The wealth of stories and performance achievements that live on the pages of this website underscore Timberland’s constant pursuit of both bottom-line business value and social justice. Our commitment to sustainability dates back nearly 40 years and continues today, a core belief that business can create positive impact in the world.
Our initiatives have proven that corporate responsibility doesn’t need to be an add-on, but instead can be a powerful competitive advantage. We have saved money by reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions and are creating top line growth by meeting consumers’ growing desire for eco-friendly products. We also recognize our responsibility for preserving the outdoors we need for our industry to thrive.
Timberland’s corporate responsibility leadership was one of the drivers in the company’s acquisition by VF Corporation in 2011. When a $9 billion apparel and footwear powerhouse is attracted to a brand (in part) due to its innovative approach to sustainability, you know there’s business value.
As the newest member of VF Corporation, Timberland brings expertise and insight about protecting the outdoors, innovating products, improving workers’ lives and engaging in community service that the other VF brands are learning from and leveraging to make their own organizations more sustainable. In return, we have opportunity to scale our corporate responsibility practice in a more powerful way.
Our commitment to corporate social responsibility over the last 40 years has come straight from the top, and I’ll continue to support and champion sustainable business practices in my new role. Where we’ve been and where we’re going do have one important commonality: both Timberland’s past and future are fueled by a desire to innovate and operate our business in an accountable, responsible and sustainable manner. This brand hasn’t yet reached its full potential, but we’re on our way.
President, Timberland LLC
Suppose you were to create the most environmentally sensitive shoe Timberland had ever made. You’d want the finished product to be high quality, crafted from eco-conscious materials and manufactured with as little energy as possible, right? That’s exactly the idea behind the Earthkeepers® Hookset Handcrafted collection, which Timberland introduced this spring.
Our Earthkeepers® line is grounded in a philosophy of reducing our impact on the planet while making premium gear. To do that, we strive to incorporate organic and recycled materials into the design, seek to minimize environmental impacts in our manufacturing processes, and offer transparency in the form of our Green Index® rating, which lets you compare the impact of one pair of Timberland® footwear to another.
So, when Pete Lankford, Design Director for Earthkeepers and Timberland Boot Company, began thinking about a new Earthkeepers® collection, he wanted to create something that would exemplify the philosophy.
Four materials, expertly combined.
“The Hookset Handcrafted collection is all about simplicity,” Lankford says. “We started with the question: ‘If we could only work with four materials, what would those be?’ We knew the materials would have to be things people were familiar with—things that they trusted. But we also knew they had to be attractive and durable.”
The four materials the team chose are:
Lankford notes that all of these materials are eco-conscious. Latex rubber, for example, is sourced right from the living tree, and organic cotton is grown without toxic fertilizers or pesticides. Even the leather represents clever repurposing: some of the leather details in the Hookset Handcrafted collection were sourced right from the cutting room floor—and all leather in the collection is LWG silver-rated. In fact, the footwear has proven so popular that the factory ran out of leather scraps and used non-scrap LWG silver-rated leather to fulfill some of the orders.
The Earthkeepers® Hookset collection is made by hand and dyed individually, honoring Timberland’s proud tradition of handcrafted footwear. Because the collection is handmade and requires less machinery to make, it’s cost-effective to produce. Additionally, using fewer materials and making shoes by hand reduces its environmental impact, allowing the collection to achieve an average score of 3.5 out of 10 on Timberland’s Green Index® scoring system—the lowest score in the history of the company.
“When we set out to create the Earthkeepers® collection, our goal was to produce footwear that’s every bit as premium as everything else we make, and made with less impact to the planet,” says Lankford. “The Hookset Handcrafted collection marks a major milestone—proving that quality, durability and craftsmanship can coexist with eco-sensitivity and create a remarkable shoe.”