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.Next Story »
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.« Previous StoryNext Story »
It’s simply common sense. When you produce more goods, you have more to ship, and the more you ship, the more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are likely to be produced. So, while Timberland’s goal is always to increase our business and generate profits for our stakeholders, we also have specific goals around reducing our environmental impact – including keeping transportation emissions down.
To measure the GHG emissions caused by inbound transportation—shipping products from factories to our distribution centers—we rely on standards set by the BSR Clean Cargo Working Group. The Group was established as a global business-to-business initiative with a goal of improving environmental performance by measuring, evaluating, and reporting on marine container transportation. Outbound measurements—shipping from distribution centers to retail stores—are not included yet. Timberland is actively working towards including this information in the future.
In 2011, Timberland projected that volume of units shipped would grow by 10%; instead, we found that unit volume grew more significantly than anticipated. Because unit volume grew, we also experienced a 25% increase in transportation emissions. The increase in unit volume put pressure on various parts of our supply chain resulting in more air freight to transport our products. As a result, instead of reducing air freight volume by 30% as targeted, we saw an air freight increase of 23% over the previous year.
“We had significantly more volume than anticipated,” says Michael Fischer, senior analyst of global transportation for Timberland. “In effect, we made very little progress on our aggressive goals in 2011.” These goals include a transportation-emissions reduction of 37% in 2012 against a 2006 baseline and 28%, over the same baseline in 2015 (to account for ongoing business growth).
Despite challenging results in 2011, Timberland remains committed to reducing our transportation impacts. According to Fischer, there are three ways Timberland plans to reduce emissions:
1. Transportation Mode Choices
2. Container Utilization
3. Distance Reduction
By far, the most expensive mode of transport is air freight, which is also the most harmful to the environment in terms of intensity of greenhouse gas emissions. Whenever possible, Timberland aims to utilize ocean freight to reduce our environmental impact. Since most of our suppliers are located overseas, the impact of using road and rail transportation is minimal.
Of course, sometimes air freight is necessary, and there are many factors that play into the decision for selecting an appropriate transportation mode. For example, a design or materials change late in the manufacturing process might mean that a product is delayed, requiring air freight to get it to customers on schedule. External factors also influence transportation choices. Resource or capacity restraints at factories can create delays that result in the need to transport by air to meet our deadlines. The issue could also be on the carrier’s side—for example, ocean-going vessels can simply not have enough space for goods. Timberland will seek to resolve issues within our control through improved planning and forecasting methods, which support our emissions objectives.
The second way Timberland plans to reduce transportation emissions is by improving container utilization, which means more efficiently using cargo space available. “Most of our product still moves as ocean freight over the longest distance, so this is where the opportunity is to have the greatest impact,” says Fischer. “If we end up shipping a container that’s not filled to capacity, we’re creating unnecessary waste—both financially and environmentally,” he explains.
Timberland is also looking to reduce the distance that goods need to be transported. “Sourcing product closer to the end consumer is the key to this objective. When you reduce your distance you also reduce your emissions. For example, when considering the most efficient way to move products to our North America and European markets, the more we can source from our Dominican Republic factory, the better,” says Fischer.
Fischer is hopeful that Timberland’s aggressive goals around transportation emissions can be met. However, he also points out that it must be a company-wide effort: “The entire business has to be involved and take ownership of the emission targets, and efforts need to be coordinated. By aligning our objectives and focusing on our three-tiered approach to reducing emissions, we’ll get closer to where we want to be.”« Previous Story