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Timberland Sustainability Report: Absolute Emissions Increase 4.5%

Clothing brand Timberland’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by 4.5 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to its 2011 corporate social responsibility report. The company says this is a “near constant” result when compared to its financial performance, although the report doesn’t include any raw data on business growth in 2011.

In total, 2011 saw Timberland emit 16,482 metric tons of carbon, up from 15,769 metric tons in 2010. The company exceeded it 2011 target emissions  of 15,870 metric tons, according to the progress update – which is published online as part of the company’s CSR portal, rather than in PDF form as most company’s sustainability reports are. The firm launched the portal last year.

Timberland attributes the rise in emissions to an increase in employee air travel. Emissions from air travel rose from 3,943 metric tons in 2010 to 4,950 metric tons in 2011. In 2012, Timberland has pledged to experiment with carbon budgeting to alleviate emissions increases from air travel.

Timberland’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions decreased by 2.4 percent against 2010 levels, the report says.

Emissions from factories in Timberland’s supply chain increased 12.3 percent year-on-year, but emissions those factories emitted while producing Timberland products fell 5.5 percent over the same time period. In 2010 Timberland’s supply chain factories produced a total of 464,647 metrics tons of CO2, and that figure rose to 522,238 in 2011. But many of those factories also produce products for other brands, and emissions related directly to production of Timberland products fell from 39,087 in 2010 to 36,950 in 2011.

In 2010 the company drew 12.95 percent of its energy from renewable sources. That figure rose to 15.02 percent in 2011, meeting the company’s target of 15 percent. Timberland’s renewable energy sourcing has shown a general upward trend since 2006’s figure of 5.73 percent. The company is targeting sourcing 19 percent of its energy from renewable sources in 2012 and 30 percent by 2015. But it says it prioritizes energy-efficiency projects to achieve emission reductions, over more pricey renewable energy projects.

Starting in 2010, Timberland adopted the environmental framework and scoring methodology of the Global Social Compliance Program in assessments of its factories’ environmental performance. It is unclear whether 9 percent or 7 percent of Timberland’s factories met GSCP Level 2 in 2011, due to conflicting figures on the company’s CSR Web portal and a scorecard published within the Web site. Level 2 demonstrates “Proactive Management and Performance Improvement,” the report says.

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