Timberland

Plastic Waste is Fashion’s New Sustainability Gimmick

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Looking for the latest in eco-friendly fashion? One word: plastics.

H&M announced on Tuesday that it will debut its second Conscious Exclusive campaign — an upscale version of its Conscious Collection program founded in 2012 — which includes formal wear for men, women and children. The line uses recycled polyester made from plastic waste, an estimated eight million tons of which litters oceans each year, and is slated to be available in 160 stores around the globe in late April. The move comes shortly after Adidas partnered with Parley for the Oceans, a nonprofit that reduces oceanic plastic waste, to make running shoes made almost entirely out of discarded plastic.

For the H&M line, the Swedish retailer teamed with Bionic Yarn, a New York-based company that turns plastic bottles into technical yarns and fabrics. The signature piece of H&M’s line is a blush pink pleated gown (which retails for $249) modeled by Natalia Vodianova, who was tapped to be the face of this year’s Conscious Exclusive campaign. Singer Pharrell Williams serves as as Bionic Yarn’s creative director, and has previously teamed up with brands like Timberland and G-Star on footwear and denim that use the bionic yarn technology.

grass-honey-collage
Pharrell Williams Bionic Yarn collection for Timberland.

“It’s an excellent PR stunt, for H&M to raise awareness about ocean pollution — along with Adidas’ partnership with Parley for the Ocean,” said Lauren Slowik, outreach coordinator and design evangelist at 3-D printing company Shapeways. “But I like to hope that ocean trash is a finite resource and not something we can build whole industries on. The only real positive I see is that it helps to bring supply chain and production of materials to the forefront on consumers’ minds.”

H&M and Adidas said their ocean plastic efforts were designed to be more than just ploys to attract eco-conscious consumers. Adidas began selling its recycled shoes for $220 in November 2016 with a commitment to making a minimum of 1 million pairs by the end of 2017. It also plans to team with Parley on communication, education and research efforts.

Meanwhile, H&M is attempting to increase its percentage of garments made from sustainable materials, which was reported at 20 percent in 2015. It also asserts to be one of the biggest users of recycled polyester and organic cotton, and has a lofty goal for all cotton to be sustainably sourced by 2020.

However, despite its commitment to sustainability, H&M has still been vague in its transparency efforts and faces ongoing criticism for being a fast fashion retailer that is still using significant resources to produce low-priced goods. Natalie Grillon, founder of Project Just, told Glossy in a previous article that despite the assertions made against the company, H&M has still made strides in efforts like employee wages.

“H&M comes under fire a lot for their initiatives because they do publicize it,” said Grillon. “When really, they’ve made a ton of effort in support of better wages. But then they talk about it a lot, and then they come under fire a lot for anything at all that goes wrong.”

*This story first appeared on Glossy

Shaping Convergence in Social and Labor Assessments

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Progress in developing an industry-wide tool, website launched

It has been one year since the launch of the Social & Labor Convergence Project, an initiative led by the world’s leading manufacturers, brands, retailers, industry groups and civil society organizations. The mission of the Project is to develop a common assessment framework. The number of signatories has tripled since the launch. This means today already over 95 signatories support the mission and invite any interested party to join. With all signatories participating in the work, the project has stayed on course with an ambitious two-year timeline. To continue growing this momentum and support, a project website has been released, providing more information on how to engage with the project.

The Social & Labor Convergence Project seeks to develop a simple, unified and effective industry-wide assessment framework. This framework includes a standard-agnostic tool and verification methodology to collect relevant and essential data, with the ultimate intent to replace current proprietary tools. A common framework for data collection will reduce duplicated efforts, creating opportunities to invest resources previously designated for compliance audits into the improvement of social and labor conditions.  Collecting common data allows business partners to measure continuous improvement, and increase the opportunity for transparency. In this way, the social impacts and sustained improvements to working conditions in the apparel and footwear sector is accelerated.

The number of signatories has tripled since the launch of this project in October 2015, with over 95 stakeholders supporting the mission and a standing invitation for new signatories to join. Organizations like Arvind Mills, G-Star, GAP Inc., H&M, Hirdaramani, Intertek, OECD, Solidaridad, VF Corp.-Timberland, WRAP are partners from the start. The most recent members include: lululemon, The Netherlands Government and the Sri Lanka manufacturers’ association JAAF.

Janet Mensink, SAC director Social and Labor Convergence Project: “We have maintained on track with our aggressive two-year timeline for the project, to which our achievements could not have been met to date without the multi-stakeholder efforts from all of our signatories. The first version of the tool has been created and is currently reviewed by all signatories’.  This first prototype will be pilot tested in the next month.”

After multiple consultations with signatories and external stakeholders and pilot tests, the converged tool and verification methodology will be finalized and ready for use by Q1 2018.

Colleen Vien, VF Corp.-Timberland and Steering Committee member of the Social & Labor Convergence Project: I’ve seen efforts like this fail previously, but I do believe we are at a time now when it can and will be successful – for several reasons:  egos are being checked at the door , other industries have proven its possible, external auditing firms and social/labor standard holders are not threatened by the idea of convergence, there’s a genuine interest by all to see all of our efforts be more efficient and (more importantly) more effective.  There’s much work to be done to ensure the outcome delivers something that meets all stakeholders’ needs, something that can be depended upon. Together, with all the stakeholders involved, I’m optimistic this time.

The project’s significant progress to develop an industry-wide tool which accelerates social progress is noteworthy. This will be an initiative to watch over the next year.

