Timberland Apparel Made From 39 Percent Renewable, Organic Materials

Timberland released its 2012 CSR performance data, showcasing how the company's persistent commitment to sustainability yielded many notable strides.
  • Thirty nine percent of materials used in Timberland apparel were derived from recycled, organic or renewable sources
  • Ninety eight percent of footwear SKUs used leather sourced from Gold or Silver rated tanneries
  • Absolute carbon emissions for Timberland's owned and operated facilities decreased by 10 percent in 2012; and 46 percent since 2006.
  • Timberland made significant strides toward achieving its goal of planting 5 million trees by 2015; since setting this goal in 2010, the company has planted 3.5 million trees and in 2012 alone, employees and partners planted 1,153,840 trees.
"The benefits that trees provide in the form of helping to prevent desertification, increase yields of farm crops and reduce the effects of droughts are critical to communities everywhere," says Mark Newton, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility. "As a New England brand known for making products built to enjoy the outdoors, it's only natural that we do what we can to protect the environment."

In 2012, Timberland focused its environmental stewardship efforts in Haiti and China's Horqin Desert, areas dramatically affected by massive deforestation and desertification, respectively. In Haiti, Timberland's long-term agroforestry initiative has become self-sustaining, and by the end of 2012, it generated increased crop yields of up to 50 percent for participating farmers who sold excess inventory for profit.

On the other side of the world, Timberland has cultivated more than 255,000 trees in China's environmentally-fragile Horqin Desert to protect China and neighboring countries from sandstorms and to help minimize the impact of global warming.

Timberland's commitment to sustainability is not limited to tree planting.  The company's 2012 CSR results also demonstrate its commitment to reducing impacts in its four CSR pillar areas: climate, product, factories and service.

Timberland reduced its absolute carbon emissions for its owned and operated facilities from 17,759 metric tons in 2011 to 15,819 metric tons in 2012, a 10 percent decrease. This was primarily driven by reductions in air travel and increased renewable energy purchases. This decrease exceeded Timberland's 2012 goal, resulting in a 46 percent reduction of absolute emissions since 2006, putting Timberland well on track to achieve its overall emissions reduction goal of 50 percent by 2015.

Last year, Timberland increased the use of recycled, renewable and organic materials in apparel from 25 percent in 2011 to 39 percent in 2012. Additionally, more than 98 percent of leather volume sourced by Timberland for its footwear came from tanneries rated Gold or Silver (by the Leather Working Group) for their water, energy and waste management practices.

In 2012, Timberland furthered its "beyond factory walls" approach to social and environmental impacts in its supply chain through a variety of projects that promote the welfare of employees and their communities.  Projects supported by Timberland this year included parenting skills and stress management training in China, a community child care center and financial literacy programs in India, and clean drinking water towers in northern Vietnam.

The company also launched SAI's (Social Accountability International's) Social Fingerprint tool for benchmarking and guiding factories in developing best-in-class social/labor management systems, exceeding its goal for factories reaching Level 3.

Timberland employees completed 81,921 hours of community service in 2012. Many of those hours were dedicated to the company's two major service events – Serv-a-palooza, Timberland's annual global community service event, and Earth Day – and involved thousands of employees and guests in service projects around the world. This is part of the company's 20-year tradition of giving employees up to 40 hours of paid time to engage in community service each year.

"Timberland embeds sustainability into its strategic business objectives, an approach we find highly effective," added Newton. "To meet those objectives, we must hold our company accountable for its actions through transparent reporting."

To see the full 2012 results, click here.
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