Today, Timberland released its 2013 CSR Report, which reports the company’s progress against four key pillars identified as priorities for the brand: product, climate, factories and service. From closing in on its one millionth volunteer service hour to increasing the use of recycled, organic or renewable materials in its products, Timberland reports highlights the following areas:
- In 2013, 70 percent of Timberland® footwear incorporated recycled, organic or renewable (ROR) materials.
- 98 percent of footwear leather volume was sourced from Silver or Gold-rated tanneries, as rated by the Leather Working Group, an independent group of tanneries and footwear brands that has established a protocol to assess the compliance and environmental performance of tanneries, and to promote sustainable and appropriate environmental business practices within the footwear leather industry.
- Rubber is one of the heaviest and most impactful materials in footwear; Green Rubber™ outsoles reduce that impact by substituting virgin rubber with 42 percent post-industrial recycled latex. In 2013, Timberland expanded the use of Green Rubber™ material across its product lines. Through 2013, the brand has produced over 13 million pairs of Green Rubber outsoles using 4 million pounds of recycled rubber. That’s up from 9 million pairs and 2.8 million pounds of recycled rubber through 2012 year-end.
- In 2013, Timberland diverted another 50 million plastic bottles from landfills — bringing the total to 128 million — through the use of recycled PET in its footwear product lines. This reflects a 64 percent increase year-over-year.
- In 2013, the management and tracking of the carbon emissions associated with owned and operated facilities was transitioned to Timberland’s parent company, VF Corporation.
- In this new reporting structure, data related to Timberland’s emissions will be reported separately in May.
- In 2013, Timberland furthered its “beyond compliance, beyond factory walls” approach to social and environmental impacts in its supply chain through a variety of projects promoting the welfare of employees and their communities. 2013 projects included a community child care center in India, financial literacy programs in India and health awareness programs in Bangladesh.
- Timberland continued to utilize Social Accountability International’s (SAI’s) Social Fingerprint tool for benchmarking and guiding factories in developing best-in-class social/labor management systems. 70 percent of Timberland’s global footwear and apparel production was sourced from factories meeting “Level 3” criteria of SAI’s benchmark, exceeding the brand’s goal of 51 percent.
- Timberland closed out 2013 approaching a major volunteerism milestone – its one-millionth service hour served by employees. Timberland’s Path of Service™ program was launched in 1992; as of December 31, 2013, Timberland employees around the world had volunteered a cumulative total of 992,264 service hours. The brand expects to achieve its one-millionth service hour this spring, in concert with its Earth Day service events.
- Around the globe, thousands of Timberland employees completed 65,388 hours of community service in 2013, many of which were dedicated to the company’s two major service events — Serv-a-palooza (Timberland’s annual global community service event) and Earth Day.
- Timberland made significant strides toward its goal of planting 5 million trees by 2015. Since setting this goal in 2010, the brand has supported the planting of 4.5 million trees. In 2013 alone, Timberland employees and business partners planted 1,042,485 trees.
- Timberland’s emphasis on volunteerism is part of its 20-year tradition of giving employees up to 40 hours of paid time each year to engage in community service.
“As a brand, Timberland evaluates itself against the positive impacts we can make on the world,” said Timberland president Patrik Frisk. “Environmental stewardship, which is our heritage, is a huge part of this — but we are also pleased with the progress we made last year within our factory communities, our sustainable supply chain and through community service projects. Of course, we always strive to do better, and our goal is to raise the bar and create even deeper impact in 2014.”
Given Timberland’s vision of being the largest, most sustainable outdoor lifestyle brand on earth, a key area of focus for 2014 will be continuing to innovate on the product side, increasing its use of recycled, organic and renewable materials across all categories, while also delivering the versatile styling today’s consumers demand. Timberland will also continue to identify opportunities to enrich the lives of its factory workers and communities; just last month, the brand partnered with Planet Water to install two water towers in the Dominican Republic, providing much-needed clean drinking water to thousands of local workers and community members.
“The push to create sustainable impacts across our business and the communities in which we operate around the world is deeply engrained in Timberland’s strategic vision,” added Frisk. “Putting our values into action is never siloed and is never a one-off. As we grow as a brand, in my eyes that creates more opportunity for us to do more good. I extend my thanks to our teams and business partners worldwide who, with their service and commitment, have helped make this vision a reality.”
As admirable as Timberland’s progress toward social and environmental sustainability is, it’s got some stiff competition from Patagonia for the title of most sustainable outdoor lifestyle brand. Not only does the company use responsible materials, it promotes responsible consumption: Patagonia encourages its customers to extend the life of their clothing, rather than buy new; and its Responsible Economy campaign calls on consumers and businesses to rethink disposability for more effective resource allocation.