Timberland and Haiti Smallholder Farmers Alliance:
A Model for Driving Economic and Environmental Progress in Haiti
The January 2010 earthquake devastated the people of Haiti and illuminated an issue that has been ignored for far too long – the ongoing degradation of the country’s natural environment. While short-term relief efforts were essential, drastic, sustainable changes to restore tree cover and agricultural production remain critical for the future of Haiti. A model for sustainable development, the Haiti Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) is the culmination of a $1 million, five- year, innovative public/private partnership led by Timberland.
The Issue: Rebuilding amidst deforestation and unreliable farming techniques
Haiti is one of the most severely deforested countries in the world, with an estimated 1.5 percent tree cover. Deforestation is driven by many factors, including dependency on wood for cooking charcoal, rapid population growth and unreliable agricultural practices, and contributes to the severity of food insecurity, flooding and erosion. The opportunity exists to create a sustainable, long-term solution that empowers Haitians to play an active role in spurring economic development, improving agricultural practices, and supporting reforestation and environmental restoration.
The Solution: Haitians take ownership of increasing local food production and help combat deforestation
Small-scale farming is the main source of income for two-thirds of Haiti’s working population. Timberland partnered with Timote Georges and Hugh Locke, co- founders of the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA), to develop a sustainable agroforestry business model run by local smallholder farmers that would be self- financed within five years. The farmers voluntarily tend to a network of tree nurseries that annually produce one million trees. In return, the farmers receive training, crop seeds, trees and tools that collectively help restore tree cover and increase crop yields.
The Impact: 3,200 Haitian farmer members, five million trees, increased production of cash crops, and a sustainable economic development model
Timberland and SFA, with the help of various partners, created a self-sustaining, replicable agroforestry business model that demonstrates the best of social entrepreneurism at work. The model has helped 3,200 farmers increase the productivity on their farmlands up to 50 percent depending on the crop, resulting in
the increase in household income of SFA farmers between 30 and 50 percent. Other outcomes have included increased access to education and healthcare for farmers’ families, and recently the early development of an export model for lime and “superfood” moringa.
Looking Ahead: Supply chain innovations and social entrepreneurism
Timberland hopes to replicate this private/public model in other areas of its footwear and apparel supply chains, investigating opportunities to scale to cotton and rubber plantation farming in other developing countries.
Documenting the Journey: Sharing the success
Scheduled for release in October 2015, KOMBIT: The Cooperative, chronicles Timberland’s and SFA’s journey to rebuild Haiti. Timberland and SFA, in partnership with award-winning filmmakers Gabriel London and Charlie Sadoff of Found Object, have been documenting the project since 2010.
While Earth Day is celebrated in different ways around the world, Timberland employees recognize the day in their own unique way by pulling on their boots to make a difference. This spring, in celebration of Earth Day, approximately 1,800 Timberland employees, business partners, and consumers from around the world will serve close to 13,000 hours at more than 60 community service projects in 20 countries.
From our home base in Stratham, New Hampshire to Zhuhai, China, employees will serve at a variety of projects to enhance green spaces in their local communities. Projects will occur from April 15 – May 30 and global highlights include:
- Stabio, Switzerland: For Earth Day 2015, the Timberland European headquarters team in Stabio, Ticino, will partner with the municipality of Lugano and Lugano Turismo in their efforts to preserve outdoor areas that play important roles in the local cultural landscape.
- Malaysia: On April 15th, 40 employees and 15 guests partnered with the Global Environment Center to collect over 330kg of trash and plant 150 trees to protect the Bamboo River (Sungai Buluh).
- New Hampshire: Timberland headquarters will host six projects throughout the New England Seacoast, focused on creating and developing green spaces and other environmental initiatives.
- New York: Timberland’s North America sales team will join forces with a range of business partners at Coney Island to help revitalize a run-down 70,000 square foot pumping station into usable green farm space.
Last year on Earth Day, we reached a historic milestone when employees served their one millionth hour since the company introduced its Path of Service™ program in 1992. Created to infuse volunteerism into our company culture, the Path of Service™ program provides employees up to 40 paid hours each year to serve in their communities. Every year Timberland organizes two global service events: in spring, we focus its efforts on environmental needs around Earth Day; in fall, we host our annual Serv-a-palooza event, which focuses on community-based needs. 2015 marks Timberland’s 17th annual Earth Day service celebration.
Earth Day is a particularly welcome event for employees in New Hampshire, where harsh winters can take their toll. Earth Day at Timberland’s Stratham headquarters was delayed until May 14th this year to allow the ground more time to thaw. As employee service champion Jill Holt said, “Earth Day is one of my favorite events because it celebrates service and the arrival of spring – two of my favorite things. There’s nothing like getting outside with your team and making such a visible difference through service.”« Previous StoryNext Story »
More than 1,500 Volunteers Around the Globe Come Together to Serve their Local Communities
Timberland employees love the fall. Not only do we get to wear our favorite Timberland boots, we get to pull them on to make a difference at our annual fall celebration of service called Serv-a-palooza. This year we are celebrating our 17th annual Serv-a-palooza at which employees and guests around the globe come together to serve their communities. The daylong celebration provides Timberland employees worldwide with the opportunity to impact the community, build teamwork and engage stakeholders in Timberland’s ethic of service.
“Even in its 17th year, Serv-a-palooza remains one of our most beloved community service events,” said Atlanta, McIlwraith, senior manager of community engagement for Timberland. “Serv-a-palooza represents an opportunity for us to reconnect with our neighbors and provide them with much needed resources that will support their community growth for years to come. It is our continued hope that our unwavering commitment to service will inspire others to spread the positive impact throughout their own communities around the world.”
Across North America, Europe and Asia, Timberland is hosting Serv-a-palooza projects in more than 50 locations, across 15 international markets with some 12,000 hours of service performed by 1,500+ volunteers in September and October. Some events include:
- Building a library for a local Primary School that has limited resources in Malaysia
- Cleaning up a coastal beach in Taiwan
- Reconstructing a homeless shelter for children in the Dominican Republic
- Planting 1,200 trees in Italy to create an urban park
- Renovating a shelter in the United Kingdom
As part of the Path of Service™ program, which provides full-time employees up to 40 paid volunteer hours per year, Timberland organizes two global service events each year. The annual Spring event, Earth Day, focuses on Timberland’s commitment to serving the environment, while Serv-a-palooza in the Fall, focuses on serving communities in need. During this year’s Earth Day celebration, Timberland employees surpassed a major milestone of having served over one million hours. Serv-a-palooza will gets us underway in serving our next million hours.
At our brand headquarters in Stratham, NH more than 360 employees and guests served more than 2,900 hours at seven community building projects in nearby Lawrence, MA. Service projects included running our signature “Leave Your Footprint” fair at a school serving kids in need. At the fair, students received a new pair of Timberland shoes, chose a book for themselves and one to donate to someone else, and learned about the value of recycling. Other projects included running a job readiness fair and employer expo to support unemployed job seekers in finding work, providing a facilities makeover and a new garden to a homeless shelter and more.
At the end of the service day, Timberland volunteers from different sites convened for a community block party in the common opposite Lawrence City Hall. Mayor Dan Rivera and other community members joined the celebration to thank the volunteers for the service.
Timberland Stratham employee and first time Serv-a-palooza project director Chris Reynolds said: “everything about this Serv-a-palooza was incredible –from partnering with the community, witnessing how engaged and inspired our volunteers were throughout the day, and seeing our impact – the whole experience was rewarding and unforgettable.”« Previous Story