Posts Tagged ‘environmental stewardship’

Timberland Helps Haiti Plant 2 Million Trees (and Counting)

Three years after committing to plant 5 million trees in five years, Timberland is proud to share progress of improved environmental, economic and social conditions in the rural region near Gonaives, Haiti.  In partnership with a local non-governmental organization, the Smallholder Farmers Alliance, we support an agroforestry program to train Haitian farmers to improve crop yields – and have planted 2.2 million trees along the way.

In 2010, Timberland teamed up with representatives from the Smallholder Farmers Alliance to create a self-sustaining agroforestry model that would deliver agricultural improvement, environmental restoration and economic growth for participating farmers through the development of eight community tree nurseries and agricultural training centers. This pilot cooperative, which is reliant on private sector, non-profit and community partnership, will plant a million more trees in 2013, 2014 and 2015, for a total of 5 million.

The Smallholder Farmers Alliance engaged a group of 2,000 small-scale farmers in the area near Gonaives and transformed the group into a for-profit agroforestry cooperative.  The farmers volunteer their time to manage the tree nurseries and plant trees in return for agricultural services, including high-yield seed, training in crop management, in-field technical support and the good quality tools needed to produce higher yields of sorghum, beans, corn and other food items. Farmers sell their crops individually, but the cooperative supports them by paying for these continued services with the sale of excess trees from the farmer-run tree nurseries.

After just three years of investment, the cooperative continues as a farmer-managed, self-financed operation. This innovation in “exit strategy aid,” which sets a time limit on external funding, tackles a key challenge faced by corporate organizations when getting involved in sustainability or disaster relief projects on the ground in developing nations.

To learn more about Timberland’s tree planting efforts visit the community section of our website.

Dutch Treat: Timberland Opens New Distribution Center in Holland

Timberland relies on its European distribution center in Enschede, Holland to supply footwear, apparel, and accessories to all of its customers throughout Europe. When the lease on the facility was coming to an end, Timberland weighed the pro and cons of renewing it or moving to another location—carefully considering the environmental impact of each.

We knew we needed a larger space for the future. When we looked at the cost of maintaining older equipment that would need to be replaced, we decided it would be more cost-effective to build a new, larger facility with more efficient equipment that required less energy to run.

- David Rupert, Timberland’s Director of International Distribution Engineering

Timberland chose Almelo, Holland—17 miles south of Enschede—for the new distribution center. The location has both business and environmental benefits, with easy access to the ports of Rotterdam to reduce emissions from trucking.

To live up to the company’s environmental commitment, Timberland partnered with OVG re/ developers, a Dutch developer with a proven track record in sustainable building construction.   OVG re/ developers developed the facility specifically to Timberland’s requirements—one of which was that the building meet Europe’s BREEAM® (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) certification. To earn a BREEAM® certificate, a building must meet established benchmarks for specification, design, construction, and use, as they relate to such topics as energy and water use, the health of the internal environment, pollution, transportation, materials, waste, ecology, and management processes. The new distribution center opened in April 2012, and in June, it officially received a “Good” BREEAM® certification.

Now fully operational, the facility features a number of environmentally conscious attributes, including underground storage tanks that collect rainwater for flushing toilets and motion-detector lights to help reduce energy consumption. A new, state-of-the-art, automated packing system offers greater efficiency—and less noise.  Outside, there’s extensive green landscaping—including more than 100 birdhouses that provide a home for swallows and bats. And like the old facility, the new facility gets 100% of its energy from wind power.

“Our new distribution facility proves once again that eco-conscious choices can also be smart business choices. Now we’re more efficient than ever before—shipping out products faster and with less impact to the planet,” concludes Rupert.

Sharing Traditions (and Garden Tools) With Our VF Family

Last month, Timberland celebrated our first Earth Day as a member of the VF Corporation family.  We’re proud to  share our 20-year tradition of community service with the other VF Brands, and were excited for the opportunity to share our first Earth Day service event with hundreds of volunteers from our new “sister brands” JanSport, lucy and The North Face.

