Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

Timberland Goes Antiquing

Call it a commitment to sustainability — or maybe just Yankee frugality — but at Timberland, we try to repurpose old materials whenever we can, rather than buying or creating new ones. One of the best ways we can do this is to incorporate repurposed and reclaimed materials in the design of our retail stores.

While giving new life to old things is environmentally rewarding (less waste going into a landfill), it’s also a lot of fun!  See for yourself what it was like when we went trolling for treasures at the legendary Brimfield Antique Show:

Put your own repurposing skills to work by visiting an antiques show like Brimfield (which opens today) to see what precious pieces await you.  To learn more about the materials and methods we use to design our stores in more sustainable ways, visit the sustainable store design section of our website.

Earthkeepers Cab Confessions

There’s nothing like a late night and a little mountain air to loosen people up. While at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival last week, we offered free taxi rides to Festival attendees in exchange for their “Earthkeepers confessions.” Our passengers shared enlightening, inspiring and just plain entertaining thoughts about what they do (or DON’T do) to make a positive impact on the environment. See for yourself:

Don’t forget to visit the Festivals page on our website to check out the rest of our photos and videos from Sundance 2012.

Will Sustainability Reach the Mainstream?

A key tenet of being a responsible company is to manage risk and create value for the long-term sustainability of the corporation. At Timberland, we believe the concepts of commerce (sustainable shareholder returns) and justice (operating sustainably, including social and environmental management) go hand in hand.  Our challenge is to not only demonstrate the business case for sustainability within our own company, but to ensure that others do too.

Earlier this year, former Timberland CEO Jeff Swartz and PPR Chief Sustainability Officer Jochen Zeitz engaged in spirited dialogue about PPR’s Puma brand initiating a new sustainability accounting measure: their Environmental Profit & Loss statement.  I am impressed with Puma’s effort to calculate and assign financial costs to environmental impacts – something that will help move the needle for mainstream analysts to incorporate “that type of sustainability” into financial valuations of companies.  We’ve seen few other companies proactively quantify sustainability impacts (Baxter Healthcare and SAP provide interesting examples; see also Timberland’s CSR Stakeholder Call from May 2011 – Reducing Environmental Impact & Improving Bottom Line Benefits), but clearly not a groundswell.

Could the needle be starting to move a little more? Last week Puma announced it would be taking its Environmental P&L to greater scale – the brand’s sustainability accounting work will be extended to other luxury brands owned by PPR, including Gucci, Stella McCartney, and Yves Saint Laurent.  Hopefully, this is an indicator of how one brands’ sustainability efforts can influence more than their individual operations and sustainability plans. (And before you ponder too much about the applicability of this point coming from an employee of a recently acquired brand, yes – we at Timberland are thinking about opportunities to scale our experience within a greater family of brands too. See more on that below).

Engaging the financial community

It’s not just corporations that need to push for greater inclusion of social and environmental issues in financial accounting. I believe the time has come for the financial community to explore the value of “non-financial performance” in meaningful ways.  There are many players working on such efforts. For example, Bloomberg now puts out ESG (environmental, social, and governance) data on its terminals, accessed by 300,000 customers – including Wall Street and other analysts. Last year, the SEC issued interpretive guidance for climate risk to be disclosed in financial filings. And a new reporting framework is being developed by the International Integrated Reporting Committee to bridge the gap between purely financial vs. purely sustainability reporting efforts. All of these efforts aim to put traditional ESG information in front of mainstream analysts. The argument is that if we can translate such issues into financial models, the “dual meaning” of sustainability may actually help drive investment decisions.  I agree with this sentiment – but there’s one player missing: the investors themselves. There’s too much talk of “us” (CSR practitioners) translating/ appropriating CSR data for “them.”  To truly drive the relevance of both financial and ESG information, we should be inviting analysts and investors to weigh in on sustainability accounting practices, standards development, and how to review issues like supply chain vulnerability (in the form of climate adaptation or labor unrest, e.g.) as components of a corporation’s short term and long term business viability.

