Smallholder farmers near Gonaives, Haiti recently planted the first commercial cotton crop in the country since 1987, with support from Timberland and other brands. The farmers planted a demonstration farm which will train other smallholder farmers to cultivate cotton. As a key supporter of the effort, Timberland provided participating farmers with shirts as a symbol of the future market for the cotton they planted.
Timberland shared the history of the its efforts to reintroduce cotton farming to Haiti at this year’s Engage for Good conference in Chicago. Atlanta McIlwraith, senior manager community engagement and communication, relayed the global outdoor lifestyle brand’s work to date in Haiti and shared key lessons learned over the years. The brand’s partnership with the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) began with a five-year commitment to plant five million trees in H
Gildan is excited to be featured on the Science Channel’s new program, Tomorrow’s World Today, in an episode airing at 8:30am E.T. on Sunday May 6th. The show hosted by Tamara Krinsky, Emmy award-winning actress, writer and broadcast host and George Davison, co-creator of the show, is a cutting-edge television series exploring innovations in technology and sustainability. The program travels the world in search of innovative pioneers who are creating new ways to utilize technological advancements towards a more sustainable future.
By Paula Luu, MBA/MS Candidate 2019 Erb Institute | Business for Sustainability
Paula Luu is currently enrolled at the University of Michigan and pursuing a dual-degree MBA/MS between the Ross School of Business and the School for Sustainability and Environment. Paula is interested in developing and improving organization-wide processes along the supply chain.
I recently had the pleasure to attend Ethical Corporation’s 6th Annual Responsible Business Summit in New York City. The event, touted as the premier brand-focused forum on responsible business in the U.S., brought in 90+ speakers over two days with rich dialogue focused on driving transformational change for society and industry.
Can using blockchain to verify cotton as organic help revive the industry in Haiti?
By Ben Schiller
Haiti hasn’t grown cotton in decades. Its once-abundant industry collapsed in the 1970s due to government corruption, economic mismanagement, and U.S. embargoes. But now, thanks to a project involving thousands of smallholder farmers, apparel brands like Timberland, and a blockchain network, it could be set for a comeback. Within a few years, if all goes to plan, the island will be supplying millions of pounds of organic cotton for shoes, shirts, and other clothing sold in U.S. stores.
Last week, smallholder farmers convened in a field on the outskirts of Gonaives, Haiti to harvest cotton for the first time in 30 years. Once Haiti’s fourth largest export crop, cotton growing stopped in the 1980s due to policies and politics of the time.
by Atlanta McIlwraith, senior manager of community engagement, Timberland
I hadn’t been to Haiti since June 2010, six months after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that decimated much of the island. At that time, there were still many ruins of collapsed buildings, piles of rubble along the roadsides, and thousands of people living in makeshift tent camps. This August, I returned to Haiti and saw a very different country. While the earthquake left an indelible mark, I saw a Port-Au-Prince that was back on its feet, vacant fields that had once hosted tented communities, and tree nurseries that had brought resources to smallholder farmer communities.
By: Zack Angelini, Manager of Environmental Stewardship, Timberland
At Timberland, we strive to be Earthkeepers in everything we do. We work hard to make our products responsibly, to protect the outdoors, and to serve the communities around the globe where we live, work and explore. My role focuses on responsible product.
As one of the leading footwear and apparel brands in the world, we recognize that the majority of our environmental impact lies within the products we make and the materials we choose. But within these materials also lies our greatest opportunity to make a difference.
Cotton represents nearly half the fiber used to make clothes and other textiles worldwide. But the economically valuable fiber is also a water-hungry crop to produce. It can take between two to five thousand gallons of water to produce two pounds of cotton—about equal to a tee shirt and a pair of jeans. And then there is the heavy use of chemicals to protect the vulnerable plant from insects, weeds, and disease. How could this widely grown and useful fiber be grown more sustainably?