A lot can be accomplished in one million hours: 40.3 million e-mails can be read; three million flat tires can be changed; Pharrell’s song “Happy” can be listened to 15 million times. Timberland did something a little more proactive: Yesterday, the Stratham, NH-based company celebrated its one millionth volunteer hour served since launching its Path of Service program in 1992. As part of this program, which was conceived to infuse volunteerism into Timberland’s DNA and culture, each employee is given up to 40 paid hours per year to dedicate to service, during which they create positive and sustainable impacts in their communities.
“As an outdoor brand–our logo is a tree, after all–protecting the environment is very important to Timberland,” says Atlanta McIlwraith, senior manager of community engagement for the brand. What does one million community service hours look like? Timberland volunteers have initiated nearly 4,000 service projects in 32 countries since 2010, when project-specific metrics started being tracked. The company has planted more than five million trees worldwide since the year 2000; framed and delivered 14 Habitat for Humanity houses for communities ravaged by natural disasters; and built six water towers in India, Vietnam and the Dominican Republic, providing much-needed clean drinking water to thousands of local works and community members.
“Timberland’s commitment to volunteerism has been a huge inspiration to me personally since joining the brand in 2011,” says Patrik Frisk, coalition president, Outdoor Americans, VF Corporation and president of Timberland. “Timberland’s rich history of sustainability is evident in so many things the brand does, from eco-conscious product innovation to sustainable sourcing. But there’s something very powerful about the positive impacts that come about–for employees as well as the community–from hands-on service. One million hours is a milestone to be proud of. It is my hope that this vigorous celebration will inspire companies and individuals around the globe to take action in their own communities.”