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Timberland Canada Throws a House Party

The following video documents a special event recently held at our new Canadian office located at the Evergreen Brick Works — a spectacular community environmental center that also serves as an international showcase for urban sustainability and green design.

The event celebrated our new home, and also kicked off the 10-day Toronto International Film Festival, of which Timberland was a sponsor.  We invited media, stylists and influencers to preview our Fall products and get a sneak peek at what we’re going to debut in Spring 2012.

The evening also featured “Timberland in Film,” as we highlighted Timberland products that have appeared or will appear on the big screen.

To top it all off, we offered EcoCab tours of the Brick Works and invited attendees to have their picture taken on our very own Timberland red carpet.  Who says star treatment is only for celebrities?

Thanks to everyone who attended our housewarming and helped us to celebrate our partnerships, past and present.

Like the soundtrack? It’s The Chad Hollister Band, our featured artists for September. Go ahead and download this tune for free on our music page.

I Heart Enlightened Consumers

How heartening!  A recent survey shows consumer interest in green products and expectations for businesses to protect the environment is on the rise!

Yep, you read right. According to a Green is Universal online survey of 1,647 U.S. adults, more than two-thirds (68%) of those surveyed say it’s worth paying more for a green product or service that is from a brand they trustGreen Is Universal is NBC/Universal’s initiative to raise environmental awareness and create positive change.

The fact that these types of “Green Consumer” surveys are popping up more and more frequently underscores our belief that doing good isn’t purely altruistic but holds real business and shareholder value – and that’s only going to increase if the direction in which these survey results are trending are a true indication.

The survey shot onto my radar yesterday during the L’Oreal Sustainable Intelligence Day in New York City (yes, I was sneaking a peek at my Blackberry). L’Oreal, by the way, is the real deal when it comes to walking the sustainability talk; while I was invited to give a presentation on the challenges and rewards of building a brand committed to sustainability, I’m fairly certain that I left the symposium with considerably more insight than I provided.

Just as I read the email which highlighted Green Is Universal’s study, one of the other speakers was referring to a 2008 study conducted by Deloitte for the Grocery Manufacturers Association. She quoted one of the findings of the study that sounded similar yet different to what I had just read on my Blackberry: “A significant minority of committed and proactive green shoppers are willing to pay more for green products, however the larger potential population of shoppers that lean towards green want price and performance parity for sustainable products because it is not their dominant purchase driver.”

Deloitte conducted a direct study of more than 6,000 people while they were shopping at 11 major retailers. 54% of the shoppers interviewed considered sustainability to be one of their decision making factors in purchasing products, and 95% of the shoppers said they “would buy green.” However, a mere 22% actually did buy a green product during their shopping experience.

Very interesting.  95% intent but only 22% action?

Both studies showcased findings which support the notion that consumers have a desire to purchase green products and that they even possess some degree of willingness to pay more for green.  But what the GMA study showed was there is still a significant amount of consumers who actually aren’t willing to throw down a few more green singles for the sake of being green when they get to the cash register.

So where does that leave us? Well, it’s research — we could slice and dice it a million ways and derive multiple conclusions that take us in as many directions. But let’s not get caught up in that today. Today, let’s celebrate the fact that consumers are enlightened and responsible, that they want environmentally-thoughtful products and are willing to pay for them (and that some are even willing to pay more for them!).

And then after today, there’s tomorrow. Tomorrow, companies like L’Oreal, NBC Universal and Timberland need to soldier on so as to capitalize on the opportunity these consumers are giving us.  Our messaging around our products and practices needs to be truthful and crystal clear and difference making – on many levels. Our product design and development needs to lead, inspire and drive innovations that support our commitment to sustainability.  And companies like L’Oreal, NBC Universal and Timberland need to take this news from Green Is Universal to heart and encourage other for-profit companies to do the same.

Best Green Bag

Last night I had the honor of attending the 4th annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards event and presenting the award for Best Green Handbag on Timberland’s behalf:

Best Green Handbag award winner Andrew Krumholz with Timberland’s Jackie LaLime

It was amazing to represent Timberland in the fashion arena, and to be in the same room with fashion greats like Carlos Falchi, Tim Gunn and Deborah Lloyd…what a trip!  The event was perfectly aligned with Timberland values, celebrating entrepreneurship, innovative design … and most of all, green design.

