Most of us are familiar with the classic silhouette of a Timberland boot. We may own a pair or we may steer away from them, but the fact is that Timberland is a brand that you can spot from a mile away. Not only do they create high quality products, but every year the company seems more and more invested in becoming a net positive brand.
Not only has Timberland heavily invested in organic cotton which simultaneously improves farmer’s lives in Haiti, but they have also taken an interest in a pivotal material needed for their products: rubber. In its most recent announcement, Timberland explained their new partnership that will take them all the way to Thailand.
Along with Terra Genesis International (TGI), the American brand has laid down the blueprints for its most ambitious green project to date: build the world’s first regenerative rubber supply system. Working alongside Vans and The North Face, Timberland is working its way to release a collection using this sustainable rubber as soon as 2023.
Rubber is extracted from the latex in the bark of the rubber tree found mostly in Thailand and India. Because it can only be extracted from this type of tree, harmful practices such as using harsh chemicals and exploitation of soil is very common, and leads to an affected biodiversity and deforestation in the region. It also comes with a strong social impact, 85% of all rubber is currently harvested by only 6 million smallholder farmers who work at night under low wages and poor working conditions.
A regenerative rubber supply system would use the principles of agroforestry by creating an ecosystem that is intercropped with several different types of trees. This lowers the need to use artificial fertilizers and promotes healthier biodiversity, easier carbon sequestration, soil health and water cycling. Timberland and the TGI have also taken into consideration the human factor, and included a “train the farmer” and “train the trainer” program in order to make regenerative farming sustainable in a social and environmental way in the long run.