People in shoe land are taking the concept of ‘carbon footprint’ a little more literally as the race to produce the most planet-friendly shoe heats up! (Just like the planet, ironically.)
Who’s out in front? Allbirds hit a home run recently with the launch of the world’s first net-zero carbon shoe. Called the M0.0NSHOT, it was officially unveiled for the first time on June 27 2023.
The landmark net 0.0 kg CO₂e carbon footprint—versus a standard sneaker, which is about 14 kg CO2e based on Allbird’s own calculations—will be achieved without relying on a single carbon offset. Order now because they aren’t available till 2024.
Along with the design of their fab new show, those clever Allbirds trailblazers also revealed the RECIPE B0.0K – an open-sourced toolkit of how they got to net zero – to the industry at large (ie their competitors and anyone else who fancies a crack at making a shoe).
That’s right, Allbirds are open-sourcing their toolkit. This is a big deal. It is also completely in line with #BCorp thinking on collaboration and cooperation in business to make the world a better place – as opposed to the kill-or-be-killed competition mentality that is driving us to the brink of extinction.
As co-founder Tim Brown wrote on a Linkedin Post for the launch:
“In between my feelings of pride, excitement, and optimism, the simple fact remains that one company is not enough. One shoe is not enough. We need others to join us.
“That’s exactly why we have released our entire Allbirds M0.0NSHOT toolkit. The materials, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, calculations, partners – it’s all there on our website, free of cost, ready to be used.
“Please take this toolkit. Use it. Share it. Reinterpret it. Or reach out to partner with us on another M0.0NSHOT – I would love to hear from you. Because while we’re proud of what the shoe represents, the real marker of success will be the progress we make together.”
Give that man a gold star. He’s walking his talk. In his M0.0NSHOT shoes.
But wait, there’s more. Allbirds are not the only players in this game. They’ve just set the bar pretty high.
Brooks is also in the, um, running with their Ghost 15, which has 9.2 kg CO2eq – a not-that-impressive 6% reduction on the Ghost 14 but it is still about 5kg CO2eq less than the carbon footprint of an average pair of sneakers at 14kg CO2eq.
What are the mega players doing? Yeah, not so much. Nike is making a fair bit of noise about its sustainability efforts and is using at least 20% sustainable materials in some products. As well its experimenting with a recycling initiative called Nike Refurbished, where people can bring in their old shoes for a clean and repair, they also talk about circular design. They’ve also got a hydrogen-fuelled container ship… but with an annual revenue of about $46 billion, this is a company that could do A LOT to completely change the game. So, you know, come on then.
Adidas seem to be doing even less. They get as far as saying on their website that they ‘commit to using as many recycled materials as possible’ but who knows what that actually means. To be grudgingly fair, the Adidas Group have set some public goals including being climate neutral by 2050 and a 15% reduction per product in GHG emissions by 2025 (measured against 2017). However, it’s all a little lacking in detail and is kind of underwhelming and disappointing.
There are other small but beautiful players in this market. Kiwi B Corp brand Orba is making shoes that are all natural and all biodegradable. They say that you can can bury your Orba shoes at the end of their life and they’ll decompose back to nature, from whence they came. Along with Orba and Allbirds, there are another 120 shoe companies in the world who are using business as a force for good. You can find them here:
What does this mean for you? Someone who probably wears shoes? Why not let your feet do the talking by cladding them in the products of businesses who are authentic and transparent regarding their environmental and social impact.
Yours in purpose,
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