Clean Drinking Water in Vietnam

According to reports from the World Health Organization and UNICEF, every year 3.6 million people die of water-related diseases.  Access to clean drinking water is one of the basic needs we work to ensure all workers in our supply chain have.

During an assessment of factories in and around Hanoi, Vietnam, our Supplier Sustainability Team discovered that clean drinking water was the #1 concern among workers at the Stella Group’s Golden Star factories in Hai Phong City, Vietnam (a port city located about 60 miles east of Hanoi).  Although the water within the factory itself was clean, we learned that the community where many of the Golden Star workers live is far away, and far more rural: Residents there have to rely on groundwater and rainwater for drinking and domestic use, with little (if any) filtration.

When Timberland learns that access to clean drinking water is an issue in workers’ communities, we call on our partnership with Planet Water Foundation to help meet the need. Planet Water Foundation is a U.S.-based, nonprofit organization that strives to bring clean water to the world’s most disadvantaged communities through the installation of water filtration systems and education on how to use them.

In Vietnam, Timberland’s Supplier Sustainability Team worked with Planet Water Foundation, the factory and the local community to determine the best location for two clean drinking water towers.  The final selections were on the grounds of two kindergartens, where the highest number of community members would have access.  The towers were constructed in July 2012.

One advantage of the Planet Water filtration system is that the system doesn’t require any consumables. The filters only require nominal daily maintenance checks by school staff, and can last seven to ten years. When needed, the filters can be replaced for a modest cost. In addition, Planet Water guarantees each installation and returns to the project site every three months for five years after the installation to ensure that the system is operating correctly.

While the primary benefit of the water towers is better health through clean drinking water, there’s a business case for brands and factories to provide a sustainable living environment for workers — as well as a humanitarian one. After all, when employees miss work because they’re ill—or have to stay home to care for sick family members—productivity suffers.

Golden Star Factory manager Doan Anh Tuan sums it up by saying, “This project has affected our everyday lives—not just at the factory but into our communities and schools. We’ll be feeling its impact for generations.”

In the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

Our thoughts are with the friends, families and fellow Timberland employees that are dealing with the impacts of Hurricane Sandy this week.  Like many other companies, we’re actively assessing the need for community support in the hardest hit areas, to see where and how we can be of most help.

If you’d like to support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, please consider one of the many organizations that are currently mobilizing workers, setting up shelters and sending much-needed supplies to the impacted region, such as the American Red Cross and AmeriCares.

Walk With Me: The Marcus Troy Experience

Last month, Timberland convened a group of creative influencers, led by lifestyle and fashion journalist Marcus Troy, for a unique outdoor journey designed to take them from nature to city and back again.  Against the backdrop of Timberland Canada’s headquarters in Toronto, we outfitted our group of ten trendsetters in Timberland gear, including the Earthkeepers City Premium boot and GT Scramble and led them on a 2.8 mile hike through some of the city’s most beautiful settings.

During the day, each participant was tasked with taking pictures and capturing the experience through their own creative lens.  The result is a series of phenomenal images and perspectives that live on Marcus Troy’s website.

What does an urban outdoor journey look like through the eyes of influencers like Karla Moy, William Yan, Shane Stirling and Bryan Espiritu?  Immerse yourself in the Marcus Troy Experience to find out.

2 Outdoor-Ready Styles from SHAPE’s Ali Sunshine

Don’t pack your weekend bag without watching this video, starring SHAPE magazine‘s own TrendShaper Ali Sunshine.  Ali shares a few of her favorite ways to wear our Earthkeepers Alpine Tall boot — a wonderful waterproof boot that will keep you looking good and feeling good, whether you’re headed out for a morning hike or ending the day by the fire.

We’ve got Alpine boots in a variety of styles. Shop the collection now.

From Everest to Iditarod: Cindy Abbott’s Incredible Journey

Cindy Abbott is a wife and a mother with some “normal” hobbies and interests (ballroom dancing, SCUBA diving and cheering on the San Diego Chargers) … and others that are not so normal.  In 2010, Cindy summited Mount Everest, and she’s currently in training for the 1150-mile Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska.

More extraordinary?  Cindy was diagnosed in 2007 with Wegener’s Granulomatosis – a rare and incurable form of vasculitis that affects the nose, lungs, kidneys, and other organs.  She’s functionally blind in her left eye and suffers extreme joint pain, fatigue and circulation issues because of the disease.

Not really the kind of person you’d expect to be summiting Mount Everest or braving the extreme conditions of the Iditarod, is she?

When we first heard about Cindy and her remarkable story, we did what bootmakers do (naturally): We sent her some boots.  As she trains to compete in the “Last Great Race on Earth,” her feet will stay warm and dry in a pair of our Earthkeepers Stratton Tall boots.

Cindy’s motivation for taking on these incredible challenges is simply to raise awareness for rare diseases such as her own – and that’s a mission we’re happy to support.  In the coming months, we’ll be providing updates on Cindy’s training and preparation for the Iditarod on our women’s site – please check back often to see how she’s doing.  In the meantime, you can learn more about Cindy and the journey that has brought her to this point on her website, reachingbeyondtheclouds.com.  To offer your support, go to Cindy’s fundraising page.

Behind the Scenes at Grain Surfboards

Eco-conscious, locally sourced and community driven, Grain handbuilds wooden surfboards, skateboards, bodyboards and handboards in southern Maine. We met up with the Grain guys a few months ago to get their thoughts for our Expert Advice section – and in addition to their words of wisdom, we also came away a bunch of great photos of board-building action.  Here are a few of our favorite shots that didn’t make it to the website:

Mike and Brad (Grain's co-founders) with a couple of beautiful boards

Brad -after we asked him how many bugs he eats on his morning commute

Hookset Premiums, working hard

Nolan focusing on shaping the rail on a lucky someone’s Fish

Recycling wood shavings

You can learn more about Grain on their website.  To learn about how they’re working to be a sustainable business, check out our men’s site.

