The beloved sneaker startup and Bcorp, Allbirds announced today that it’s going 100% carbon neutral to do its part to combat the massive effects of climate change.
Globally, the footwear industry emits 700 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.
Even though Allbirds is only contributing a tiny fraction to that number today, the company believes one tonne is still too many. With that said the company is going carbon neutral for their entire supply chain.
What does going carbon neutral mean?
For Allbirds, it means, starting this year, for every tonne of carbon the company emits as a business, from the sheep on their farms to the lightbulbs in their headquarters, they’ll pay to take a tonne of carbon out of the atmosphere. Allbirds looks at it as giving the planet an IOU, then immediately paying it back.
At first, they will accomplish this by purchasing credits from third-party verified emissions reduction projects, commonly known as “carbon offsets.” These projects do things like protect trees that capture and store carbon, build wind energy, and prevent harmful greenhouse gasses from entering our atmosphere.
The majority of Allbirds carbon footprint comes in the raw materials used to create its sneakers. The plan is to continue sourcing low carbon materials—like the Tencel® Lyocell used in their Tree shoes. The company also plans to maximize ocean shipping rather than air shipping, increase energy efficiency, and purchase renewable energy.
These things will all help to shrink the companies environmental impact, but to create long term mass sustainability and achieving a zero carbon footprint, the company is investing and researching technologies and solutions that don’t exist yet.
For example, it used to take 1.8 tonnes of CO2 to produce a tonne of the EVA in Allbirds shoe soles, but with a little creativity and help from our friends at Braskem, the green EVA used in the companies SweetFoam™ material actually removes 2.5 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of material. The industry needs more of that thinking, and Allbirds is committed to getting there.
The company also released their limited edition Earth Day sneakers. They partnered with the National Audubon Society on a Limited Edition Collection to support several climate endangered birds. All of the proceeds from these shoes will be donated to the National Audubon Society.
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