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Posted on on August 17th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Originally posted August 1, 2010 and updated August 17, 2010.

As we intend to be next week in New Hampshire to visit with some Green efforts there, we are now more attentive to that State and I just found the following:


Aired April 23, 2010 – 14:00   ET

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Here’s what I’ve got “On the Rundown.”…

VELSHI: Hey, do this for a second. Take a look down and look at your shoes. You probably remember where you bought them. Where did the leather come from, or the rubber in the sole? What about the fiber in the laces or the – the cardboard of the box that they came in?

Your carbon footprint could end up being a lot bigger than your shoe size, and that has become a major concern for Timberland, the company that makes all kinds of shoes and clothes and outdoor gear.

Jeff Swartz is the President and CEO of Timberland. He’s joining me live from Boston.

A few years ago, we spent a few days together, learning how to understand his business and what they do.

Jeff, thanks for joining me.


VELSHI: You – you spent your Earth Day, yesterday, in a very interesting way. Tell us about that.

SWARTZ: I was in Beijing yesterday, Ali. I spent the morning at the Great Wall. I planted with a Chinese actress named Li Bingbing. I planted the millionth tree in a project that we committed to 10 years ago to try and address the environmental damage being done in a place called the Horqin Desert.

It used to be a – it didn’t used to be a desert. It is now, because economic progress leads to the destruction of forest and the result of that is sandstorms that went through Beijing and get as far as Tokyo.

So, 10 years ago, we committed to plant a million trees. We planted the millionth tree yesterday –


SWARTZ: — in the rain. And then we committed to planting 2 million more trees. We’re going to create the Great Green Wall between Horqin and – and Beijing.

And so it was a – it’s a long way. I’m kind of jetlagged, but it was a pretty cool day.

VELSHI: Yes, I know. And we thank you for coming out and talking to us.

Listen, you are the third generation of your family in this business. Your grandfather – I think you told me he lost a piece of a – a finger, actually, making shoes back in the day, and you have melded your belief in the Earth and the environment with your business.

I want to ask you, a few years ago you told me you wanted to have a carbon-neutral business. You wanted Timberland to – to be taking less from the environment than it – that it was putting back in. Where are you on that?

SWARTZ: Well, we’re making big progress, and – and we have big progress yet to make, to be clear.

We set a goal of being carbon neutral, and we said by the year 2010, which is now. We just — we just announced that we – last year’s result, 36 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to the 2006 baseline. We’re on – we’re on good target to be at the 50 percent reduction place we said we’d be.

It’s all very interesting, but the more time we spend on the issue, Ali, of the environmental footprint at Timberland, the more we learn about our responsibility.

And so, I continue to hear our government say it can’t be done. I continue to hear critics say it can’t be done, that it’s going to destroy business if we put carbon cost into the way we run business.

The fact is, we’re lowering our costs. We’re creating more innovative products. We’re doing it in a way that is environmentally thoughtful. It’s – it’s not the way of the future, it’s a reality that we’re living right now.

VELSHI: I want you to tell me, there are probably three approaches for a company, right? One is that you can buy carbon offsets. In other words, you can keep polluting the way you do and buy carbon offsets.

One is you can change the behavior of your company, your manufacturing processes, things like that, and the third one is you can involve your consumers in the process.

You’ve done that – that last one as part of what you’re doing by putting an ingredients label on your – on your shoeboxes. Tell me about this.

SWARTZ: You’re at the heart of the question. Whatever you can do by yourself unilaterally as a company, change the lighting at headquarters to LED lights, good idea, saves money. Ban bottled water at headquarters, good idea, saves plastic, but it’s a small part of the – a carbon footprint.

The question’s all at the product level, and so by putting a – a nutrition label on the shoebox, we’re saying to consumers the power’s in your hands to consume. You don’t have to go hug a tree. You don’t have to do anything radical. You can get the greatest outdoor gear on earth from a company just like ours.

But if you stop for a second at the point of sale and you ask the question, what goes into this? What’s the process involved? All of a sudden –

VELSHI: So the things – some of the things you’ve got on – some of things you got on the label are use of renewable energy. Is it PVC- free, eco-conscious materials, recycled content of the box, the number of trees planted.

Is this working? Do you hear from – from consumers that that helps them to make the decision to buy your shoe versus a competitor’s or your jacket versus a competitor’s?

SWARTZ: Theirs is a very steady drumroll building just off camera, and it’s the sound of the consumer saying, hey, I expect more from the brands that I do business with.

I hear it from government, I hear it from consumers. It is – it’s coming.

It came in the food industry with organic food. It is coming in the fashion industry, and when it does, Timberland’s – not only – we want it to come, because we believe the more consumer asks about this issue, the – the better our chances of making our case to the consumer.

VELSHI: Jeff, I’ve always been impressed by you, and – and we really look to you for that kind of leadership. Thank you for – for coming on the show. Thanks for what you’re doing for the environment.

Jeff Swartz is the president and CEO of Timberland, joining me from Boston.

All right, straight ahead, I – I want to have an honest chat with you, each and every one of you who keep me company every weekday on this show. Don’t miss my “XYZ”. Today, it’s about you.


Cara Vanderbeck



STRATHAM, N.H., USA, April 20, 2010 – Forty years ago, the first nationwide environmental protest signaled the start of the modern environmental movement. Twenty million people came together to fight the rising tide of pollution and environmental degradation and have an effect on the future of our planet. Today, Timberland stands with those, now over 1 billion strong, who share the belief that our environment is still in need of preservation, and that through the power of civic leadership, we can make a difference by participating in service events around the world on Earth Day.