The Social & Labor Convergence project is facilitated by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and is additionally supported with external funding. The SAC is the apparel, footwear and home textile industry’s foremost alliance for sustainable production. Interested parties can contact SAC: janet@apparelcoalition.org

*This story first appeared on Social &Labor Convergence

Timberland announces its Q2 2015 CSR performance

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Highlights from this quarter’s performance are as follows, organized by Timberland’s four CSR Pillars: Factories, Climate, Product, and Service.

More detailed performance data and analysis can be found on the Goals & Progress section of Timberland’s Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) website, http://responsibility.timberland.com.

FACTORIESOf the 320 active factories at the end of Q2, 36% are rated Accepted, which is a 16% improvement over our Q1 result (31%).  For a complete factory list, visit the factories section of our Responsbility site.  For more about VF’s Compliance audit process click here.

In 2015, we will be transitioning the measurement of suppliers’ environmental and social/labor management to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index, consistent with our parent company, VF Corporation.  To have the greatest impact on VF’s supply chain as a whole, the focus will be on the top 250 suppliers across all VF brands.  In the coming quarters, we will be reporting on Timberland’s highest producing factories and their scores on the Higg Index.

CLIMATE:  In 2014, we had a 9% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2013 (15,874 vs. 17,514), which is a 46% reduction over our 2006 baseline.  This decrease can be attributed to lower energy usage in several of our European and Asian sites, and a decrease in emissions related to employee travel.

Our use of renewable energy decreased slightly in 2014 (18.7% in 2013 vs. 16.7% in 2014).  This decrease can be partly attributed to several sites in Europe with expired renewable energy contracts.  We are working to re-establish contracts in those locations that previously had them, and 2 large US locations are new procuring renewable energy.  As such, we look forward to a more favorable result in 2015.

PRODUCTOur global average grams of  volatile organic compounds used in footwear production is 55.4 grams per pair, which is 2.7 grams more per pair than our Q2 2014 result (52.7 grams).  Our use of ROR in apparel was roughly 12.7% of total textile weight.  With respect to leather sourcing, 99.6% of Timberland’s leather volume came from tanneries scoring Silver or Gold in their Leather Working Group (“LWG”) audit.  

SERVICE: Timberland employees served 46,509 hours year to date.  YTD Hours Utilization Rate (the percentage of employee service hours used compared to the total available hours according to our Path of ServiceTM program) during Q2 2015 was 18.5%, which is even with our Q2 reslut (18.6% increased to 7.6% vs. 4.4% in Q1 2014.  Our Benefit Utilization Rate (the percentage of employees who serve at least one hour) YTD increased from 18.1% in Q1 2014 to 34% in Q1 2015.

**This story first appeared in the Timberland newsletter here.

Timberland announces its Q1 2015 CSR performance

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STRATHAM, N.H.  – June 3, 2015

Highlights from this quarter’unnameds performance are as follows, organized by Timberland’s four CSR Pillars: Factories, Climate, Product, and Service.

More detailed performance data and analysis can be found on the Goals & Progress section of Timberland’s Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) website, http://responsibility.timberland.com.

FACTORIES:  Of the 350 active factories at the end of Q1, 31% are rated Accepted, which is slightly lower than our Q4 result.  For a complete factory list, visit the factories section of our Responsbility site.  For more about VF’s Compliance audit process click here.

In 2015, we will be transitioning the measurement of suppliers’ environmental and social/labor management to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index, consistent with our parent company, VF Corporation.  To have the greatest impact on VF’s supply chain as a whole, the focus will be on the top 250 suppliers across all VF brands.  In the coming quarters, we will be reporting on Timberland’s highest producing factories and their scores on the Higg Index.

CLIMATE: Since the transition to our parent company’s energy reporting structure, there is a significant delay in obtaining quarterly data of our greenhouse gas emissions and our use of renewable energy. We therefore are now reporting these numbers externally on a yearly basis, in conjuction with our Q2 reporting.

PRODUCT: Our global average grams of  volatile organic compounds used in footwear production is 49 grams per pair, which is even with our result from the same period last year; and our use of ROR in apparel was roughly 23.2% of total textile weight.  With respect to leather sourcing, 99.7% of Timberland’s leather volume came from tanneries scoring Silver or Gold in their Leather Working Group (“LWG”) audit.

SERVICE: Timberland employees served 19,148 hours year to date, a 85.6% increase over the same period last year. YTD Hours Utilization Rate (the percentage of employee service hours used compared to the total available hours according to our Path of ServiceTM program) during Q1 2015 increased to 7.6% vs. 4.4% in Q1 2014. Our Benefit Utilization Rate (the percentage of employees who serve at least one hour) YTD increased from 18.1% in Q1 2014 to 34% in Q1 2015.

Timberland, a brand of VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC), is a global leader in the design, engineering and marketing of premium-quality footwear, apparel and accessories for consumers who value the outdoors and their time in it. Timberland markets products under the Timberland®, Timberland PRO®, and Timberland Boot Company® brands, all of which offer quality workmanship and detailing and are built to withstand the elements of nature. Timberland® products are sold throughout the world in leading department and specialty stores as well as company-owned retail locations and online. Timberland’s dedication to making quality products is matched by its commitment to “doing well and doing good” — forging powerful partnerships among employees, consumers and service partners to transform the communities in which they live and work. To learn more about Timberland, please visit www.timberland.com.