Timberland is emerging as a leading model of a socially responsible company as it demonstrates what it is doing to help provide a better quality of life for the children whose parents work in its factories. One of the impacts of supply chains like Timberland’s is that children are separated from their parents for long stretches of time and distance. Besides the emotional impact of living away from their parents, these children often lack supervision and family support needed to give them the best possible upbringing and home life.
For example, in China, a minimum of 50 million children are left behind as their parents leave rural areas to work in factories. So, to make positive change, Timberland partners with organizations such as the All-China Women’s Federation to provide companionship and education programs for the factory workers’ children. In fact, Timberland employees now spend their own vacation time organizing summer camps for the ‘left behind children’; the first camp was held in 2009 by this socially responsible company. It was so successful that it is now an annual event.
Timberland’s programs that are focused on workers and their children are found in other parts of the developing world where Timberland factories have a presence. In India, one factory in the south of the country has a day care center for the children of its workers. The parents appreciate the benefit of leaving their children in a safe environment while they work their shift at the factory, plus enjoy the opportunity to visit their children when on break.
The communities where some of Timberland’s factories are located lack basic amenities such as safe and clean water. So, apart from building schools and providing day care centers, this socially responsible company is also making clean drinking water available. One of the water projects that Timberland has funded is near a factory in Ambur, India in a community where residents have long suffered from waterborne illnesses. Now a water tower guarantees that the local community stays healthy.
Timberland’s socially responsible company actions are a great example of how a multinational can look after their workers by doing more for their children, who can grow and thrive. From providing child care to clean waters, companies can make a real difference to the local communities in the developing world. Timberland states, “Ensuring that the thousands of people worldwide who make our products have fair and safe workplaces is part of our commitment to running a responsible business. We believe it makes for a better workforce and better business—besides the fact it’s simply the right thing to do.”