Timberland’s Global Stewards Scale CSR around the World

Thirty passionate and dedicated Timberland employees from 19 countries make up Timberland’s green-shirted team of Global Stewards. The Stewards volunteer above and beyond their regular job responsibilities to drive community service, forward Timberland’s environmental agenda, and create business value in their locations. Each year, the Stewards convene for a week o​​f training that not only equips them to succeed as Stewards, but also in their professional roles. This spring marked the 11th annual training meeting for the team and, rather than have one global gathering as in past years, the Stewards met as regional teams. The US/DR Stewards met in Stratham, the European Stewards met in Stabio, and the Asia Stewards met in Hong Kong and Zhuhai.

At each meeting the Stewards shared best practices and lessons learned. They reviewed the past year’s CSR performance and made a plan for the year, created unified approaches to address regional opportunities and challenges, and received professional development training around their core strengths, action planning, and business communication. In addition to the workshop sessions, the Stewards were able to serve together and have some time to explore and enjoy where they were.

The Global Stewards program launched in 2006 to increase the reach and impact of Timberland’s CSR efforts around the world. The program continues to be of interest to many companies who face a similar challenge. In June, Atlanta McIlwraith, Senior Manager of Community Engagement and Communication for Timberland, spoke on a panel entitled “More and Better: Scaling Employee Volunteering” at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, convened by Points of Light in Detroit. The panel featured Alicia Koch, Program Manager of Employee & Community Engagement for Groupon, and Heidi Kramer, Senior Manager of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs for IBM. Panelists spoke to a capacity crowd of business track attendees who had questions and positive comments about Timberland’s Global Stewards Program.

“I was inspired to see how the topic of the Global Stewards continues to spark conversation and ideas a decade after the program’s launch,” said Atlanta McIlwraith. “The Stewards address a common challenge among global companies of how to increase the scale and impact of their CSR efforts around the world. This win-win program delivers great value to Timberland as well as the Stewards themselves. Timberland gains locally relevant tactics to support global strategies while the Stewards benefit from leadership training, increased recognition from senior leaders throughout the organization, and of course the great uniforms (which they designed themselves) and gifts they receive to reward their efforts."

Many great ideas have emerged from bringing the Stewards together over the years. One prime example is Timberland’s 40’s Club recognition program for employees who use all of their available service hours in a year. The 40’s Club originally launched in our Danville Distribution Center. The Global Steward from Danville shared the program with his fellow Stewards in 2008 and they all moved that we make the program global. Since 2009, employees worldwide who serve all of their hours have earned their entry into the prestigious global 40’s Club.

​“Year after year, the Stewards bring new ideas and ways of thinking to the table that help us increase our global impact,” said McIlwraith.  “I can’t wait to see what they think of next!"