I chose Andrew Krumholz’s winning bag based not only for its beautiful style and use of recycled materials, but because of the positive impact these bags make on the community in which they are made and on the women’s lives who make them.  (Escama Studio artists work in cooperatives outside of Brazil which allow them the opportunity to earn a living wage in a supportive environment.)

As a company that’s committed to reducing the environmental impact of our business and our products, we know first hand how difficult it can be to create eco-conscious products without sacrificing beautiful craftsmanship, and that’s why we have such appreciation for the efforts of designers like Andrew who are able to address the challenge of being stylish and being green successfully.

Andrew’s Best Green Handbag

Earthkeepers in the NYC area, I hope you’ll stop in to view the winning bag in person at our Soho store in the coming weeks… and be sure to look for this design and others on this fall.

I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to have been part of such an inspiring event and represent our brand amidst so many other leading brands and designers.  I’m encouraged by the talent and creativity in the handbag industry and look forward to seeing more.

Jackie LaLime
Senior Director of Licensing & Accessories, Timberland

Ethical Corporation Honors Sustainable Businesses

At the Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business Summit held earlier this month, 20 organizations and individuals were honored for their commitment to innovative practices in corporate responsibility.

Timberland was proud to be among the honorees, recognized for our Don’t Tell Us It Can’t Be Done campaign which encouraged consumers to voice their support for world leaders attending COP15 to set meaningful climate standards. While COP 15 didn’t produce the outcomes we were all hoping for, our campaign succeeded as a means of actively engaging consumers in the climate change issue – powerful progress, in our book.

Other companies doing good things and earning recognition as 2010 Responsible Business Summit award winners include:

PepsiCo, for their direct seeding of rice technology – an innovation that has resulted in a savings of 5.5 billion liters of water in India (among the largest rice growers in the world) and has helped Pepsi achieve “positive water balance” – meaning that they are actually giving back more water than their business consumes.

Continental Clothing, for their EarthPositive® Apparel. This organically and ethically-made product line was launched in 2008 and incorporates best practices to reduce the social and environmental damage normally associated with cotton farming and textile production. The line is manufactured solely using sustainable energy generated from wind power.

Produce World for their innovative approach to sustainability reporting, which includes a web portal which gives stakeholders access to unedited, real-time data about the company’s performance (including carbon and water intensity, accident frequency and waste management) on a site by site, month by month basis against each of the company’s social and environmental KPIs.

We find Ethical Corp’s awards particularly endearing because they include a “Greenwasher of the Year” award to recognize an organization (based on judges’ choice, not entries) that “continues to do considerable environmental damage whilst professing to be sustainable.”  Sometimes recognizing the bad is as important as recognizing the good.

For a complete list of this year’s Responsible Business Summit honorees and their award-winning initiatives, visit

Jeff Swartz, Matthew Bishop Talk Sustainable Business

Our own Jeff Swartz had the opportunity to sit down with the Economist‘s US Business Editor Matthew Bishop at the Corporate Citizenship conference last month.  Their conversation ran the gamut from Jeff’s choice of footwear to competitive collaboration to the business imperative for a sustainability strategy.  We think it’s an exchange worth watching … if for no other reason than to see a NH bootmaker wearing a suit jacket (not an every day occurrence):

Ceres Report: Sustainable Biz a Necessity, Not a Nicety

A report issued by Ceres this week sends a message loud and clear to for-profit business:
Start taking sustainability seriously – or else.

As energy prices rise, populations grow and resources become increasingly constrained, the report explains, sustainability strategies are no longer a “nice to do,” but rather a critical business necessity – and a factor in determining success.

“Sustainability performance is fundamental for business success in the 21st century,” said Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres, which published the report, The 21st Century Corporation: The Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability. “If businesses deepen their efforts to solve social and environmental threats, it will position them to innovate and compete in the fast-changing, resource-constrained global economy.”