Sharing our commitment to service is important to us – and so is the impact that it creates in communities and for the organizations we serve.  Look at the good work our Earth Day team of volunteers did to benefit the Alameda Point Collaborative in California:

2012 marks the 20th anniversary of Timberland’s Path of Service program, which gives our employees paid time off to serve in the community.  You can learn more about the program on our Responsibility website.  To learn more about our Earth Day efforts, check out our previous posts.

Tree Planting in Bangladesh

Timberland’s Code of Conduct team works to ensure fair and safe working conditions inside the factories where our products are made, as well as positive living conditions beyond factory walls.  In the course of their important work, they often uncover inspirational stories – like this one, which comes from a Timberland supplier in Bangladesh:

In July 2011, Timberland footwear supplier Bangladesh Pou Hung (BPH) launched a massive tree plantation initiative, called ‘Plant Trees and Save Environment.’ Under this initiative the BPH has already started to plant trees at its factory premises and all around the BEPZA trade zones (Bangladesh export processing zone authority).

BPH launched this tree planting initiative with the realization that tree planting is something positive for the environment that everyone can do; there’s no big budget to plant a tree, and its returns are valuable and sustainable.

We’re proud to partner with suppliers like Pou Hung that are committed to taking positive action for the environment, and inspiring others to do the same!

Money & Manpower: We’re Giving Both to One Lucky Boston Nonprofit

Timberland is awarding a $2,500 “Earth Day” grant in April to a Boston-area community organization dedicated to environmental stewardship.

And, that’s not all. We will provide 100 employees to serve with the chosen organization this summer.* You can learn more by watching this:

Interested organizations can apply at the new Timberland store on 201 Newbury Street in Boston or by sending an email to csrinfo@timberland.com. The winning organization and the runner-up will be highlighted in a store display this spring.

To learn more about the Newbury Street store, check out the video we posted last week.

* As part of Timberland’s Path of Service program, full time employees get 40 hours and part time employees get 20 hours of paid time off to serve in their communities.

Earthkeeping at Ivanete Palla

The following story comes from Carlos Roberto Giacomozzi, one of our code of conduct assessors in Brazil.  Here, he reports on the environmental efforts being made by workers at Ivanete Palla, one of our contract factories:

Ivanete Palla is a small-sized shoe factory located in a very small town settled in the South region of Brazil. The name of the town is Sao Jorge (Saint Jorge) and it has a population of only 2774 inhabitants (1451 living in the urban area and 1323 living in the rural area) and the economy of the town is mostly based on the agriculture sector.

Currently, the factory employs around 80 workers in its 2 units but there was a time in the past when it employed over 120 workers, which means that the factory has a significant impact in the lives of the people and in the economy of the town.

In order to get to that town and visit this factory, I have to take a flight to the city of Porto Alegre (the state’s Capital) and then rent a car and drive for about 3.5 hours. The drive includes approximately 17 miles of dirt road with amazing scenery of beautiful small farms and green vegetation and pastures.

Although the town is very small and located in the rural area of the country, it is not shielded from the pollution caused by the lack of self-consciousness of the population. Brazil is a country that was blessed with lots of water that flows out from water springs from everywhere, forming creeks, rivers, etc. And what should be a good thing very often turns out to be a huge problem for the population, given that many places in the country suffer with flooding after heavy rains which hit many people’s homes.

However, the heavy rains are not the only cause of the flooding. One of the things that contributes to these natural disasters is the heavy load of all kind of materials illegally wasted into the water streams by human actions. Such materials include plastic bottles, plastic bags, tires, clothing, etc.; that contributes to the swollen streams during heavy rains by obstructing the natural course of water, resulting in the flooding of the cities.

In order to prevent the flooding caused by the human activities in their city/region, the workers at Ivanete Palla are doing voluntary work cleaning up the banks and surrounding areas of a creek located in the back of the factory, which is called “Sanguinha creek.” The workers collect the trash materials disposed of into the creek by human actions and then send those materials to be recycled or properly disposed of by the local municipality. The voluntary work done at that stream by the workers at Ivanete Palla is very important and it will certainly have a significant impact in the prevention of flooding in that city and in the surrounding region as well.