Timberland to plant five million trees

Outdoor shoe specialist Timberland has stepped up its green endeavours with a bold pledge to plant five million trees in five years.

The company – which has planted more than one million trees over the last decade as part of its global reforestation efforts – claims its latest ambition will help ‘alleviate hunger, create jobs, protect wildlife and preserve the environment’.

Timberland chief executive, Jeff Swartz, does, however, acknowledge that it is not as simple as just planting a tree.

“You can’t just throw a sapling in the ground and expect the world to change,” said Swartz, announcing his company’s plans last Thursday (7 October). “But done thoughtfully and strategically,” he said.

“Planting trees really can lead to meaningful long-term solutions to a whole host of environmental, social and economic problems.”

The ‘Five in Five’ trees will be planted in Haiti and in China’s Horqin Desert – two regions where the company has been actively working with NGOs and non-profit groups since 2001 to promote sustainable forestry.

In fact, the company has committed to plant up to one million additional trees in Haiti, above and beyond the ‘Five in Five’ pledge, through an accompanying online scheme.

Consumers can sign-up to Timberland’s new Facebook application – ‘Timberland Earthkeepers Virtual Forest’ – and start growing their own virtual forest: the larger the virtual forest, the more real trees planted.

Virtual foresters can name their forest, add messages to Facebook friends’ trees, and see how they rank against other users.

The application also features videos that introduce the farmers participating in Timberland’s existing Haiti project and provides in-depth information about the company’s reforestation efforts.

“Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in the world would plant a tree – the right kind of tree, in the right place, where it would be cared for and cultivated and serve its best purpose for the environment and its people?” added Swartz. “Sure, but that’s not realistic.

“By launching the virtual forest, we’re trying to give people another way to engage, a way that’s informative and hopefully fun and ladders up to a focused, meaningful real-world programme.”

The real-world tree planting component of the virtual forest programme is capped at one million trees or the end date of 31 October 2011, whichever comes first.

To start growing your own virtual forest click here click here.

Sam Plester

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