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Timberland Will Create Green Space in Five Cities In the U.S.

GinaMarie headshotWords by Gina-Marie Cheeseman
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Large cities often lack enough green spaces. One outdoor clothing company would like to remedy that problem. Timberland announced it will increase green space in certain stores over the next five years. Doing so will double its footprint in five U.S. cities by 2020. Every year for the next five years, the company will pick a city and create green space in its store that is equal to the store’s square footage.

Timberland launched its green space initiative by partnering with a New York City nonprofit called GrowNYC. Over 100 volunteers from Timberland helped transform the United We Stand garden, which is 32,000 square feet in the Mott Haven neighborhood of South Bronx. The space used to contain four community gardens, but after a damaging fire a year and a half ago they were cleared.

The Timberland volunteers spent a day creating a new community garden, and they will work in the garden throughout the summer. In the fall the garden will be unveiled and open to the community.

Timberland will announce the next four cities where it will create green spaces later this year. Timberland is committed to planting 10 million trees around the world by 2020. So far, the company planted 8.7 million.

“We believe green spaces are the heartbeat of a community,” said Colleen Vien, sustainability director at Timberland, in a statement. “They do so much more than provide a place to play and explore; they also help enhance quality of life in the form of improved health and overall wellbeing. They simply make neighborhoods stronger. We are proud to make this commitment today, so these vibrant city spaces can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

“We’re so thankful for Timberland’s service in our communities as they help us further our efforts to provide green space in areas that need it most,” said Mike Rezny, assistant director, GrowNYC, in a statement. “Today’s volunteers are transforming one of the most underserved neighborhoods in the Bronx into a beautiful community garden functioning as a destination for urban agriculture and an inviting outdoor hub for the surrounding community.”

Project Evergreen, a national nonprofit organization committed to preserving and enhancing green spaces, lists a number of advantages of green space, including:

  • Filtering out pollutants and dust from the air.

  • Providing shade and cooler temperatures in the midst of an urban jungle.

  • Reducing erosion of soil into waterways.

  • Counters the warming effects of asphalt which reduces energy.

  • Plants absorb carbon dioxide.
Timberland has a number of other environmental initiatives. One of those is using adhesives in its shoe manufacturing that are less environmentally harmful. Footwear is usually manufactured with solvent-based chemicals to glue, clean or paint shoe parts. Solvent-based adhesives release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are harmful to human health and to the environment. Timberland measures the grams of VOCs released during manufacturing, so it can account for the overall amount of them used to produce its footwear. 

Timberland strives to incorporate recycled, organic and renewable materials (ROR) into its products and uses those materials throughout its product lines. It sets yearly targets to increase the amount of ROR materials every year. Last year, it included 18.8 percent of ROR materials in its products. The company’s largest use of ROR materials is organic cotton, and it has a goal to use 100 percent sustainably-produced cotton by 2020.

Timberland used 1 million pounds of recycled PET in its footwear in 2015, which is equivalent to 47 million plastic water bottles. Since 2009, it has used the equivalent of 233 million plastic water bottles. It has also increased its use of recycled rubber. Since 2008, it has used 1,407 metric tons of recycled rubber, and 379 metric tons in 2015 alone.

image credit: Flickr/sookie

Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshotGina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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