Timberland COC Team Engages in Southeast India Service

Timberland’s Code of Conduct coordinator Ann Caron shared this report from the Code of Conduct Summit we recently held in India:

Timberland’s annual Code of Conduct (COC) Summit, held in India in January, expanded its scope this year to include licensee representatives from CWF and Sperian, sourcing representatives from Timberland’s International Design Center in London, and members of the management teams of Matrix Clothing, Farida Shoes, Eastman Apparel, Birdy Apparel, Pou Yuen, and Li & Fung.  This 40+ person group gathered in Bangalore, Ambur, and Chennai, to engage in 8 days of learning, collaborating, and networking to strengthen our knowledge base and passion for Timberland’s Code of Conduct and environmental values.

Of course, no Timberland gathering would be complete without at least a few hours of community service.  On day 4, the group traveled to Farida for a tour of two of their facilities.  We were welcomed with warmth and hospitality, and were able to see Timberland shoes being produced in front of us.  After our tour, we traveled to Farida’s medical facility, where they offer healthcare to their workforce and the community.  When we reached the clinic, we were greeted by a dry, barren landscape, and a pile of sod, several trees, and a small mountain of soil.

We quickly donned our personal protective equipment, grabbed our tools and got to work.  We spread the pile of soil into the back yard of the clinic – no fancy bobcats or tractors, we formed an assembly line and passed shallow bowls of soil from the front to the back.

Then we laid out sod — not in rolls, but in square foot pieces — over the newly spread soil, transforming the barren soil into a lush, green carpet.  We finished by planting trees in the front and back yards to someday provide shade for the patients seeking medical care.

During this time, we created quite a stir among the community.  Passersby stopped to watch us, and even pitch in.  Children watched and cheered us on, and even joined us for a few photo opportunities.  There were even a few cows in residence.

The participants were asked to reflect on their service experience.  Here are some of the things they shared:

“First of all, my quick thinking is why are we not using more effective tools to move that pile of mud away to the garden?  Then fantastic things happened when my body turned right and turned left quickly – I saw that rhythm of life, the love people who want to give and the happiness of working hard together.  While the mud land was being changed to be green, that motivated and excited me.  Yes, do the right thing and make things better.  This is my first service event this year, and my first in India.  Thanks for inviting me to join.”

“Community service does not have a face, color, nationality, religious or political belief attached to it.  I was someone from another country trying to create a better living environment for people that I did not know and that I will probably never meet or see.”

“I was inspired very much by the way you all were dedicated and involved until the completion and the way you all moved with me, really I am honored.  I have a feeling that we all belong to one family.  All I can give you back is only thanks, thanks, and thank you all so much.”

“I loved that there were local kids present and asking questions.  It was great to tell them what we were doing and have them interested in service in the future.  One wanted to join us.  I felt it was a great multi-member group – COC, factory, IDC, and locals, and that showed what can be done when there is one main goal.  We were fast!”

“Together, we made it better.”

The Farida team, who already serves its community on a regular basis, was thrilled with the quick transformation of the clinic’s grounds and was inspired by the team’s “Pull on your boots and make a difference” spirit.  The COC team was exhausted, but at the same time energized and inspired by the impact we created in such a short time.

Just another example of how a small group of committed citizens can make a difference.

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