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Harvard Business Review on Greening Your Business Profitably by Harvard Business Review

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Timberland’s CEO on Standing Up to 65,000 Angry Activists

by Jeff Swartz

YOU CAN TELL A LOT about how your day is going to unfold by the number of e-mails that are waiting for you. I’m a pretty early riser—4 AM most days—so I typically start out ahead of the game when it comes to e-mails. But on June 1, 2009, they kept coming, and coming, and coming.

The first one accused Timberland of supporting slave labor, destroying Amazon rain forests, and exacerbating global warming—all in the first sentence. The second was a repeat of the first, as was the next, and the next. I had a funny feeling it was going to be a long day.

The fan mail was from Greenpeace supporters reacting to a newly released Greenpeace report about deforestation in the Amazon. ...

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