Timberland relies on its European distribution center in Enschede, Holland to supply footwear, apparel, and accessories to all of its customers throughout Europe. When the lease on the facility was coming to an end, Timberland weighed the pro and cons of renewing it or moving to another location—carefully considering the environmental impact of each.
“We knew we needed a larger space for the future,” says David Rupert, Director of International Distribution Engineering at Timberland. “When we looked at the cost of maintaining older equipment that would need to be replaced, we decided it would be more cost-effective to build a new, larger facility with more efficient equipment that required less energy to run,” he says.
Timberland chose Almelo, Holland—17 miles south of Enschede—for the new distribution center. The location has both business and environmental benefits, with easy access to the ports of Rotterdam to reduce emissions from trucking. “We looked at inbound and outbound transportation costs, and chose a centralized location,” Rupert reports. “We can get to the European market within two days of travel time, so it’s very beneficial for our customers.”
To live up to the company’s environmental commitment, Timberland partnered with OVG re/developers, a Dutch developer with a proven track record in sustainable building construction. “OVG re/developers wanted to build a ‘green’ building because they wanted to market it to future investors,” Rupert explains. “And of course we wanted to have a ‘green’ building to reduce our energy costs and meet our environmental goals.”
As a result, Timberland and OVG re/developers agreed to split certain costs associated with making the building sustainable. OVG re/developers developed the facility specifically to Timberland’s requirements—one of which was that the building meet Europe’s BREEAM® (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) certification. To earn a BREEAM® certificate, a building must meet established benchmarks for specification, design, construction, and use, as they relate to such topics as energy and water use, the health of the internal environment, pollution, transportation, materials, waste, ecology, and management processes. The new distribution center opened on April 1, 2012, and on June 26, it officially received a “Good” BREEAM® certification.
Now fully operational, the facility features a number of environmentally conscious attributes, including underground storage tanks that collect rainwater for flushing toilets and motion-detector lights to help reduce energy consumption. A new, state-of-the-art, automated packing system offers greater efficiency—and less noise.
Outside, there’s extensive green landscaping—including more than 100 birdhouses that provide a home for swallows and bats. And like the old facility, the new facility gets 100% of its energy from wind power.
“Our new distribution facility proves once again that eco-conscious choices can also be smart business choices. Now we’re more efficient than ever before—shipping out products faster and with less impact to the planet,” concludes Rupert.Next Story »
Timberland’s passion for preserving the environment drives us to constantly develop new practices for generating clean energy sources. Turns out, we’re in good company. In November 2012, we were recognized as the Corporate Citizen of the Year at the New England Clean Energy Council’s 5th Annual Green Tie Gala. Timberland was the only non-energy company to receive an award.
Factoring in to our selection was our efforts to purchase renewable energy for our European facilities and to source renewable energy for all of our distribution centers—including an on-site solar array at our distribution center in Ontario, California. We’ve developed partnerships to bring clean energy to our Danville, Kentucky distribution center in the heart of coal country and we found a way to purchase 100% renewable energy in Holland. In 2011, 15% of the energy we purchased globally came from renewable energy sources, putting us even closer to our 2015 target of 30%.
Another factor that contributed to Timberland’s selection was achieving an industry-leading 38% greenhouse gas emissions reduction between 2006 and 2011 for the facilities that we own and operate and for our employees’ air travel. At year end, we’ll finalize our 2012 Greenhouse Gas inventory and report our progress.
Other companies recognized at the 2012 Gala included New England leaders in the energy sector such as Joule Unlimited and Ocean Renewable Power Company (co-winners of Emerging Company of the Year), EnerNOC (Employer of the Year), and Harvest Power (Breakout Company of the Year).
We’re honored to be among these forward-thinking companies, and excited that the energy industry recognizes that a footwear company can be a part of the solution for developing clean power sources and creating a cleaner future.« Previous StoryNext Story »
Our passion for the outdoors and responsibility to our stakeholders demand that we address one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time—climate change. Timberland aims to be part of the solution by reducing our energy demand, as well as procuring and investing in renewable energy. We define renewable energy as energy that is available from wind, solar, and small-scale hydropower sources.
Our goal is to help drive down energy demand for all facilities. One area of focus is our distribution centers, which are some of the largest facilities we operate around the world. Our first distribution center to source renewable energy is located in Enschede, Holland, which today gets 100% of its energy from wind power.
We have additional opportunity to purchase clean energy for our offices, showrooms, and retail stores—where the grid allows. Grid-renewable power from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland is more reliable than other locations, thanks to snow melt from the Alps, according to Alex Crawford, Timberland’s London-based European procurement manager. That power is run by cable to other countries in mainland Europe, such as Italy.
Crawford points out, however, that particular grid does not extend to island nations, like the United Kingdom, where Timberland’s European Headquarters (EHQ) is based. “We wanted to use renewable energy for a long time,” he explains, “but there wasn’t enough supply to meet the demand from businesses.”
Then, in 2010, the British government began investing heavily in renewable power, offering tax breaks and relaxing laws to encourage the creation of power from sources other than fossil fuel. “Power companies erected big wind farms out in the ocean off the coast of Britain, so within the last 18 months, the supply has increased dramatically,” Crawford says.
Timberland’s procurement and facilities teams in the U.K. jumped at the opportunity to support the company’s energy goals in their homeland. With the help of National Utility Services, an integrated energy solutions firm, we were able to consolidate energy suppliers, and now source energy from a single supplier for our EHQ location 20 miles west of London, and another supplier for all retail locations in the U.K. This consolidation has offered a financial benefit, as well as an environmental one: we can buy renewable energy in bulk, resulting in cost savings.
There was a certain amount of upheaval and expense in making the change, since all the meters needed to be replaced and a new reporting system had to be implemented to provide more accurate details about energy usage. Nevertheless, according to Crawford, as of August 1, 2011, nearly all of the energy used by Timberland in the U.K. is derived from renewable sources. “One of the great things about working for Timberland is that we always work as a team,” says Crawford. “Everybody pulled together to deliver this financially and environmentally beneficial result.”
Because of our focus on sourcing clean energy in Europe and elsewhere, Timberland met its goal of purchasing 15% clean energy out of our total energy usage in 2011. Going forward, we anticipate challenges as we look for opportunities to curb energy demand and emissions while still growing our business and expanding our international presence. Stay tuned to updates on Timberland’s Responsibility site for how we’ll tackle this challenge.« Previous Story