have deforested land since July 2006. We will similarly work with all other Brazilian companies that provide leather for Timberland products, including products made by third parties under license from Timberland.

We will also continue our active involvement as a member of the Leather Working Group to address this issue on an industry-wide level as we believe this is the most effective way to bring about meaningful change and policies.

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