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Timberland increases use of renewable materials in its shoes.

Renewable materials are defined by Timberland as plant-based materials which replace the use of fossil fuels in its products (e.g. castor bean oils used in outsole compounds, hemp and bamboo).

Outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland has increased the use of recycled, organic or renewable material it uses in its boots, shoes and sandals and has announced that it is working hard to meet its 2020 sustainability goals.

The company announced this in its recently published 2018 corporate responsibility report. It highlights the latest results towards its 2020 sustainability goals in support of three pillars – product, outdoors and community.

In 2018, a total of 69% of all Timberland (@Timberland) footwear shipped in 2018 contained major components (e.g., uppers, linings, and outsoles) with at least 10% recycled, organic or renewable (ROR) content, up slightly from 67% the previous year.

Renewable materials are defined by Timberland as plant-based materials which replace the use of fossil fuels in its products (e.g. castor bean oils used in outsole compounds, hemp and bamboo).

In a statement, Timberland said the company was “working hard to reach its goal of 100% by 2020” by requiring all new footwear styles to incorporate ROR materials.

Recycled PET continues to be the largest source of ROR materials in the brand’s footwear, incorporating more than 717,519 pounds – the equivalent of 32 million plastic water bottles. To date, Timberland said it had incorporated the equivalent of more than 345 million plastic bottles into its footwear. The brand also uses a significant amount of recycled rubber.

During 2017, the brand – owned by US apparel giant VF Corporation – changed its method of reporting the use of material containing ROR content. From 2011 to 2016, it included all materials, including those used in minor components such as webbings, trims and labels. To drive focus towards using ROR materials in more significant components of its footwear (e.g. uppers, linings and outsoles), the company said it was no longer including minor components in its reporting.

To further advance its 2020 goal, it has affected design policies that require ROR content in all new product development and it will be revisiting carry-over styles t o engineer in ROR where there “is none currently”.

Collen Vien, sustainability director for Timberland, told Bio Market Insights: “The majority of the ROR materials used in our footwear are recycled rubber in our outsoles, and recycled PET in our linings and uppers.  Most of our blends are at least 34% recycled content, with many of our textiles hitting 50%.

“The 10% threshold accounts for the instances where we are required to use renewable, bio-based materials – typically in the outsoles — because we cannot achieve certain aesthetic or physical properties via recycled rubber. This all being said, we continually seek innovative new solutions to increase the amount of recycled content in our products without sacrificing performance and/or aesthetic.”

Elsewhere, in 2018, 75% of all cotton used in Timberland apparel was either organic, US-origin, or Better Cotton Initiative certified. This is, however, down 6 % from 2017. Timberland said that this decrease was due to the addition of a new sock licensee, which is phasing into Timberland’s requirements.


If you were interested in reading about bio-based shoes, you may also be interested in reading the below….

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Read:Algae makes another splash for the bio-based industry with amphibious shoe.

Read: adidas committed to “redefining the sports industry” with biodegradable trainers.

Read: Allbirds put their best foot forward with new sugar-based EVA resin from Braskem.

Read: The first ‘Cotton + Corn’ shoe from Reebok’s sustainable range hits the shops.

Read: Nettle fibre producer and lab-made leather maker pick up top award for helping to make fashion sustainable.

NEW!: And available to download issue #14 of the Bio Market Insights Quarterly

Visit: SynBio Markets (Berlin, 18-19 November 2019) 

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