Timberland & VF Corporation: New heights or swift decline?

15 06 2011

This week, VF Corporation (the mega holding company for apparel and active lifestyle brands such as Northface, Wrangler, Lee, EastPak) purchased the venerable Timberland brand of sporting footwear for $2 billion.

Of course, Timberland put this positive spin on the news.  Timberland Chief Jeff Swartz said in a statement:   “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 is known for its ability to acquire and grow authentic outdoor brands, while protecting a brand’s unique culture and DNA.”

The jury will be out but many eyes will be watching as the sustainable darling Timberland (ranked number 2 out of 150 companies for sustainability performance by the nonprofit group Climate Counts) will be inspiring to VF. or in the pursuit of stated 10% annual revenue growth – Timberland starts a rocky slide down from sustainability heights of greatness.

According to CSRHUB.com, VF Corporations current performance on sustainability and overall corporate social responsibility measures is hardly a pace-setter.

VF’s overall CSR ranking is 44 – below the averages for other apparel companies, the average U.S. company and all companies ranked.  Its performance on the environment was 20% below the average for U.S. companies.

Contrary to VF’s rather uninspiring CSR performance, CSRHUB.com gives Timberland an overall ranking of 63 – and a sterling 65 on environment performance measures (vs. 48 for the average U.S. Company).

Timberland’s track record of integrating socially responsible practices and community outreach into their brand marketing efforts make them a poster child for positive sustainable branding.  We worry VF’s leadership won’t cherish the vision and values that has made Timberland special and uniquely sustainable.  Stay tuned.

CSRHUB.com is a great resource for evaluating CSR performance of companies – go here.


More screenings of Ana’s Playground ahead at Festivals around the country.

31 12 2009

Ana’s Playground, the breathtaking allegory short film about children at the hands of armed conflict, may be coming to a film festival near you in early 2010.  I encourage everyone who has a chance to take in this riveting drama which is well on its way to receiving a best short film nomination at the Academy Awards.

It’s a perfect way to kick off the New Year with the resolution to learn more and get involved in helping children in war torn countries and the countless number of kids that can benefit from organizations like Right to Play, the principal non-profit organization benefiting from funds raised by Ana’s Playground.

You can see Ana’s Playground at the following film festivals.  Follow the links to each individual film festival for screening times and locations.

Santa Barbara International FIlm Fest – Feb. 4 – 14th (Academy Sanctioned)

Boulder International Film Fest –  Feb. 11th – 14th

Sedona International Film Festival –  Feb. 21st – Feb 28th

Cinequest (San Jose) Feb. 23rd – Mar. 7th (Academy Sanctioned)

Tiburon Film Fest – Mar. 18th –  Mar. 26th

In addition to these Film Festivals, Ana’s Playground will have a special screening at Right To Play’s event for sponsors and supporters at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Here’s a recent spot from Mastercard Canada raising awareness about Right to Play.

And for friends in the Twin Cities, Ana’s Playground has been selected as the exclusive film to be screened at Augsburg College during the annual Nobel Peace Prize forum on Friday, March 5 on campus.  The screening will follow a keynote address by 2008 Nobel Peace Prize winner Martti Ahtisaari.

Details on the Nobel Peace Prize Forum

Some of the recognition Ana’s Playground has earned around the world includes:

WINNER Best Int’l Short Film – Foyle Film Festival (Oscar Qualifying)
WINNERBest Screenplay – Los Angeles Int’l Short Film Festival
WINNERBest Short Film – Norwich Int’l Film Festival
WINNERBest of the Fest – Norwich Int’l Film Festival
WINNERBest Dramatic Short Film – New Hampshire Film Festival
WINNERBest Short FIlm – Cenflo Film Festival

Ana’s Playground a winner at Norwich Film Festival

24 09 2009


Ana’s Playground received awards for The Best Short Film and Best of The Fest this week at the Norwich Film Festival in the United Kingdom.

In its advance pre-screening at the debut Norwich Film Festival, Ana’s Playground not only won Best Short Film, but Best of The Fest – beating out all the feature films that were screened as well as more than 90 films entered in the competition.

Learn more about the Norwich Film Festival

The world premiere of Ana’s Playground is Friday, September 25 at the Calgary Film Festival.  Information on the Calgary Film Festival is available at their website.

Calgary International Film Festival

Written and directed by Minneapolis film maker Eric Howell, Ana’s Playground is a Oscar worthy story of children subjected to armed conflict.  The mission of the film is to raise awareness of children in conflict and raise funds for Right to Play, an international humanitarian organization that uses sport and play programs to improve health, develop life skills, and foster peace for children and communities in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world.