Posts Tagged ‘Green Index’

Measuring What Matters and the Higg Index

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an article about the newly-launched Higg Index, which will allow brands, factories and chemical manufacturers to score the relative sustainability of their products. Eventually, the intent is to also make that information available to consumers to better inform their purchasing decisions — much in the same way you can compare nutrition labels to make smart choices at the grocery store.

The Higg Index was developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) in partnership with the Outdoor Industry Association Sustainability Working Group (OIA SWG).  Timberland is proud to have been a founder, and to continue to play a leadership role, in both of these groups. In fact, the Higg Index was inspired in part by our Green Index® rating system, which “scores” Timberland products based on their environmental impacts.

The launch of the Higg Index is important news, and a sign that we’re moving in the right direction of increased transparency and sustainability in the footwear and apparel industry.  We look forward to working with the other members of the SAC and OIA SWG as the tool develops.

Progress marches on!

Timberland’s Quarterly CSR Reporting

Earlier this week, Timberland announced its CSR performance results for the first quarter of 2012. Highlights from each of our four CSR pillars (climate, product, factories, and service) are below.  Specific Q1 2012 performance data and analysis can be found on the Goals & Progress section of Timberland’s Responsibility website.

CLIMATE:

  • Our Greenhouse Gas emissions decreased 8.5% compared to Q1 2011, primarily due to new clean energy purchases in the United Kingdom, as well as Italy and Germany. Other factors were slight reduction in air travel and a warm winter (whereby we used less heating throughout global facilities).

PRODUCT:

  • We have successfully upgraded our product lifecycle management software to better automate Green Index® scores for our footwear. During 2012, we are working towards our goal to have all footwear scored by the end of this year.
  • Timberland continues to prioritize the use of environmentally-preferred materials in our products. In Q1 2012, 34.6% of materials in our apparel production were recycled, organic, or renewable (ROR). Timberland’s International Design Center continues to drive improved ROR use across our apparel production. We are also working with our Licensee partners to further incorporate these materials.

FACTORIES:

  • In Q1 2012, our new parent company (VF) began assessing Timberland suppliers. Consistent with VF’s commitment to promote best practices and continuous improvement throughout its factories, Timberland’s Code of Conduct team (renamed to Supplier Sustainability Team in 2012) will continue to engage suppliers by providing remediation assistance, capacity building and “beyond compliance” efforts. For more information about changes in our Compliance & Supplier Sustainability program see http://responsibility.timberland.com/factories.

SERVICE:

  • Timberland employees served a total of 23,555 hours as of the end of Q1 2012. The Hours Utilization Rate (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 Q1 2012 was 11.8%, which is up 3.8% vs. Q1 2011. This is primarily driven by significant increases in hours served by our employees in the Dominican Republic and North America.

Looking for more?  Additional details about our quarterly performance, goals and progress can be found on our Responsibility website.  If you have thoughts, questions or comments about our CSR performance, we’d love to hear them.  Email us at csrinfo@timberland.com.

Light, Lean, Sexy, Stylish: Hookset Handcrafted

The ask: Create a footwear collection that has unique Timberland DNA and is appropriate for spring and fall casual wear when you’re kicking it beachside with friends or lounging in the park. The answer: The Hookset Handcrafted Collection.

Ok, next question: What do you do when you learn that this collection is distinctively hand made, minimalist-inspired, stylish, fun and great for the environment? You can’t help but make a sexy stop-motion video to show the Hookset Handcrafted in all its glory.

Four materials expertly combined: 100% organic cotton canvas, genuine leather, 100% natural latex and aluminum. That’s it, that’s all. The Hookset Handcrafted Collection features minimal amounts of these materials, combined with a lean environmental impact in an extremely stylish package.

We asked filmer / photographer Spencer Higgins to bring his talents from the fashion and automobile world to Timberland. And the result? Oozing with cool, the Hookset Handcrafted. Four materials, expertly combined with our lowest Green Index score measured to date.*

Take a peek and see what we’re made of. Then learn more: mens.timberland.com.

