New Zealand-American sustainable shoe brand Allbirds which built its reputation on the use of natural materials such as Merino wool and ‘tree fiber’ TENCEL™ Lyocell, has begun providing the carbon footprint details for every shoe in its collection. This initiative comes on the back of the brand transitioning to carbon neutrality last year with the introduction of its Carbon Fund (the company’s self-imposed carbon tax which sees it paying roughly $10 a ton) which funds verified emissions reduction projects such as wind and solar energy.
“This year we want to do even more,” Allbirds declared on Instagram, “which is why we’re calculating the carbon footprint of each of our products and sharing these numbers publicly.”
Partnering with Los Angeles-based sustainability consultancy firm Clean Agency, the B-Corp certified business has begun calculating the carbon footprint of each of its products using a life cycle assessment (LCA) tool, taking into account supply chain inputs and processes such as materials, energy used in manufacturing and facilities, use (such as washing machine use) and end of life. Transportation is reported separately due to variability of customers, the brand explains.
The information will be publicly released on the brand’s website, denoted by a number which represents the kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
“From now on, everything that we make will include a number which represents the CO2 emitted to create it– 7.6 kg CO2e is our average for our footwear.”
For context, the standard sneaker emits 12.5 kg CO2e, a pair of jeans emits 29.6 kg CO2e and a a bike emits 240.4 kg CO2e. Currently, the Allbirds shoe style emitting the least is its Tree Breezers ballet-slipper which emits just 5.3 kg CO2e, while its Wool Runner-Up Mizzle high-tops emit 10.5 kg CO2e. In comparison, its range of Trino Quarters socks emits 1.9 kg CO2e.
Allbirds’ co-CEO Joey Zwillinger said: “There’s strength in numbers and we hope that if other brands start labelling their products, carbon footprint labels will be as widespread as nutritional stickers on food packaging.”
The sustainable shoe company has plans to place a sticker under the insole of each shoe that shows the product’s carbon footprint and is currently working on a recycling program to help customers deal with worn out shoes.
To learn more about Allbirds Carbon Footprint methodology, visit www.allbirds.com/pages/sustainability.
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All images by Allbirds.