Thursday, November 4, 2010

Timberland's "Moral Capitalism"

The UK newspaper Guardian recently ran an opinion piece by Jeffrey Swartz, CEO of Timberland, which is known for its tree-hugging environmentalism as much as for its rugged outdoor apparel and accessories. I was particularly struck by this passage in the piece:
I am an advocate for moral capitalism, for responsible consumerism. Moral capitalism embraces the dialectic of increasing profits and decreasing environmental destruction. Responsible consumerism requires that the CEO re-imagine the goods and services we offer, and the means by which we design and manufacture and deliver those goods and services.
Timberland has been doing this in all kinds of ways, large and small. But being green doesn't mean ignoring customer needs and failing to deliver benefits other than environmental protection. The CEO recognizes that the business side must be totally integrated with social responsibility for Timberland's objectives to be met and for the firm to be successful.

That's why the firm's marketing reflects its dual passions of social responsibility and quality for consumers. The Earthkeepers line of shoes, for example, is partly made from recycled materials and is specifically designed to be taken apart for recycling or reuse after the products have been discarded or are no longer wanted by the consumer. What's next for Timberland?

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