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Timberland to expand innovative Green Index label
13
Aug '10
The Timberland Company, a leading outdoor footwear and apparel company, announced plans to expand the company's innovative Green Index label to all Timberland branded footwear.

In addition to expanding efforts to measure and communicate the environmental impact of its products, Timberland is collaborating with more than 200 outdoor businesses on an industry-wide eco-indexing standard that was announced during last week's Outdoor Retailer Show.

Timberland is currently applying a Green Index rating to 14 percent of its footwear; the company plans to apply the rating to 100 percent of its footwear by the end of 2012. Besides empowering footwear designers to lessen the impact of their designs, the initiative also extends the company's commitment to educating consumers on the environmental impact of its products, and to helping them make informed purchasing decisions.

Timberland is not alone in its pursuit of a more environmentally preferred approach to product development and transparency. The company is working through the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) on the development of an industry standard for product footprinting -- the Eco Index. While the Eco Index is not a consumer-facing label at this time, it will become the industry's first standardized environmental assessment tool.

"Individual efforts, like Timberland's Green Index, are good options for now, but to truly empower consumers, we knew we needed a commitment from the entire industry," said Betsy Blaisdell, senior manager of environmental stewardship for Timberland. "First mover companies only get so far -- collaboration is integral to achieving a consumer-friendly, industry-wide standard, which is why we applaud the launch of the OIA Eco Index as a positive step in the right direction."

Pioneering Product Transparency
Timberland is a pioneer in product transparency and labeling. In 2006, the company launched a new product packaging and labeling initiative, the first of its kind for the retail industry. It included the company's "nutrition label," which helps consumers understand more about where their product was manufactured, how it was produced and its impact on the environment. In the spring of 2007, Timberland took the nutrition label concept a step further and introduced the Green Index score, to report on product-specific ratings for select environmental factors.

The Green Index rating measures and reports on environmental impact in three key areas:

• Climate impact: Measures greenhouse gas emissions produced from raw material extraction through manufacturing
• Chemicals used: Measures the presence of hazardous substances (solvent adhesives and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)) used in the production of products
• Materials used: Measures the use of organic, recycled or renewable materials

Timberland is committed to setting targets to reduce the environmental impact of its products. The company is in the process of establishing a reliable baseline for specific environmental indicators and, by the end of 2011, Timberland will have its baseline data.

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