Two weeks ago, US-based sustainable shoe brand Allbirds partnered with environmental consultancy Clean Agency to calculate the carbon footprint of every sneaker style in the brand’s collection. The calculation, which includes the environmental impact of production, use and end of life but excludes transport emissions, is displayed on the brand’s website alongside information about how it measured up to other industry practices. According to Allbirds, they are the first fashion brand to label its products with those numbers; co-founder Joey Zwillinger compares the initiative to including calories on a food label.
Sustainability is embedded into Allbirds’ DNA. With COVID-19 dominating, it would’ve been easy to ease up on sustainability commitments. But instead, the brand is doubling down on its eco-credentials, betting that after the pandemic people will have a renewed interest in less wasteful consumerism. In fact, likely due to the overall decrease in shopping, 41% of Americans say they’re using single-use plastics less than usual during the pandemic. Bad circumstances can lead to good habits.
Allbirds are encouraging other brands to share their carbon footprints – particularly if those footprints are better than their own. That’s the kind of competition we can all get behind. In the midst of an unprecedented shock to business-as-usual how will your brand set a course for a more sustainable future? This is your chance to set new standards that your industry (and the wider world) follows.