Posts Tagged ‘community investment’

Making a Difference in Brazil: Alpargatas Institute

Alpargatas S.A. is one of the largest shoe manufacturing companies in Latin America, and has been Timberland’s distributor in Brazil since 1998. The company has 13 factories in Brazil and Argentina, and employs more than 17,000 employees worldwide.

In 2003, Alpargatas founded the Alpargatas Institute with the mission of contributing to the improvement and quality of education for children, teenagers and young people through sports and culture in the communities in which the company operates.

The institute has partnered with the government and local NGOs to develop various programs for students, both during and after school. The institute’s programs focus on education via sport, education through culture, volunteering activities, as well as donations.

The actions of the Alpargatas Institute reflect the strong social concern that is embedded in the DNA of Alpargatas. Sport and culture are directly linked to the promotion of quality of life, welfare, integration, overcoming barriers as well as for the understanding of individuals and teams. Therefore, we believe that by supporting sports, educational and cultural activities Alpargatas is adding elements to the school curriculum of these communities that are part of the everyday life of our business and our way of being and living.

- Alpargatas’ President, Mr. Marcio Utsch

The Alpargatas Institute currently has programs in 13 cities in 4 states, and to date, these programs have benefitted over 348,000 children, helping them to gain a wealth of knowledge, experience, confidence and hope for a better future.  In addition, these programs have helped to contribute to the improvement of the Basic Education Development Index – an indicator created by Brazilian Federal Government to evaluate the quality of education in the country – in the cities in where it operates.

We are proud of the positive impact that Alpargatas is having in its communities, and pleased to call them a long-time Timberland partner.

Follow Your Passion: Expert Advice from Grain Surfboards

Mike and Brad are the founders of Grain Surfboards – an eco-conscious, locally-sourced and community driven business located in southern Maine near the Atlantic Ocean (all the better for putting their boards to the test).

The guys of Grain

We caught up with them during a few quiet moments when they weren’t focused on waves or work to see what tips they have for other aspiring small and sustainable business owners:

Source local. Not only does it help your community and economy when you buy your materials locally, it cuts down on transportation emissions.  Grain uses cedar from a local mill for their boards.

Local wood makes for great boards

Hire local. Another great way to support your community is by hiring your (qualified) neighbors.  Some of Grain’s employees live so close by, they travel to work by bicycle (talk about a fun commute!).

Grain's employee parking lot

Use everything. Grain gives its wood shavings to farmers, who use it as bedding for animals.  What kind of waste are you throwing in the landfill that could have a useful second life?  (At Timberland, we’ve started using old fishing nets to make material for our jackets – who knew?)

Some lucky animal will be sleeping on these tomorrow

And finally: Follow your passion. Mike and Brad and their team are crazy about 2 things: surfing and treating the world right – and those passions shine through in every decision and surfboard they make.  If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, life’s not nearly as much fun.

To see what other tips Mike and Brad have, visit the Expert Advice section of our men’s website.  To see for yourself the beautiful boards they produce, go to