Timberland’s passion for the outdoors and commitment to climate change stems from long-held values of environmental stewardship. And we’re fully aware that by being in the boot making business and producing greenhouse gases, we contribute to the problem. But we also know we can be part of the solution, by reducing our energy use and investing in renewable energy, and encouraging our partners to do the same.
This commitment to reducing our carbon footprint isn’t strictly an altruistic venture. In fact, we think it gives us a pretty strong competitive advantage.
Between 2006 and 2010, we achieved a 38% reduction in absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for owned and operated facilities and employee air travel. And we’re aiming to reduce our emissions by 50% by 2015 (over our 2006 baseline). We’ve been able to do this by: 1) using less energy; 2) purchasing more renewable energy; and 3) decreasing employee air travel. That’s its own story altogether.
How is all of this good for business? Looking at electricity demand alone, we reduced our global kilowatt-hour use by 23% from 2006 to 2010. This translates to over $1.4 million dollars in savings from 2006 to 2010. We don’t know any business that would leave that kind of money on the table. It makes sense for the environment and for our bottom line.
Environmental and cost savings add up when looking at our investments on a project-by-project basis. For example, retrofitting the lighting in our US Headquarters and Distribution Centers has cut energy demand for those facilities by approximately 30%, with a payback in less than two years. The resulting cost savings is $360,000. And in 2009, our North American Retail stores underwent a lighting retrofit to replace less efficient incandescent bulbs with LED spotlights. The new bulbs consume 80% less energy and saved us approximately $170,000 in 2010. This also reduced the carbon emissions produced by our retail stores by more than 15%. We hope to apply this retrofit model to our international stores, too.
But environmental concerns don’t stop with operations. We also want to make and sell products that give consumers environmentally responsible options.
Timberland’s Earthkeepers® line represents authentic, outdoor-capable products that best demonstrate our commitment to environmental responsibility. They’re made with eco-conscious materials like Green Rubber™ outsoles (which has 42% recycled rubber), recycled PET linings, leather from silver-rated tanneries, and organic cotton.
Not only are these products better for the environment, but they’re also pretty popular with consumers, too. Timberland® Earthkeepers® footwear, apparel, and accessories are propelling revenue growth for our brand. In fact, at the end of 2010, the Earthkeepers® collection grew 115% and was more than 10% of our business. In Timberland-owned retail globally in 2010, four of the top 20 products sold were Earthkeepers® products, and in the first quarter of 2011 we saw Earthkeepers® footwear grow double-digits across genders, channels, and geographies.
We’re excited that consumers are responding. The market response—and our continued efforts to pursue financial success along with environmental sustainability—is an indication to us that we’re on to something here. Our goals moving forward are bold ones. Driving business while reducing our environmental impacts is a tall order, but one that reflects a position of financial health as well as our values.