Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

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.

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

10 Days of Fabulous Films (and One Cool Map)

Grab the popcorn and turn off your cell phone: The curtain will rise at the Toronto International Film Festival tomorrow.  We’ve had such a good time at the festival the past few years — touring the city, scouting for celebrities, taking in amazing films — that we’re going back again as an official TIFF sponsor this year.

As in past years, Timberland is helping to make the 2012 festival more sustainable and less impactful on the environment by providing reusable tote bags and complimentary pedal-powered taxi (EcoCab) transportation for festival attendees.  This year, we’re also excited to have sponsored the creation of a Festival Walking Map — a colorful, illustrative map detailing the festival “neighborhood” so that attendees can easily navigate their walk from the Isabel Bader Theatre to TIFF Bell Lightbox without missing a turn or a showtime.

The walking map was designed by Toronto artist Jillian Ditner, an award-winning Ontario College of Art and Design grad whose map design started with simple sketchbook drawings:

My process is to begin with hand drawn sketches to develop the layout and feeling of the piece, later adding color and texture digitally. For this festival map I wanted to create a warm and friendly feeling while focusing on important landmarks to help the viewer navigate the city. It was important for the map to be accessible without compromising usability.

- Jillian Ditner

The finished product IS warm and friendly, yes?  If you want to see a bigger, better version, the festival walking map is available on our website in both printable and mobile-friendly versions.

When we’re not using Jillian’s map to explore the streets of Toronto, we’ll spend the next week and a half taking in all the cultural glory that is TIFF 2012.  To share our experience (virtually) and to learn more about Timberland’s support of events like this one, visit our Festivals page.

Fashion Fresh From the Sea

Maybe it’s a symptom of our Yankee frugality, but at Timberland we LOVE to recycle.  There’s something oddly thrilling about giving old stuff like plastic bottles and discarded tires a second life as recycled materials in our products.

And as we get more excited about recycling, we get a little crazy.  For example: Recycled coffee grounds in our S.Café® yarn (the grounds trap odors and absorb sweat — who knew?).  And when you’re designing a jacket and you need it to be waterproof and durable, why not start by thinking about other materials that are waterproof and durable?  Like, I dunno … fishing nets and ropes, salvaged from the ocean?

Introducing ReNet™ recycled nylon fabric:

Using ReNet™ in our products means less waste in the landfill (or worse – floating around in the ocean) — and wearing a jacket with ReNet™ in it gives YOU a whopper of a good story to tell on your next fishing trip.

Learn more about ReNet™ and the other recycled and renewable materials we use in our products in the Timberland Technology Guide.

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.

Rock & Recycle: Expert Advice from Zero Hero

“Zero Hero” might sound like an oxymoron, but bear with me: this organization helps to make music and lifestyle festivals more eco-conscious and sustainable.  We caught up with Zero Hero founder Bryan Birch at the 2012 Wanderlust Festival in Vermont earlier this summer and he gave us some tips on how to enjoy summer’s best events without leaving a huge environmental impact:

Buddy Up.  Carpooling is way more fun than going solo anyway.  Another responsible alternative?  Using event-provided transportation, like the bio-diesel powered Wanderlust bus, to save gas money and CO2 emissions.

Wanderbus Roadtrip!

BYOBottle. Buying bottled water is so 2006.  Bring your own reusable bottle to fill on site to save a few bucks and spare the environment your plastic waste.

Dress for success. Mom always said wear clean underwear and that’s a good start – even better is topping it with clothing and footwear made with recycled and renewable materials. Like these:

Earthkeepers Wharf Bomber Jacket, made with recycled nylon

Earthkeepers Radler Trail Low Approach, featuring recycled PET linings and recycled rubber in the outsoles

To see what other eco-tips Bryan has for staying green while you’re festival-ing this summer, visit the Expert Advice section of our men’s website.

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.

