Timberland's Corporate Culture

Published: 2021-06-29 07:05:23
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Corporate social responsibility and environmental stewardship are integral parts of Timberland's corporate culture, organizational processes and overall brand identity. However, when revenues are down sustainable practices are typically not a top priority for stakeholders. Timberland profited by $22.5 million from $419 million in sales for 1993, and though revenues continued to grow in 1994, reaching $637.5 million, profits for the year was down to $17.7 million. Flat sales followed in the subsequent year, resulting in the company's first ever posting of earnings lost. Stakeholders were justly concerned as to why the decision to close to company plants and make substantial employee layoffs was taken over the option to cut down corporate citizenship initiative spending. At the time of attractive financials, stake and stockholder concern about social and environmental spending was low, however when there is notion that these activities are reducing profits severe scrutiny naturally follows.

However, CEO Jeff Swartz along with other leaders' vision for Timberland was to instill community service as an essential aspect of the organization's long-term strategy because they could foresee the vital business and social value created from the strategy for their brand. A vocal critic commented on Swartz's commitment to making community service an integral aspect of the organization:

"I think you're crazy about this community service stuff. I'd give it up. I don't know why you're doing it. But if you feel passionately, let me tell you how to think about it. It's like marketing. You don't really know what its value is. You have to have a conviction that it works and you have to stick with it. Time will tell whether you're right or wrong."

This individual actually had some great recommendations for Swartz's efforts. Viewing the social initiatives as a form of marketing activity, in addition to indirect benefits for the brand, rather than only a charitable act could be solution for Swartz's problem of justifying the company's deep dedication to its social justice programs and overall corporate social responsibility.

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