A new partnership for Timberland aims to create sustainable leather supply chain; while inclusive apparel brand Everybody & Everyone aims to create better fashion from raw materials to end use.
Timberland partnership aims to build leather supply chain from regenerative ranches
Image credit: Other Half Processing
Today, global outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland launched a partnership to build a responsible leather supply chain sourced from ranches that employ regenerative practices.
The company’s new partner, Other Half Processing SBC (OHP), partners with farmers, ranchers and tribes to source hides and other identity-preserved, high-quality byproducts from regenerative, organic, and more sustainably raised animals. A Minnesota Specific Benefit Corporation (SBC), OHP is committed to doing business in a way that respects the animals and directly benefits the people that raise them, by supporting the expansion of regenerative agricultural systems and value chains.
Ranchers and farmers who use regenerative grazing practices manage their cattle in a way that mimics the natural movement of herd animals. Such grazing allows for more rest and regrowth of grasses, which can lead to better food for livestock and healthier soil, as these grasses pull carbon out of the atmosphere and store it in the ground. In theory, this makes the land more productive with greater resistance to both drought and heavy rain.
The business case for regenerative strategies
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Through this pilot, Timberland will source traceable hides from regeneratively grazed cattle in the US, for select footwear and accessory collections set to hit the market in fall 2020. This partnership builds upon Timberland’s longstanding commitment to make products responsibly and help influence widescale change. In 2005, Timberland co-founded the Leather Working Group in an effort to minimize the negative impacts associated with leather tanning for not just its own production, but the industry as a whole.
Timberland’s use of these hides in its production will directly support the farmers, ranchers and tribes who raise their livestock in a regenerative system.
“At Timberland, we are committed not only to minimize the negative impacts of leather production, but to drive environmental benefits through our sourcing approach and ultimately develop a net positive fashion supply chain," said Colleen Vien, director of sustainability at Timberland. "We are proud that our consumers will be able to buy products where the leather has been sourced in this way, and hope to inspire others in the industry to move in this direction, as well.”
Regenerative ranching systems have the potential to build soil health, reduce carbon emissions (by capturing more carbon in the soil than they emit), enhance biodiversity, improve water cycling, and give farmers and ranchers better livelihoods. Yet despite the clear environmental and societal benefits, this type of production remains undervalued in the market and underrepresented on the land. Other Half Processing was established to change this trend, by sourcing hides and other byproducts from regenerative ranches and marketing them in a way that increases overall returns for the producers.
OHP CEO and co-founder Jim Kleinschmit said, “We’re thrilled by this partnership with Timberland. As a major global footwear brand, their commitment sends a strong message to the wider fashion industry as well as to regenerative farmers and ranchers. It’s time people across the industry get serious about addressing the impact of leather production, which includes where the hides come from and how the cattle are raised. We look forward to partnering with Timberland and other companies to grow leather supply chains from regenerative systems, to the benefit of the producers, animals and the environment.”
Timberland sources the majority of its hides from US cattle that are raised for food and processed according to USDA guidelines. The brand has banned the sourcing of hides from certain countries or regions where they have learned of animal husbandry concerns. Through individual agreements from suppliers and improved traceability audits through the Leather Working Group assessment, the brand is improving its capabilities to ensure hides are sourced from acceptable locations.
Earlier this year, Timberland’s parent company, VF Corporation, also took a stand in order to ensure a sustainable leather supply chain: In light of the ongoing fires ravaging the Amazon — which environmental groups claim were started by real estate speculators and ranchers, who often clear land for agricultural use — VF Corp discontinued the purchase of all Brazilian leather products. The company said at the time that it would resume buying leather from Brazil when “we have the confidence and assurance that the materials used in our products do not contribute to environmental harm in the country.”
Meet Everybody & Everyone — an inclusive, everyday women’s apparel brand designed for sustainability, circularity
Image credit: Everybody & Everyone
Today also marks the launch of Everybody & Everyone — a body-positive, inclusive and sustainably sourced and manufactured apparel brand, designed to provide elevated and versatile essentials with sustainable materials and processes for today’s modern woman. Knitwear, t-shirts, denim, and outerwear are offered in sizes 00-24, priced between $18-$288 and are available exclusively on Everybodyeveryone.com.
Created by entrepreneur and businesswoman Veronica Chou, Everybody & Everyone was built considering its full environmental impact from the ground up. To ensure the brand was held to the highest sustainability standards, the brand joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Textile Exchange and The Microfibre Consortium, and was one of the first 32 companies to sign the G7 Fashion Pact. Everybody & Everyone is launching as a carbon-neutral brand with 3Degrees, which assisted in offsetting all of the brand’s unavoidable pre-launch activities.
“After visiting many factories during my career, I came across a lot of instances where I knew the fashion industry could do better; better for garment workers and better for the planet,” Chou said in a statement. “After learning how harmful manufacturing was on the environment, I decided to take action and invest in businesses that were making strides to improve it.
Only after becoming a mother, did I notice a need in the market for women’s apparel that was multi-functional, size-inclusive, affordable and sustainable,” Chou added. “I wanted this brand to be for every woman; so, body positivity, inclusivity and sustainability were going to be the backbone of everything we did. We are sustainable down to the labels sewn into each garment.”
Starting from the fiber and raw material level, the brand uses recycled fabrics as much as possible. Everybody & Everyone partnered with EcoAlf to create a signature puffer coat from reclaimed ocean plastic bottles, recycled polyester from Profits Fund that meets the OEKO-TEX and Bluesign® standards, and Recover® yarns made of textile waste that meet the Global Recycled Standard and OEKO-TEX Standard 100. Natural and bio-based materials include Naadam cashmere and wool, ECOVERO™ viscose, TENCEL™ Lyocell, Profits Fund Mulberry silk, GOTS-certified organic cotton and a bio-fiber created from sugar extracted from agricultural waste. No harmful substances are used in the dyeing process and adhere to REACH, OEKO-TEX, and Bluesign® standards.
Additionally, digital printing is used whenever possible in place of screens to prevent tons of water waste and to avoid the toxic environments of dye houses, keeping garment workers’ health in mind. Many fabrics are not dyed at all; instead, pigment is achieved in the upcycling process by separating recycled fibers mechanically by color. To cut back on the carbon footprint at the consumer level, a number of Everybody & Everyone’s products are activated with recycled silver for odor control & anti-microbial properties, and are coated with PFOA-free or PFC-free finishes for water-based stain and odor repellency. Denim is finished with a proprietary, fluorine-free, durable water repellent especially developed for Everybody & Everyone by Candiani mill in Italy. Fabric activation and finishes are all designed for less laundering.
The end use of Everybody & Everyone’s products is of the utmost importance. The brand has partnered with leading global textile recycler I:CO on a take-back program to extend the life of its garments. For every order, customers are encouraged to download a free shipping label that will allow them to send pre-loved Everybody & Everyone’s product or any other brand of clothing in clean, dry condition to I:CO, in return for a reward voucher that could be used on a future purchase. Everybody & Everyone says its goal is to reduce waste and create a circular economy for its clothing, so everything is eventually turned back into new apparel for the brand. Products are designed with this circularity in mind.