Farming and footwear may hail from different backgrounds, but their ties to leather, as well as environmental impact, are the commonalities that bring the two industries together.
Matt Maier, founder and owner of Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed, a farm located in Clearwater, Minn., one of the 13 North American Savory Institute Hubs that are leaders in regenerative grazing practices, had the honor of presenting Timberland with FN’s first-ever Sustainability Leadership Award tonight during the virtual FNAAs.
“Timberland made a bold and courageous move when they decided to source hides from farms that have implemented regenerative agriculture practices,” said Maier, who raises grass-fed beef using alternative farming practices.
The VF Corp.-owned brand unveiled its new sustainability strategy in September, which included partnerships with regenerative farms, such as Maier’s Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed ranch. The 2020 Sustainability Leadership Award recipient is working to build a regenerative leather supply chain throughout the U.S., as well as in Australia and Brazil.
In May, Timberland entered a partnership with the Savory Institute to fund research into regenerative farming practices. The company also plans to work with regenerative farmers to pilot new regenerative rubber, cotton, wool and sugarcane supply chains.
“Regenerative agriculture has the potential to solve many of today’s biggest issues,” added Maier, on the practice that helps re-establish grasslands, regenerate soil and improve watershed in agriculture practices.
“We are equally proud of our partnership,” said Timberland sustainability director Colleen Vien while accepting the award from Maier.
Meanwhile, Timberland also plans to design its shoes and apparel to be recyclable. The company has pledged that its products will have a “net positive impact” on nature by 2030.
“At Timberland, we truly believe that a greener future is a better future, but these words only matter if you put resources and actions behind them,” said Tracy Smith, VP and GM at Timberland during the virtual FNAA show. “Corporate social responsibility has never been a silo for Timberland. It’s embedded in the business we do every day.”
For 34 years, the annual FN Achievement Awards — often called the “Shoe Oscars” — have celebrated the style stars, best brand stories, ardent philanthropists, emerging talents and industry veterans. The first virtual FNAAs are presented in partnership with The Style Room Powered by Zappos, and sponsors FDRA, Deckers Brands, Soles4Souls and Foot Locker.