Kit Neale Talks Attitude, Style and Ray Petri

We’ve invited some of the most influential stylists, menswear designers and editors to guest-write for us here on the Bootmakers Blog. Below, London menswear designer Kit Neale explains his introduction to fashion, his obsession with Ray Petri and how the infamous 80s stylist influenced – and still influences – his work.

I was about thirteen when I first took notice of fashion. I was forced to relocate with my family from South-East London to a small naval town called Gosport on the south coast of England. Suddenly I felt like some kind alien in this town. It was a culture shock and I desperately sought to try and express myself through clothes.

There is an image I remember stumbling across in one of the few good magazines I had access to; on reflection this was probably i-D Magazine. The picture was of a man wearing a green MA1 flying jacket. He wore pristine Levi’s and Timberland boots, in what I later came to understand was a carefully groomed ‘Buffalo’ look. I tried and probably dramatically failed to emulate his style – I just never had the attitude.

The man in the image was Ray Petri – my ‘fashion hero’. Petri was a notorious stylist in the eighties who pioneered a group of visionaries under the Buffalo collective – I have been obsessed ever since. The images he creates are always prominent references to my work. For me, Ray Petri’s unflinchingly tough style epitomises something far beyond fashion. He captures an identity and soul through the way in which each garment is worn. I persist to achieve this one day through my own work.

I guess for Ray Petri the Timberland boot was essential in completing the classic Buffalo look. It is a style icon in its own right that transcends its own popularity as a design. I will never comprehensively understand how Ray Petri achieved such an enigmatic look as hard I may try.

Kit Neale's fashion hero Ray Petri. Photo from the book Buffalo: Ray Petri, published by PowerHouse books.

Timberland’s Quarterly CSR Reporting

Timberland recently announced its Q2 2012 CSR performance. You’ll find highlights from our second quarter’s performance below, organized by our four CSR Pillars: climate, product, factories, and service.  For complete Q2 2012 performance data and analysis, please visit the Goals & Progress section of our Responsibility website.

CLIMATE:

  • Greenhouse Gas emissions for Timberland owned and operated facilities, as well as air travel, decreased 18% compared to Q2 2011, primarily due to new clean energy purchases in the United Kingdom and a slight reduction in air travel.

PRODUCT:

  • We continue to reduce the environmental impact of our products by focusing on chemicals management in manufacturing.  In Q2 2012, our global average grams/ pair of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in footwear production was 63.2, which is near constant vs. Q2 2011. We anticipate improvements in VOC reductions as early as Q1 2013, as we are now evaluating new products during the development stage and targeting additional support and training for factories that are most challenged with VOC consumption.

FACTORIES:

  • Our parent company (VF) conducted 68 audits of Timberland suppliers in Q2 2012. 19 were Accepted (28%), 45 were Accepted to be Upgraded (66%), and 4 were Rejected (6%) – an improvement vs. Q1 2012 results. Action plans are in process for all factories that are Accepted to be Upgraded.  Primary issues at Rejected factories are lack of social insurance contributions, proper hours/wages recordkeeping, adequate fire alarms and machine guarding, and transparency. If improved ratings are not achieved with re-audits, these suppliers will be dropped.

SERVICE:

  • Timberland employees served a total of 55,189 hours as of the end of Q2 2012. The Hours Utilization Rate (HUR – the percentage of employee service hours used compared to total available according to the Path of Service program) year to date at the end of Q2 2012 was 28%, which is up 7% vs. Q2 2011.

More detail about our Q2 2012 CSR performance can be found on our Responsibility website.  Have a question, comment or want to continue the conversation?  Email us at csrinfo@timberland.com

1 Piece, 3 Ways: Layer on the Leather

Every woman should have a classic leather bomber stashed in the closet (right next to her little black dress).   The Earthkeepers Quilted Leather Bomber combines rich, rugged leather and feminine tailoring – making it a perfect pairing for just about any outfit.  See?

Whether it’s layered over your best dress, worn under a fun faux fur vest or topping a colorful t-shirt, the Quilted Leather Bomber lends classic style that’s as comfortable as it is beautiful.

You don’t need a million-dollar budget to look like a million bucks; for more suggestions on how to wear 1 piece 3 ways, visit our women’s site.

20 Years of Service and One Great Day

Across the globe, Timberland employees are celebrating the 20th anniversary of our Path of Service program, which offers them paid time off to volunteer in their communities.  And what better way to celebrate 20 years of service than with more service?

Here at our Stratham NH headquarters, more than 350 employees pulled on their boots a few weeks ago and set out to assist a variety of local nonprofit organizations as part of “Serv-a-palooza” — Timberland’s annual global service event.  We were lucky enough to get blue skies, ample sunshine and just enough power tools to go around … and although there were a few blisters and sore backs at the end of the day, they were overshadowed by wide smiles (pride? relief?) and a collective sense of accomplishment.

Here’s how we spent our day:

Fresh trim paint for the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, NH

Measure TWICE cut once! Some of us learned the hard way

Invasive plant species? No match for our president Patrik Frisk

We had plenty of volunteers eager (perhaps TOO eager) to run the saw

Some of us worked really hard ...

... and some of us were better at resting

But we all had fun!

Huge thanks to the Timberland CSR team for organizing yet another successful, impactful day of service, and to the partners who donated their time, materials and invaluable knowledge — we couldn’t do so much good in so little time without you.