*Green Index score of 3.5 measured as of May 2012.

Timberland’s 2010 CSR Results and the Importance of Target Setting

It’s that time of year where people in my position are busy compiling year-end social and environmental performance which will eventually end up in our Corporate Social Responsibility report. Timberland has been reporting on our impacts since 2000, and we’re proud to share our accomplishments and how we got there. What’s equally as important is communicating our failure to meet certain targets, why that may have happened and what we’re doing about it. We call this balanced transparency – and it’s critical for building credibility as a responsible business.

Why would we publish targets that might be aspirational? As a public company, we strive to make responsible choices every day for our business, communities and the outdoors. We vet our targets internally with business units who are responsible for implementing programs to meet these goals, and also externally with issue experts, NGOs, and other stakeholders who push us to reduce our impact and improve the places we live and work. This process holds us to a higher standard. For example, we recently achieved a 38% GHG emissions reduction at the end of 2010 – a huge accomplishment by corporate standards. Sure, we didn’t meet our target last year – but we would never have reduced our footprint by as much as we did had we not set an extremely aggressive goal to in the first place.

And now we’re at it again… at the end of 2010, we collected data to see how we fared against other bold goals. Below, you can find a sampling of our year-end 2010 results, organized by Timberland’s four CSR “pillars,” which are also available for download at http://community.timberland.com/Corporate-Responsibility. By analyzing our current progress and challenges, we can now look to a longer-term horizon to consider new and different ways we will reduce our impact. For the last six months, we have been working on new targets that push us even further. We’ll publish these goals externally so that stakeholders can track our progress – look for our new CSR report late this summer!

2010 CSR Results

ENERGY:

  • As already noted, we achieved a 38% emissions reduction in 2010. This achievement is for our owned and operated footprint and employee air travel, over a 2006 baseline. Our recently released white paper gives all of the details.

PRODUCT:

  • Green Index® scores stayed relatively flat, which is an achievement because we scored a greater variety of products in 2010 (vs. mainly Earthkeeper product or “green” outdoor product in 2009), which included heavier leather styles that tend to score worse.  An increase in recycled content, our phase-out of PVC, and continued reduction in VOC consumption helped improve scores.
  • Of the cotton we purchased in 2010, 34% was organic. This is significantly higher than 2009 (18%), which is impressive given the sharp rise in the price of organic cotton and cotton as a whole.

WORKPLACES:

  • At the end of 2010, 32% of our suppliers had High Priority scores (compared to 32% at the end of 2009) primarily due to Wages and Working Hours issues. With the economic situation improving while labor shortages continued, working hours was a particularly challenging issue for many factories this year.  Our sourcing managers are increasing regular assessments of factories’ production capacities and making adjustments in orders (or securing additional suppliers).

SERVICE:

  • Timberland employees served a total of 75,859 hours in 2010, which represents an 8% decrease in hours served compared to 2009.  Continuing high demands on employees’ time at our manufacturing facility in the Dominican Republic along with our distribution centers in the U.S. contributed to a significant decrease in hours served as compared to last year.

Report Card: Timberland’s Social & Environmental Performance

Today, Timberland released our Q3 2010 CSR results. We issue quarterly reports about our social and environmental performance to be accountable for our impacts and progress towards forward-looking goals. As Timberland’s Strategy and Reporting Manager, it’s my job to collect all of this data and analyze its impact on the business. Are we on track to meet our goals? Are there areas we need to improve upon? We believe sharing both positive and (sometimes) negative results allows us to have a credible conversation with stakeholders – who in turn challenge and push us to reduce our impacts even further.

Here are some highlights from this quarter’s results, organized by Timberland’s Four CSR Pillars. Find the 1-page summary here, or check out the reports yourself by clicking on Reporting & Download tab of the new CSR page on Timberland’s online community.