Timberland has recognized Earth Day with community service events for 12 consecutive years and this year, Timberland-hosted Earth Day projects will unite more than 7,600 volunteers at more than 140 service sites around the world. Timberland is sponsoring events around the globe, from New York to China and from the Dominican Republic to Madrid – generating nearly 52,000 service hours.

“While we’re committed to protecting the planet and reducing our impact on the environment 365 days a year, Earth Day serves as a reminder of just how important that commitment is and how far we’ve come,” said Timberland President and CEO Jeff Swartz. “Being a part of the global Earth Day movement reinforces our efforts to combat climate change in a passionate, purposeful, more dedicated way than ever before.”

Earth Day 2010 has additional significance as later this year, Timberland will fulfill its pledge to plant 1 million trees in China’s Horqin Desert as part of the company’s ongoing reforestation efforts. In 2001, Timberland committed to help restore the Inner Mongolia region of northern China from desertification through a partnership with Green Net. Desertification of large areas of land from population growth and overuse is a significant problem in parts of Asia, but can be reversed through the planting and sustaining of trees and shrubs, while also instructing the local population on more sustainable farming practices. This project is emblematic of the mission of today’s Earth Day: to make a difference in our environment through hard work and education.

In the New Hampshire area, Timberland employees are increasing environmental awareness and revitalizing communities in the following locations:

• Seacoast Science Center – 570 Ocean Blvd Rye, NH
• Blue Ocean Beach Cleanup (April 21) – 169 Ocean Boulevard Hampton, NH
• Exeter Trails Commission – Newfields Rd. at the Oakland Town Forest (Exit 10 off Route 101) Exeter, NH
• Dearborn Park– Exeter Rd/NH-111W North Hampton, NH
• Seacoast Gardens for all – Wagon Hill Farm, Durham, NH
• YMCA Camp Tricklin’ Falls – 140 Haverhill Road, East Kingston, NH
• The Kingston Conservation Commission – Exeter Rd/NH-111W, Kingston, NH
• Organic Turf Management & Education – Sawyer Park, Trundlebed Lane Kensington, NH
• National FFA Garden Project – Newfields Public Library – 76 Main St., New Fields, NH
• The Nature Conservancy of New Hampshire – 112 Bay Road, Newmarket, NH
• Salisbury Rail Trail Coalition (April 27) – 5 Beach Road, Salisbury, MA
• Great Bay Estuary Sharing and Caring Project – 200 Domain Drive, Stratham, NH

F ollowing Timberland’s Earth Day events, photos, highlights and additional coverage will be available on

About Timberland:
Timberland (NYSE: TBL) is a global leader in the design, engineering and marketing of premium-quality footwear, apparel and accessories for consumers who value the outdoors and their time in it. Timberland markets products under the Timberland®, Timberland PRO®, Mountain Athletics®, SmartWool®, Timberland Boot Company®, howies® and IPATH® brands, all of which offer quality workmanship and detailing and are built to withstand the elements of nature. The company’s products can be found in leading department and specialty stores as well as Timberland® retail stores throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, South Africa and the Middle East. Timberland’s dedication to making quality products is matched by the company’s commitment to “doing well and doing good” — forging powerful partnerships among employees, consumers and service partners to transform the communities in which they live and work. To learn more about Timberland, please visit To learn more about becoming an Earthkeeper, visit


THE UPDATE: We have been at the Timberland headquarters in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on August 11, 2010.

The location is the old Air Force base at Pease that was turn over in major part to civilian development; more on this in future postings.

I got enriched by buying a great pair of tall shoes for $90 at a 40% discount, got a free cap, and learned some more about the company.

The shoes are rated for green content – a very interesting new twist introduced by the shoes manufacturer.

Regarding our topic of main interest the tree plantings operation – I learned that it came about because of Timberland trying to offset emissions. They picked the Horqin grasslands and desert because of their involvement in China as the source of shoes they sell.

Our host was Margaret Morey-Reuner from the Department of Robin Giampa, Director, Corporate Communications.

At first the company established a Committee on Grazing and Climate Change – I assume as part of the recognition that the leather production obviously means cows grazing – and eventually work started in 2001. There are 35 people from Timberland involved in this activity in the desert of Horqin. The sticker on my shoe is thus part of the offset program.

Since our writing of a 3 million tree horizon for Timberland, there was further development in the program, and the company decided to work also with Haiti.

Now the company horizon is 5 million trees divided between China and Haiti. I asked if the added 2 million program is all in Haiti, but our hostess did not know how the figures will divide between the two locations.

Today Timberland talks of SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE as the underlying goal.

They have a competition requiring people to describe what trees do to us in 140 characters or less. Their effort is via “Yele Haiti,” and offer you for sale a certificate of planting 15 trees in Haiti. handles this.

They also work with an NGO from Japan – Greenland. Green Net of Japan – trees for the future. This as farming cooperative in China’s Harqin desert and Goneives, Haiti.



Further, I also received the following, and would like to pursue this some more:…

by HOLLY RAMER,Associated Press Writer, Wednesday, August 11, 2010

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire-based Timberland Company is expanding its “green index” to give customers more information about the environmental impact of its footwear.

The index rates the greenhouse gas emissions created during a shoe’s production, the hazardous chemicals used and the percentage of recycled, organic and renewable materials in each shoe. For now, the company rates 14 percent of its shoes but plans to expand that to 100 percent by 2012.

Timberland also is working with more than 200 other businesses on an industry-wide Eco Index. Along those same lines, Nike has its own internal software tool to evaluate the environmental footprint of its products that it plans to make it available to the rest of the apparel industry.

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