Image: IvanWalsh.com via flickr
Timberland, known here at TreeHugger for greening the outdoor clothing industry and for using its corporate weight to press for action on climate change, now has an uncertain future when it comes to keeping up those green business practices. VF Corp., parent company of North Face, Vans, Wrangler and JanSport and the world's largest apparel maker, has agreed to buy Timberland for approximately $1.8 billion. Bloomberg reports:
The acquisition, the biggest in VF's 112-year history, will push its sales of outdoor and sports gear to more than half the total, which reached $7.7 billion last year. The maker of Wrangler jeans plans to cut costs at Timberland and boost the brand's revenue by 10 percent annually by expanding in Europe and China, executives said.
Will the Company's Future Be As Green As Its Past?
According to SustainableBusiness.com, "This year [Timberland] ranked second out of 150 companies evaluated by the nonprofit group Climate Counts." And it was the first company to both come out with a line of recyclable footwear, and to print the carbon footprint of its shoes directly on the box.
But there's little talk of specifically how or whether VF will continue Timberland's legacy of incorporating sustainability into its business.
Timberland CEO Jeffrey Swartz appears optimistic. He said, "Timberland is proud of its rich heritage, its track record of success and its reputation as a responsible and environmentally-conscious global citizen, all of which will be preserved and enhanced by becoming part of the VF family of brands."
VF, however, has made no such promises, but Swartz seems to believe that VF recognizes the increasing value that customers place on brands that have green practices built in.
Guess we'll all see in a few months.
More about Timberland and sustainability:
Sustainable Apparel Coalition Plans Industry-Wide Eco-Index
Hit the Trails Running in Timberland's Green Running Shoes
Timberland Earthkeepers Go Bionic for Recycled Polyester and Organic Cotton