CSR Stakeholder Call Summary: June 11th Scaling Sustainable Change Dialogue

Earlier this week, Timberland hosted a CSR Stakeholder Call about how to scale local community engagement efforts. Timberland’s VP of CSR Mark Newton was joined by Chuck Bennett, VP of Earth & Community Care at Aveda for a stimulating discussion about employee engagement, extending volunteerism up and down the supply chain, and how to scale efforts through collaboration and partnership.

Corporate community engagement

Did you know that 2012 is the 20th Anniversary of Timberland’s Path of Service™ program?  Path of Service is our employee volunteer program, which provides Timberland staff up to 40 paid hours for community service.  When the program was started, the idea of giving employees paid time off to perform community service was unconventional. Through this program Timberland offers our most valuable resource – our employees’ time – to engage in the communities where we live and work.

What was unique in 1992 is not so today; many companies now offer similar programs, and we’re fortunate to be informed and inspired by many of them – including Aveda, whose employee engagement program was outlined on this week’s call.

What’s the value of these community engagement efforts? We know our commitment to community engagement helps us retain employees and contributes to a healthy corporate culture. In our last global employee survey, 67% of employees reported that our Path of Service™ program plays a strong role in their decision to work at Timberland.

Extending up and down the supply chain

Just as we’ve seen increased employee development, attraction and retention inside our own company, we have encouraged and supported factories that produce our products to serve their local communities as well. See Timberland’s Responsibility site for examples of this engagement in factories in China.

We also have opportunity to engage business partners in service. By inviting others to join with us, we inevitably increase our impact. In fact, in 2011, 40% of the volunteers at Timberland-sponsored service events worldwide were business partners, and we hope to increase that percentage in 2012.  Whether we’re working together to transform a school, build community gardens, or plant trees, we know that the bonds formed through service are more powerful than simply taking a customer out to dinner. Some of these organizations have even formed their own community engagement programs!

Consumer engagement

On the call, both Timberland and Aveda discussed opportunities to extend their community engagement efforts to their consumers and retail partners. For Timberland, our 20th anniversary of Path of Service™ presents a unique opportunity to invite these important stakeholders to join us. Timberland Taiwan is leading the way (with over 3,000 hours served by consumers and employees to date!), and we aim for other regions to also engage their consumers this year.

We were inspired to learn more about Aveda’s Serve from the Heart program, whereby Aveda provides grants to retail stores to invest in their local community organizations of their choosing – and store employees are also encouraged to volunteer. And there’s no doubt that Aveda’s Earth Month campaign is having a profound impact: in 2011, the company exceeded its goal of raising $4 million for global and clean water projects.

The importance of collaboration and partnership

Clearly, neither Timberland nor Aveda could successfully engage these local communities without their employees, business partners, consumers, and local community members. For Timberland, we’re always willing to share our experience – organizations looking to run their own service events might find some helpful tips in our Community Service Toolkit.

If you missed this week’s call and want to hear more, you can listen to the entire podcast here.  Learn more about Timberland’s community engagement efforts and stay tuned for opportunities to continue the conversation at http://responsibility.timberland.com.

Tune In: Timberland and Aveda Talk about Scaling Sustainable Change

Since 2008, Timberland has hosted regular calls with a diverse set of stakeholders to support our long-term corporate CSR strategy. This level of transparency and accountability helps Timberland elevate dialogue on material issues for our industry, while also giving us critical feedback to become a more sustainable organization.

Our next call:

Scaling Sustainable Change
Monday, June 11 from 11 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST

Timberland’s VP of CSR Mark Newton and Aveda’s VP of Earth and Community Care Chuck Bennett will discuss how to build a more sustainable society by scaling environmental awareness and local community engagement through partnerships with employees, suppliers, customers, and peer companies.

Please register for the event by emailing csrinfo@timberland.com. You’ll receive a response within 24 hours that confirms successful registration.

Be sure to pre-register by June 8 to receive the call-in details! These materials will be sent on Friday June 8.

The results of this and other calls are posted online.  Timberland’s Responsibility portal will also be an online stakeholder engagement platform to continue discussion after the call.