2012 marks the 20th anniversary of Timberland’s Path of Service™ program, which gives employees 40 hours of paid time off to serve in their communities. This milestone provides an opportunity to recognize the importance of service to our corporate culture, honor our heritage, and look for ways to deepen our commitment to service. One way we are doing that is by expanding that commitment beyond our employee base—encouraging consumers to join us in serving in their communities.
Under the leadership of Olga Wu, General Manager in Asia, Timberland Taiwan is leading the way to illustrate the value of service. We have 131 stores in Taiwan, 77 of which were opened by our wholesale partners, as well as an administrative office staff of 25 people.
Timberland Taiwan kicked off efforts to involve consumers in service on December 31, 2011, with an island-wide bike-a-thon celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China. As an event sponsor, Timberland hosted a service event at a local park. More than 200 people signed up—over half of whom were consumers.
At that event, Wu announced that the Taiwan office would celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Path of Service™ program by setting a goal of 10,000 service hours in 2012. To help meet this goal, Timberland Taiwan enticed our most engaged consumers with special privileges: consumers who spend 7,000 Taiwan New Dollars (about $237 USD) become Club Members and those who spend 10,000 Taiwan New Dollars (about $338 USD) or more become VIPs. Both groups are able to participate in Timberland-sponsored service events throughout the year.
Consumers who take up the challenge will be thanked for their efforts. People who serve 24 hours throughout the year at Timberland events will receive a free Timberland® T-shirt, while those who serve 40 hours will receive a free pair of Earthkeepers® boots and a Timberland CSR teddy bear.
To promote service opportunities, Timberland Taiwan relies primarily on in-store posters and postcards, as well as announcements on the website and on Facebook. Their Facebook page is especially helpful in getting consumers to interact with each other, sharing their photos and experiences.
According to Marty Shen, executive secretary for the Taiwan office and a Global Steward, the service-hour goal is well on its way to being met, with some 3,000 service hours accrued in early 2012.
The first of five major service events planned for Club member and VIP consumers occurred in March, when a team gathered to help clean and protect Taiwan’s eroding seashore. Timberland employee and consumer volunteers built a fence to help slow the loss of sand, and categorized and recorded waste collected. “We could see that waste came from Korea, Japan, even the Philippines,” marvels Shen. “Some of our club members didn’t realize that waste could create so much damage to the sea.”
The next consumer-oriented service event took place in May, when a Taiwan service team ventured into the mountains to help beautify a national park and eradicate non-indigenous plants and marine life that are creating an ecological imbalance in local ponds. “This is a new, inspiring experience for our Club members,” says Shen
Atlanta McIlwraith, Timberland’s senior manager of community engagement, reveals that the company hopes to take what Timberland Taiwan started and expand it to a more global scale. Hong Kong is already planning a similar program, and McIlwraith is working with the global marketing team to create a toolkit to promote the Timberland’s 20th anniversary of service in stores this fall.
“We want to engage consumers throughout the year, and a strong in-store presence in September will reinforce our 20th anniversary celebration,” McIlwraith says. “Going forward, we aim to share Timberland’s passion for service, while making it easy and fun for consumers to engage with our brand all around the world.”