Can a major multinational brand halve its carbon emissions in only four years? We’ll find out next year if Timberland manages to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half based on a 2006 baseline. The footwear company, which recently began reusing car tires in shoe soles, revealed its secret sauce for cutting emissions in a white paper published yesterday.
Timberland has already cut direct emissions by 27% since 2006 by sourcing power from renewable sources, using less energy, and educating workers about efficiency. The company has also installed lighting retrofits and energy efficient equipment in many of its buildings. Timberland hopes that scaling up these efforts will nearly double cuts in emissions by the end of next year.
The goal is not without its challenges. By the end of last year, Timberland only sourced 6.67% of its energy from renewables due to a lack of green power capacity at its Danville, Kentucky and Dominican Republic facilities. This presents a problem for Timberland’s carbon emissions goal – the two facilities represent 23% of the company’s carbon footprint combined. If capacity for green power isn’t available, the facilities are unable to significantly cut their emissions.
The vast majority of Timberland’s carbon footprint (71%) comes from the production of raw materials, so the company has created a product environmental rating system called the Green Index to help designers make eco-conscious decisions. Timberland also started a Leather Working Group to rate tanners for environmental performance. The company will only source leather from top tanneries by the end of 2009.
Timberland’s raw materials quandary is a familiar one for companies trying to reduce their carbon footprints. But if more organizations take the initiative to select materials based on green factors, environmentally ignorant raw material makers will find that they aren’t getting much business.