Sustainability is no longer a marginal issue for specialist retailers, it is now truly mainstream. As consumers become more aware of the environmental and ethical costs of our modern global economy, so they demand ever greater transparency from every level of the supply chain.

Af Matthew Brown

This extends from product manufacturing and packaging, to store design and brand ethics. Clever brands understand that there is almost no limit to the stories that you can tell and the experiences you can weave to reassure and inspire customers. Sustainability has also become a two way street, with customers wanting to get more deeply involved, either through educational and community initiatives, or by participating in the upcycling economy through recycling, renting and reselling.

Timberland has opened a ‘purpose led’ flagship store that highlights the brand’s sustainability credentials. The opening came shortly after the brand launched its largest ever global campaign to plant 50 million trees around the world by 2025.

For a number of years, the retailer has shared its brand values in its stores; through the sustainable, eco and recycled materials used in their build, as well as through their eco-collections and their Serv-a-palooza volunteering, but this is the first time that their store design concept has been led so overtly by a campaign. It is also the first time that a single campaign has been coordinated, through-the-line, so cohesively by the brand. For retail, this means that they have dedicated a significant proportion of the space to educating consumers about their sustainable actions and production methods.

Designed by Dalziel and Pow, the 2,594 ft² store has a more urban materiality than historic concepts. This is layered with living walls and green detailing, reflecting the campaign to bring nature into the city.

The store is rich with information and facts, immersing visitors in the brand’s creative vision, which ‘sits at the intersect of nature and fashion’ by mixing their sustainable values with selling their clothing and footwear collections.

Co-creation and personalisation also create a draw with a DYO (Design Your Own Station) at the front of the store. Once again Timberland seems to be using London as a test bed for new retail concepts, and they have now opened ‘purpose led’ concepts in Philadelphia and New York.



The ‘purpose led’ concept focuses customer attention on Timberland’s ‘Nature Needs Heroes’ campaign. The front of store space is also used to host workshops to educate customers on how to live a more sustainable life, with a focus on how to do this in the city.

Timberland’s information tables show how engaging and impactful analogue storytelling can be.



At the front of the store, the brand shares details of Construct:10061, a project which sees a new team of Timberland’s designers, makers, innovators and craftspeople, getting together every six months, to unthink and rethink the boot-making process in relation to aesthetic, function and sustainability.



For customers, this space is used to bring experience to the fore with DYO, Timberland’s Design Your Own customisation station.

Cardboard POS has been swapped out for digital screens, allowing high quality and dynamic imagery to be used in many areas of the store.



The imaginative detailing in the floor and the fixtures also draws the customers eye to an unexpected and usually unexplored area of the store, subtly, yet implicitly bringing their attention back to their eco values and with the logo affirming who’s store they are visiting.

Storytelling cameo CSR pillars throughout the store empower the sustainability message, educating customers on the recycled materials and responsible technologies used in the production of Timberland merchandise.



The store raises awareness about some of Timberland’s charitable initiatives, including ‘My Playgreen’, which provides grants for projects that focus on recovering or adding value to city parks, community gardens, small farms, vegetable gardens and green spaces, which are within easy reach of people who live in cities.



The week its London store opened its doors, Timberland teamed up with MTV London, eco organisation National Park City and musician Loyle Carner to host the launch screening of an environmental documentary called ‘Concrete Green’.