Timberland will source leather from “regeneratively-grazed cows” in the US as part of efforts to create a sustainable supply chain.
The footwear brand is partnering with Other Half Processing, a firm that supports the expansion of regenerative value chains, to source from farmers and ranchers who employ a method for grazing which mimics the natural movement of cattle.
Regenerative grazing practices allow for more rest and re-growth time for grass leading to better food for livestock and healthier soil. The method can also make land more resistant to weather conditions such as drought and heavy rain.
Benefits include reduced carbon emissions, enhanced biodiversity, improved water cycling as well as providing farmers with better livelihoods. However, despite the environmental and societal benefits, this type of production remains undervalued in the market and underrepresented on the land, Timberland said.
The brand, which sources most of its hides from the US, will use leather from regeneratively-grazed cattle for footwear and accessories which will be on sale in late 2020.
Colleen Vien, director of sustainability at Timberland, said: “We are committed not only to minimise the negative impacts of leather production but to drive environmental benefits through our sourcing approach and ultimately develop a net positive fashion supply chain.
“We are proud that our consumers will be able to buy products where the leather has been sourced in this way, and hope to inspire others in the industry to move in this direction as well.”
Jim Kleinschmit, CEO of Other Half Processing, said, “As a major global footwear brand, Timberland’s commitment sends a strong message to the wider fashion industry as well as to regenerative farmers and ranchers. It’s time people across the industry get serious about addressing the impact of leather production, which includes where the hides come from and how the cattle are raised.
“We look forward to partnering with Timberland and other companies to grow leather supply chains from regenerative systems, to the benefit of the producers, animals and the environment.”
Last month, Timberland and another footwear brand Vans temporarily banned orders on Brazilian leather over concerns about the environmental impact of cattle rearing in the Amazon.
VF Corporation, the parent company of Timberland and Vans, said the amount of leather it procures from Brazil is minimal, but it can no longer ensure that this leather complies with its responsible sourcing requirements.
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