Published 7 years ago.
About a 6 minute read.
Global outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland prides itself on its commitment to innovate and operate in an accountable and responsible manner — in terms of its products, the communities in which it operates, and the outdoors. As part of this commitment, the company today announced the implementation of its rigorous environmental standard — the Timberland Environmental Product Standard (TEPS) — across all of its product categories, beginning with its Spring 2016 collection.
What began in 2007 with a more conscious approach to materials used in its Earthkeepers™ collection — each product is comprised of at least one material containing recycled, organic or renewable content — has expanded into an ambitious commitment to implement the approach across every touchpoint of Timberland’s product category mix.
“Over the years, our Earthkeepers [collection] became so successful, design teams across multiple categories were understanding the value — the actual cost savings to be had, leveraging the purchasing power from other product categories, or the value of the marketing,” Timberland’s director of sustainability, Colleen Vien, said in a recent interview. “So it really became obvious that we could — and should — be taking that same approach across any product that has a tree [Timberland logo] on it; it should stand for environmentally preferred materials when you pick up a Timberland product.
“This will be the first year we’ve incorporated EPS across all of our product categories — footwear, apparel, men’s, women’s, kids, as well as licensed goods,” Vien added. “It’s been in process for over a year now, so we’re really excited to have the products finally hitting the shelves.”
Today, Timberland also unveiled its 2015 CSR results, and announced aggressive 2020 targets, as well as progress in all three pillar areas — product, community, and outdoors — and challenges particular to improving products. Highlights include:
2020 goals (on top of meeting TEPS criteria):
Regarding new strategies aimed at meeting the cotton goal, Vien said while the company still has an internal commitment to eventually achieve 100 percent organic cotton, the new 2020 goal has it temporarily widening its net in its ongoing search for “better cotton.”
“Rather than focusing on an all-or-nothing strategy for organic we wanted to try and influence those markets [that are doing] better than conventional,” she said. “We’re trying to recognize and incent better, more responsible cotton growing.”
Speaking of reducing impact on the materials front, Timberland has broadened its foray into alternative materials by partnering with Thread, the Pittsburgh-based startup creating upcycled fabric from plastic waste (as well as jobs for locals) in Haiti and Honduras. Beginning in Spring 2017, a variety of Timberland’s men’s, women’s and kids footwear styles, along with backpacks and handbags, will feature Thread fabric.
“This partnership with Thread I love because it brings in more of the social and economic story, as well,” Vien said. “It goes hand in hand very nicely with our efforts to date in terms of tree-planting in Haiti, so they complement each other quite well.”
In the meantime, Timberland will have its hands full making sure all of its products meet the TEPS criteria. While Vien said more checks and balances will be needed to make sure production of its licensed products (ex: kids’ apparel in Europe, eyeglasses, watches, etc) — which is done by third parties — is in accordance, the first order of business will be working with in-house materials teams to develop a roadmap for achieving 100 percent TEPS-compliant elements in all of its products by 2020.
Published Apr 26, 2016 8pm EDT / 5pm PDT / 1am BST / 2am CEST