Timberland's Green Index Wins Green Award


We have a such an embarrassing long backlog of posts that many just get left behind. But here's one that popped its head up for a second attempt. Lloyd alluded to it earlier by referencing Joel Makower's take. Basically, Timberland earlier this year announced that they would be rolling out a Green Index label for their footwear line, along the lines of food nutrition labels. At this stage only 2 models of shoe are rated, though all footwear (and clothes) are scheduled to be labelled by 2009. The Greenscape sneaker [shown above right] scores 3.5, where 1 is 'ideal pupil' and 10 might infer 'disruptive student, needs to apply himself more.' The Green Index is a aggregate of Environmental and Community Impact, plus Manufacturing location. While the company liken their rankings to the Energy Star ratings, this has been treated with circumspection by various commentators, because that energy scheme helps compares models across many brands, whereas the Green Index only rates Timberland product. Although last month, when it won Backpacker Magazines' 2007 Editors' Choice Green Award, the company said, "Our hope is that other like-minded companies will join us in developing an industry-wide index for comparing the environmental impacts of our design choices and we also hope to inspire consumers to ask questions, and make informed decisions about their purchases." At this point the metrics used to formulate the Green Index may be more use in helping designers measure how green their design is, than it is for consumers to make purchasing decisions. (One such cited example is the same Greenscape sneaker above. This started out with a hemp upper, yet this was too limp needing a backing, but this increased the weight and subsequent CO2 emissions from shipping. So, in the end, an organically tanned, full grain leather become the upper.) The Greenscape includes recyecled PET laces, 30% recycled rubber outsole and is a stitched construction to reduce need for toxic adhesives. The women's Summer Park, on left, uses a hemp upper but is not yet Green Index rated. ::Timberland , via the International Herald Tribune.