22 Apr Timberland Boost ROR Content in 2014
Timberland incorporated Renewable, Organic, or Recycled (ROR) materials into 79 percent of its footwear in 2014, up from 70 percent in 2013, according to the company’s 2014 Corporate Sustainability Report, which was released Wednesday.
The brand’s leading recycled material, found in over 14 million pairs, is recycled polyester (PET) found in plastic bottles. In 2014, over 1.25 million pounds of recycled PET was incorporated into Timberland footwear – the equivalent of 57 million plastic bottles. Since 2009, the brand has given more than 185 million plastic bottles a new life in footwear.
Timberland also continued to increase its use of recycled rubber in footwear. In 2014, the brand produced 6.9 million pairs of footwear made with outsoles containing up to 42% recycled rubber, bringing the total to 19.9 million pairs through 2014 (up from 13 million pairs through 2013).
Continuing the brand’s commitment to materials innovation, this month Timberland launched Timberland Tires in partnership with global tire designer and manufacturer Omni United (S) Pte. Ltd.. Timberland Tires are the first line of tires purposely created to be recycled into footwear outsoles at the end of their journey on the road. The goal of this innovative cross-industry partnership, first announced in November 2014, is to create a more sustainable life cycle for rubber.
In apparel, Timberland ended 2014 with 18.8 percent of all materials used (by weight) incorporating ROR content, vs. 36.7 percent in 2013. A renewed strategy has been put in place to increase ROR use in apparel over the next five years. In addition, Timberland is exploring ways to collaborate with industry partners on initiatives to further the incorporation of more sustainable cotton into its products and the industry. 2020 goals will be published later this year.
Timberland ended 2014 with over 99 percent of footwear leather volume being sourced from tanneries that achieved a Gold or Silver rating by the Leather Working Group (LWG). The LWG is an independent group of tanneries and footwear brands that has established a protocol to assess the environmental performance of tanneries, and to promote sustainable and appropriate environmental practices within the leather tanning industry.
Timberland continues its commitment to having PVC-free products. In 2014, only 1.8 percent of total pairs of footwear shipped contained PVC, compared with 8.9 percent in 2013. The brand has been challenged to reach its goal of being 100 percent PVC-free due to the lack of alternative solutions that meet the stringent performance needs in its Timberland PRO line of industrial boots. The brand continues to actively seek material substitutions in pursuit of this goal.
FACTORIES – Partnering with the right factories; supporting workers beyond factory walls.
At the close of 2014, 63 percent of Timberland’s global footwear and apparel production had come from factories that had demonstrated effective environmental management practices (up from 59 percent in 2013), and 73 percent of production came from factories with demonstrated social/labor management systems (up from 70 percent in 2013). The brand uses the management systems assessment tools developed by the Global Social Compliance Program (GSCP) and Social Accountability International’s (SAIs) Social Fingerprint to evaluate suppliers’ environmental and social/labor management systems.
Timberland sourced from a total of 368 suppliers in 2014. Timberland has published its factory list since 2008, with quarterly updates. All Timberland direct manufacturers and key material suppliers are audited for social and environmental compliance by parent company VF Corporation. Aggregate audit results of the Timberland suppliers are also available online.
Going beyond compliance, part of Timberland’s commitment to responsible business involves a focus on supporting workers beyond factory walls, championing programs such as access to clean drinking water and affordable health services. Timberland has a team of experts committed to monitoring conditions in the factories it works with as well as sourcing materials in a responsible manner. In 2014, Timberland partnered with Planet Water Foundation to install clean water towers in the Dominican Republic and implement healthcare improvement programs with BSR HERproject in Bangladesh. Since 2008, Timberland has initiated 49 sustainable living projects with factory communities across five countries.
CLIMATE – Energy management in owned and operated facilities around the globe.
The management and tracking of the carbon emissions associated with owned and operated facilities was transitioned to VF Corporation in 2013. In this reporting structure, data related to Timberland’s emissions will be reported separately in Q3 2015.
Timberland has examined its progress and challenges for 2014 and is already implementing improvements in pursuit of its 2015 CSR performance goals. This summer, the brand is also slated to announce its sustainability targets for 2020, including a new approach to setting environmental standards across all its product categories.
“Timberland has a longstanding commitment to sustainability, which goes well beyond environmental stewardship,” said Stewart Whitney, president, Timberland. “In our view, sustainability also relates to how we make our products, how we manage our supply chain, and how we support the communities where we do business. As we look to 2015 and beyond, we’re ratcheting up our commitment in these areas, seeking innovative – and measurable – new ways to do well while also doing good. That’s how we’ll continue to build this great brand around the globe.”
Timberland’s 2014 Corporate Sustainability Report is available for viewing online.
Timberland, which is owned by VF Corporation markets products under the Timberland, Timberland PRO, and Timberland Boot Company brands.