Timberland has released new footwear made from Community Cotton grown in Haiti, following the company's collaboration with the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) to re-introduce cotton farming in the region. In 2016, the company set out to build a new supply chain for sustainable cotton while also advancing Haitian reforestation.
Timberland's Spring 2021 collection includes items made from Community Cotton fiber. TrueCloud EK+ Sneakers for men, Atlanta Green EK+ Sneakers for women, and Caswell EK+ Bags are among the styles available. According to Timberland, the EK+ nomenclature suggests that these are Earthkeepers Edition models, which reflect the company's eco-innovations.
Director of global community engagement and activation for Timberland, Atlanta McIlwraith, said Timberland set out five years ago with the aim of reintroducing cotton cultivation to Haiti after a 30-year absence. They are ecstatic to have found a new supply of sustainably grown cotton today. The agroforestry model plants trees raise farm production and improve farmers' incomes and lives, so they branded it as Community Cotton.
Timberland first teamed up with SFA in 2010 to grow five million trees in Haiti over the course of five years. The SFA developed its Tree Currency agroforestry model to encourage smallholder farmers to cultivate, transplant, and care for trees in order to fulfill the commitment.
SFA had not only planted five million trees by the end of five years, but they had also provided substantial benefits to the farmers. The 6,000 SFA farmers who participated in the program saw a 40% rise in crop yields and a 50-100% increase in revenue.
As a result of these findings, Timberland agreed to explore cotton as a commodity that farmers could cultivate and the brand could use in its products, transitioning from a sponsor to a consumer of the Haitian smallholder farming community.
To widen the opportunity and ensure diversification for producers, the current cotton supply chain is open to other brands and businesses, not just Timberland. Timberland also announced that by 2025, it would have planted 50 million trees around the world. As part of this campaign, the SFA will plant 25 million of the pledged trees in Haiti.
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