Case | HBS Case Collection | July 2004 (Revised December 2004)

Timberland: Commerce and Justice

by James E. Austin, Herman B. Leonard and James Quinn


When Jeffrey Swartz became the third generation in his family to lead the Timberland Co., he pursued a strategy in which commerce and justice were "inextricably linked." Community involvement, environmental management, and global labor standards became not addenda to the commercial strategy, but integral parts of it. Spanning more than 10 years of Swartz's innovative leadership, this case presents a well-developed, value-centric business in which management faces two emerging challenges: how to measure the impact of its social justice activities and how to export its values-based strategy abroad. Focuses on strategic management of a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. The development of Timberland's innovative commerce and justice strategy sheds light on ways in which strategic alignment can provide energy, synergy, and resources critical to developing a successful CSR program within a for-profit company.

Keywords: Business Model; For-Profit Firms; Innovation and Invention; Leadership Development; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Programs; Opportunities; Alignment; Business Strategy; Value;


Austin, James E., Herman B. Leonard, and James Quinn. "Timberland: Commerce and Justice." Harvard Business School Case 305-002, July 2004. (Revised December 2004.)