Posts Tagged ‘path of service’

The Evolution of Earth Day

It used to be that most Timberland employees worldwide celebrated Earth Day on or as close to April 22 as possible. I would wake up in New Hampshire and pull on my boots, jeans and service T-shirt, knowing that my colleagues in Asia were kicking their feet up after a hard day of service, that my European friends were in the post-lunch service push to get everything done before the end of the day, and that our West Coast teams would close the wave of service a few hours after us.

Over the past few years, we’ve added more flexibility to our global Earth Day events to maximize our impact and employee participation, and in recognition that it simply isn’t possible for every service project we lead across the globe to take place on the same day or even in the same week.

For example, the success of our tree planting projects (in support of our company’s commitment to reforestation) is much more dependent on seasonal weather than a date on the calendar:

Our team in China kicked off our global Earth Day “season” on April 1 by planting 350 trees – a continuation of the “Great Green Wall” program we launched a year ago. Meanwhile in India, it’s just too darn hot this time of year to put fledgling trees in the ground and expect them to survive. For that reason, our Indian colleagues will celebrate Earth Day in a couple of months when the weather will better sustain newly planted trees.

Somewhere between our events and China and India, other Timberland Earth Day events will take place. Projects and locations include:

  • New York, NY: Timberland is partnering with GrowNYC to help maintain the Wanaqua Family Garden in the Bronx – a 10,000 square foot plot of land that contains 20 community vegetable beds as well as a children’s garden where students and area residents come to visit. Some planned activities for the day include digging post holes for a shade structure, planting vegetables with students, cleaning up wrought iron fencing and planting garden boxes.
  • Madrid, Spain: We’re working with the Madridejos City Hall to plant 300 trees and build a fence to protect the area. Timberland’s 15 volunteers will be joined by 40 students who will engage in an environmental activity to learn the importance of reforestation and environmental protection.
  • Santiago, Dominican Republic: Approximately 300 Timberland volunteers will be joined by over 100 partners and community volunteers to plant 5,000 – 7,000 trees in “Rafey’s Park” in Santiago City. This project marks the continuation of an ongoing effort to reforest the park.
  • Dover, NH: 75 Timberland volunteers will serve at the Horne Street School in Dover, landscaping the area to complement the school’s newly renovated environmentally-efficient building. Sustainable landscape improvements will include a community garden, new fitness stations throughout the grounds, and outdoor group activities.

All in all, more than 7,200 volunteers will unite in Timberland-hosted Earth Day events – generating over 50,000 hours of service. At Timberland’s headquarters in Stratham NH, we will participate in eight community greening projects in the Seacoast area tomorrow, April 21.

If you’re busy on April 22nd and feel you can’t be of service on that day, lighten up a little and be flexible. No one said your commitment to better the planet needs to be focused on just one day a year. Do what you can, when you can … the important part is doing something rather than nothing.

40 Hours: What Footprint Would You Leave?

Every full-time Timberland employee is entrusted with 40 hours of paid time off (part-timers get 20) to serve in their communities and for organizations and causes that are important to them.  40 hours – that’s one full week, over the course of a year, in which they can invest their time and talent to whatever personal passions they have: coaching a soccer team, volunteering at a local animal shelter, organizing a fundraiser, stocking shelves at a food bank. No politics, no organized religious activities—otherwise, serve from your heart.

The program is called the Path of Service, and in the 18 years we’ve had it in place, my colleagues’ enthusiasm for the serving has inspired and astounded.  And the good we’ve accomplished in communities around the world has grown exponentially.

As the CEO, I’m proud of Path of Service—it stands proof that for-profit business can be a force for positive social change, that we can deliver the quarter’s financial result, and make a difference in the communities we live and work in.

Service is a corporate value, but a personal choice and effort.  As CEO, I need to ensure that our corporate investment in service serves our business strategies, explicitly and clearly.  So—planting trees, serving on Earth Day, urban green space clean ups—the CEO spends plenty of hours underscoring that environmental sustainability is a key element of Timberland’s business strategy.

But the nice thing about volunteer service is, even the CEO is accountable for his or her own path of service.  When I serve as Jeff the citizen—I can act on the passions that drive me, personally and individually.

As a blessed individual in this time and place, I can’t get my head around the reality of childhood hunger.  Just can’t.  And so for my personal 40 hours of citizen service, I am enrolled as a volunteer in the campaign to end childhood hunger in America by 2015.

End Childhood Hunger in America—end it.  Yeah—I know the numbers, nearly 50 million Americans lack the means to regularly put enough nutritious food on their tables – and of that number, nearly 17 million are children—but I have seen what Share Our Strength is doing, state by state, to change this reality, and I know that this campaign can and will succeed.  If you are interested, look at this link—nokidhungry.org.  Ending childhood hunger is not a dream, it is a concrete and deliverable reality, and as citizen, this is where I’m investing my personal and passion.

I am grateful beyond words that I have 40 hours to feed my soul, and to dedicate to feeding hungry kids in America.  Imagine if every business leader in corporate America had 40 hours to fight for his or her passion.  I wonder–if you had 40 hours, what footprint would you leave?