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Adidas and Allbirds partner to reduce CO2 from footwear industry

Tom Shearsmith
28 May 2020

Adidas and Allbirds have announced a collaborative project to accelerate solutions to reduce the carbon dioxide emitted by the footwear industry annually.

The partnership aims to innovate on manufacturing and supply chain processes in addition to exploring renewable material resources, resulting in the creation of the lowest carbon footprint ever recorded for a sport performance shoe.

Annually the footwear industry emits 700M metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Their ultimate benchmark for success will be to create an industry shift in how brands globally develop and manufacture products with the ambition to accelerate the critical race to achieve carbon neutrality.

To achieve this unprecedented goal, Adidas and Allbirds will open the doors to each other’s suite of sustainable innovations and unlock the opportunity to set a new industry standard in the fight against climate change.

James Carnes, VP of Adidas Brand Strategy, said: “Our brands don’t want to just participate in the sustainability conversation, we want to continue being catalysts and creators of substantial improvement.

“The recent progress that our brands have made in the name of sustainable innovation has created the perfect momentum for this partnership to influence industry practices forever.

Tim Brown, Co-CEO of Allbirds, added: “There is an urgent need to reduce our global carbon number, and this mission is bigger than just Allbirds or Adidas,”

“Whether we realise it or not this is a race that we are all running together as a planet and it is one that trumps the day-to-day competition of individual companies. I am hopeful that this partnership will be an example for others to follow as we pursue a more sustainable, net zero carbon future.”

To create a product with the lowest carbon footprint possible, the collaboration will explore innovations across the entire supply chain–from material choices to manufacturing facilities and transportation methods that utilise renewable energy and fuels.

Currently, the average running shoe has a carbon footprint of approximately 13.6 kg CO22.

The project is dedicated to creating an athletic shoe that meets Adidas performance standards, which are among the most stringent in the industry. To ensure we are holding ourselves to the highest standards, the shoe’s carbon footprint will be analysed using Allbirds’ life cycle assessment tool, which measures the end-to-end carbon emissions.

Adidas has committed to a 30% reduction in its carbon footprint by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 as part of its End Plastic Waste initiative.

Allbirds’ “Tread Lighter” program represents its ongoing practices to measure and reduce emissions across the entirety of the business, offsetting anything remaining to maintain a 100% carbon neutral business.

In February 2020, Sustainability Manager Hana Kajimura sat down with to talk about how sustainability is the core of the business.

Adidas reached a significant milestone in 2020 on the road to sustainability, as for the first time more than half of the polyester used in adidas products will come from recycled plastic waste. From 2024 onwards, the company is committed to using only recycled polyester.

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