The report provides a roadmap of sorts for integrating sustainability into every aspect of business, focusing on 4 distinct areas: governance, stakeholder engagement, disclosure and performance.  It also calls for significant performance improvements from companies by 2020. Among the report’s 20 key expectations for companies:

  • Make energy efficiency and renewable energy the foundation for company operations
  • Design and implement closed-loop systems so that air and wastewater emissions are eliminated and zero waste is produced
  • Dedicate 50 percent of research and development investment to developing sustainability solutions
  • Compensate and provide incentives for top executives and other employees to drive sustainability into the business

The good news is that many companies already recognize the challenges outlined in the Ceres report, and are incorporating them into their business planning.   Further good news?  Given the best practice examples the report includes, along with the clearly-defined roadmap for implementation, companies that are currently lagging behind can quickly and easily become educated, inspired and on their way to greater sustainability.

More information and report downloads can be found at

Eco-dining at its Best: Primo

The following blog post comes from our very good friends over at Green Living Project (GLP), a non-profit organization that films sustainable programs across the world for inspirational and educational purposes.  In GLP’s two-year history, the organization has documented over thirty diverse projects in ten countries across Latin America and Africa.  This past August, Adrienne Rosenberg joined Green Living Project’s first domestic trip, which showcased a myriad of inspiring sustainable initiatives across the state of Maine .

As I sat on the back steps of the renovated Victorian house, a line cook caught my eye as he hopped over the salvia and lunged around the basil to snip a few sprigs of mint. At any other restaurant, if you are out of an ingredient, you are out of luck- but not Primo. Primo restaurant , co-owned by Chef Melissa Kelly and Pastry Chef Price Kushner, strives to pleasantly blend the ideals of sustainability with palate-savoring pleasures.

Like many students desperate for a quick financial fix, I have made my circulations in restaurants across the nation, often experiencing the same harrowing episodes: a chef with a large ego, quick hands to dump “waste” from plates, customers oblivious to the substandard food cultivation, piles of the same-ole, imported Sysco ingredients, and a sort of impassive, nightly performance by the wait staff. But at Primo, diners receive an unparallel experience of local, organic Portland fare.

The cuisine brilliance begins and ends on the four-acre garden. Unlike other restaurants, Primo’s gardeners decide each morning what seasonal produce is ripe for the evening’s delights. Pulsing with life, the garden also provides chickens, herbs, grapes, edible flowers, honey, and even hops. True to their commitment to local ingredients, Primo also purchases its seafood from Portland fishermen. By the end of the night, the pigs feast on the ensuing compost of uneaten food or organic waste from the kitchen.

Primo’s garden provides much of the bounty that ends up in its dining room

In addition, Primo invites guests to explore the garden so they may come into contact with the elements that will later arrive at their table. As Melissa remarked, so often chefs will put their ego on a plate. Her philosophy, however, is to fashion her dishes so they teach others about where food comes from and how it is grown.

Inside the kitchen, Primo hosts several line cook stations, a pastry prep area, expo tables, a wood fired oven, and a downstairs prep room complete with storage and a batch of brewing beer. The chalkboard-painted door at the top of the stairs lists the specials for the night as well as displays a flyer on “How to Become Green”.

Primo’s décor pleasantly complements the organic, robust flavors of each dish. Downstairs exhibits rustic merlot colored walls and a traditional dining set up along with several art pieces while upstairs has a contrasting chicness with wrap-around couches, rectangular shaped designs, and a copper bar. Primo also seamlessly excels at energy efficiency and water conservation through their use of Maine produced biofuel as well as dual flush and waterless urinals.

After a long afternoon of dodging the staff while filming the high action atmosphere of the kitchen, Green Living Project was able to relax to fork fulls of scrumptious fresh cuisine, such as the house special baked oysters and the black spaghetti with braised cuttlefish and heirloom tomatoes, knowing that a majority of the ingredients were sustainably harvested only yards away from our table.

Adrienne Rosenberg
Green Living Project