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Timberland Shares What ‘Activating Purpose’ Means to its Brand at 2016 Sustainable Brands Conference


Last week, global outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland joined thought leaders, brand innovators, designers and business leaders from around the globe to explore how brands are Activating Purpose to scale impact, at Sustainable Brands San Diego.

To kick off the opening night of the three-day conference, Timberland, in partnership with the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) and award-winning filmmakers Found Object, held an outdoor screening of “KOMBIT: The Cooperative.” This documentary highlights an innovative private/public partnership between Timberland and the SFA that is changing the landscape of smallholder farming and bringing new hope to the people of Haiti. More than 75 attendees joined the screening to learn more about this five-year journey to empower communities of farmers in Haiti to plant five million millions trees, while at the same time improving their own crop yields and livelihoods.

Beyond the screening, Timberland engaged in two conference panel discussions about innovative, purpose-driven leadership. Margaret Morey-Reuner, director of strategic partnerships and business development at Timberland, participated in the “New and Evolving Cases of Partnerships Devoted to Circularity and Upcycling” panel. She and Ian Rosenberger, founder and CEO of Thread International, discussed the organizations’ new partnership on a spring 2017 collection made from plastic bottles collected from the streets and waterways of Haiti and Honduras. “Timberland has given 233 million plastic bottles new life in footwear since 2009, so we’re quite familiar with upcycling, but we also know there’s much more we can do,” said Morey-Reuner. “This panel offered an exciting opportunity to not only share the evolution of Timberland’s upcycling efforts, through our partnership with Thread, but also to learn from other innovative leaders and thinkers as we look to implement creative solutions in the future.” Thread is changing how consumers and the industry think about recycled PET, creating not only environmental value, but also social value in the form of job creation and cleaner neighborhoods in developing countries.

At the “Embedding Sustainability on a Deep Level: Internal Engagement Aimed at Changing Employee Mindsets and Culture” panel, Timberland’s senior manager of community engagement, Atlanta Mcilwraith, shared how in 2006 the brand built and launched its Global Stewards program, an employee engagement program for an impassioned global community that has served more than one million volunteer hours to-date. The Global Stewards – a topic that drew several inquiries from the audience – are a team of employees that volunteer to serve as ambassadors of CSR to their local countries and offices, planning services events for employees and driving local CSR education, engagement and communication. Alongside leaders from other values-driven organizations like Clif Bar, WeSpire, Pixar, Kohler Co. and Harrah’s Resort of Southern California, Mcilwraith highlighted the importance of creating a culture of collaboration and keeping teams motivated around a common purpose in order to scale impact.

To learn more about how Timberland is making a difference in terms of its products, the outdoors and the communities it serves, visit:


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