Walk around any college campus during the winter and you’ll most likely to see at least 10 guys with Timberlands on. These stylish, waterproof (not beer proof), and durable boots seem to be the boot of choice for the harsher seasons. Even though dealing with the douchebaggery of these frat boys can sometimes be a lot to ask, at least they support a socially responsible company.

I personally never knew Timberland was as socially responsible as they are. Their mission statement is “Our mission is to equip people to make a difference in their world. We do this by creating outstanding products and by trying to make a difference in the communities where we live and work.” Timberland believes its company’s employees need to spend as much time contributing to their community as they spend contributing to the company.

Timberland even has a part of their webpage dedicated to their service to the community. The site is called Timberland Responsibility. Here they show Timberland’s socially responsible goals, which vary from reducing supply chain emissions to how many hours of community service their employees have contributed. The information is actually relevant and shows where they are currently at and their goal to reach by the year 2015. They even have a scorecard which shows how they are doing, and which areas they have met their 2015 goal and areas where they need to improve.  Additional to the information they provide they also have a discussion area where employees and customers may discuss social issues. This is a smart approach as I remember interning for a company that had a similar discussion area, but was only accessible by employees. This way you can get not only what they employees want to do to help but you also get the communities ideas on how to be socially responsible.

What is most intriguing about their social responsibility is that it covers multiple areas of their business. They try to include social responsibility in everything from factory work to the design of their boots. I suggest taking a look at the Timberland Responsibility page, and see for yourself how far this company actually goes to be socially responsible.

I think it would be interesting to interview some employees and see if they feel the same way as the company. I say this because I worked for a “socially responsible” company and the employees complained most the time when doing a service project. So I’m curious whether or not being socially responsible is the environment of Timberland or just a façade for us customers.

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7 responses »

  1. I think you raise a good point, whether the employees feel socially responsible by acting according to the company’s green standards. I can say one thing for sure, individuals tend to feel a greater reward for their actions when they are done on that person’s own terms, instead of being “forced/mandated” by someone else (the company). This kind of makes me question if companies should purely encourage employees to do community service, recycle, etc, instead of forcing them to set up goals that the company feels reflects their mission. In the end, I believe that “Green” is the future. If you are not living your life with a green lifestyle then the company should be able to interfere and set up some sort of a system that encourages that type of behavior. I only say this because in order for the green movement to be accepted across the board, everyone needs to be on the same page and living by the same standards. I know this sounds a little like communism, but it’s called altering one’s lifestyle for a better future, and I think Timberland exemplifies this.

    • idalbello says:

      I 100% agree with you that a company should make an exerted effort to try and encourage it’s employees to live a green lifestyle. I mentioned that I worked for a “socially responsible” company and when I interned there this summer I feel like it was mostly forced on employees. We were helping build homes for the less fortunate, but lots of employees were complaining about the little things. Also out of the people in my finance team only about 50% showed up. I understand some people have other commitments but I’m also sure they could have committed some time out of their day to join. But back to the point that Timberland does show its employees the green lifestyle. I believe that if a company can show its employees the way to live that lifestyle then I think that they will go “on their own” and do it outside of work as well.

  2. Paul Martin says:

    Ian makes an interesting point towards the end of his post, which is similar to something I already commented on in relation to Apple; the idea of whether a company does something as the result of outside pressure and to create a facade, or whether a company is acting according to genuine principles the board and top executives believe in. I’ve head a number of presentations about Timberland through other Bucknell management classes, and it actually seems like it has consistently been a very down-to-earth and environmentally conscious company. What is particularly impressive to me is that Timberland has maintained its status as a major and hugely popular company and brand name, and while simultaneously being as socially and environmentally friendly as they have been. Balancing profits while being environmentally conscious is by no means an easy task, and I think Timberland does an excellent job. At the risk of Ian thinking I’m a douchebag, I’ll admit that I own a number of Timberland products myself, including the douchebaggy frat boy boots.

    • idalbello says:

      I agree with Paul, Timberland has done an amazing job managing not only its profits but it’s also being environmentally sound. I find it interesting that they release their “Green” goals and track how they are doing. The reports they release on this information almost makes it a 10K for their environment goals. And Paul I was just playing to the stereotype, your not a douche. I actually own a couple pairs as well and I’m in a fraternity so we are in the same boat.

  3. Claire McCardell says:

    Wow, I had no idea that Timberland had such a strong commitment to social responsibility and the green movement. I think it’s very unique to incorporate employee community service into the company structure, and disagree with Tomas that it works more as a disincentive. Although it may be personally-fulfilling to take initiative and find/contribute toward a community service goal, the reality is a lot of us don’t have the time to search and may never get around to completing a community service project without it being a requirement. From a personal example, last semester we had to work 20 hours of community service as a part of our capstone class. I had always been meaning to find a service group and give back to the Lewisburg community, but never made the first step. The class requirement forced me to find a project, and I ended up loving it (I tutored elementary and middle-school students of low-income households in the area…highly recommend it!) and continued volunteering this semester. Sometimes people just need the push to get started, and I don’t feel any less satisfied or rewarded from my time spent tutoring last semester just because it was part of a class requirement.

  4. Jordi says:

    Douchebaggery? How is that distinct from “jerk,” “dork,” or “a$$hole?”

  5. […] Best Tie to Class Discussion/Readings goes to Scout (Starbucks at its Finest) for her useful reference to Milton […]

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