ENERGY:

We achieved a 3% emissions reduction in Q3 2010 compared to Q3 2009. This achievement is due to energy efficiency improvements (LED lighting retrofits in our stores and energy efficiency improvements in our corporate headquarters) and additional stores in Europe purchasing renewable electricity. The continued decrease in emissions puts us close to our 50% emissions reduction goal.

PRODUCT:

We saw a slight increase in Green Index ® scores (7.28 in Q1 2010 vs. 6.61 in Q1 2009; higher scores demonstrate larger environmental impact) this quarter.  This is primarily due to scoring a greater range of products which include heavier, leather products that have a greater carbon footprint.  We are, however, happy to see a year-over-year improvement in chemicals and resources scores. This demonstrates our product teams’ increased focus on using water-based adhesives, as well as recycled, renewable, and organic materials, and reduced reliance on PVC.

WORKPLACES:

At the close of Q3 2010, 32% of our suppliers hold High Priority scores (compared with 27% of suppliers at the end of Q2 2010) primarily due to Wages and Working Hours.  With the economic situation improving (orders increasing) while labor shortages increase, we anticipate working hours to be a recurrent issue for many factories this year.  Our sourcing managers are working with more focus to regularly assess production capacities of their factories and make adjustments in orders or secure additional suppliers.

SERVICE:

Timberland employees served a total of 57,067 hours in the first three quarters of 2010, which represents a 5% decrease in hours served at the close of Q3 2009.  Continuing high demands on employees‘ time at our manufacturing facility in the Dominican Republic along with our distribution centers in Danville, KY and Ontario, CA led to a significant decrease in hours served as compared to this time last year.  However, in Q3 2010, employees in Europe, our Stratham headquarters, U.S. Retail and Asia posted gains in service hours.

How do you think we’re doing? Share your thoughts here on the blog or visit our online forum to share your thoughts on individual pillars.

Corporate Responsibility by the Numbers

Timberland just announced its corporate social responsibility (CSR) results for the first quarter of 2010.  A couple of Earthkeeping highlights:

  • We achieved a 2.5% emissions reduction in Q1 2010 compared to performance in Q1 2009.  This reduction is due to energy efficiency improvements, like LED lighting retrofits in our stores and energy efficiency improvements at our headquarters.  Several of our stores in Europe are now purchasing renewable electricity, which also contributed to reduced energy demand.
  • We continue to see improvement in our Green Index® scores — meaning that the environmental impact of our products is getting lighter, and better.  In our Green Index rated products, recycled and organic content has increased 15% year over year in Q1, and our average Green Index score is 5.87, compared to 6.52 in Q1 2009 (on a 10-point scale with 1 being very green and 10 being very … not).

To read more about our quarterly CSR performance in more detail, visit earthkeeper.com/csr.  Have thoughts about how we’re doing?  Please share them here.

The Evolution of Timberland Product Labeling

A Nutritional Label—for Shoes

Timberland Nutrition Labwel

More and more, today’s consumers want to know what kind of environmental footprint is being left by the products they buy. In 2006, Timberland began putting that information on 30 million footwear boxes: by placing a “nutritional label” on every box to educate consumers about the product. Where it was manufactured. How it was produced. And its effect on the environment. To create the label, three critical areas are highlighted. Information about the manufacturing plant. The impact of manufacturing on the climate. And the impact on the community, including such factors as the number of hours of volunteer service performed by Timberland employees to “Make it better” in the community. We’re also putting a message inside the box asking consumers to consider what kind of footprint they themselves are leaving and encouraging them to become proactive in the effort to protect our planet. Under this initiative, footwear boxes are also crafted from 100% post-consumer recycled waste fiber, using no chemical glues. Only soy-based inks are used to print the labels, which are the first of their kind in the industry.

The First Step

So far, public reaction has been positive. But, as the Chinese proverb states, Read the rest of this entry »