Government leaders, including President Obama, have officially given up on reaching a legally binding greenhouse gas treaty at next month's climate conference in Copenhagen. But Timberland is still plugging away, with its "Don't Tell Us it Can't be Done" campaign, launched today. The global campaign asks supporters to sign a petition asking leaders to sign a deal.
Even though Obama has decided a climate change deal can't be reached, Timberland asks that even a simple cap and trade deal be considered as a starting point. So why is a shoewear company so concerned with the COP15 conference? "World 'leaders' keep hiding behind excuses in order to avoid doing their job and to avoid enacting a global accord to address the real and profound effects of climate change. One excuse is, pricing carbon into the economy will bankrupt western economies," explained Jeffrey Swartz, CEO of Timberland. "We say, stop hiding, and start leading—businesses have the capacity to innovate and therefore to cope with the cost of carbon. Don't tell us business can't reduce emissions and improve profits—we have, and many other leading companies in a variety of industries have."
Of course the campaign gives Timberland the chance to highlight the fact that it has cut company carbon emissions by 27% since 2006, and positions the company as a leader in climate change issues. But Timberland's campaign also signals that advertising and protest efforts like Hopenhagen will continue to push for a climate deal at COP15 even in the face of demoralizing statements from world officials.