Seven hundred million metric tons of carbon dioxide are emitted by the footwear industry annually. If that number sounds like a lot, that’s because it is – and it’s a problem that urgently needs to be addressed. Today, Allbirds, the sustainable New Zealand-American shoe brand, and adidas have announced a joint partnership to make sustainable footwear with the intention of creating the lowest carbon footprint ever recorded for a sport performance shoe.

“There is an urgent need to reduce our global carbon number, and this mission is bigger than just Allbirds or adidas,” Tim Brown, co-CEO of Allbirds, said in a press release. “Whether we realize 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.”

Both companies have made individual efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. Allbirds’ “Tread Lighter” program maintains a 100 percent carbon-neutral business, while adidas launched the End Plastic Waste initiative with hopes of achieving a 30 percent carbon footprint reduction by 2030. According to the press release, the companies will combine their sustainable innovations, exploring new materials and methods of production. As Brown states: “This is a problem that won’t be solved by one company alone.”

James Carnes, VP of adidas brand strategy, noted that the new shoe technologies will not impact performance. “While we are prioritizing the planet, we’re staying committed to improving the athlete’s experience,” Carnes said in a statement. “That means the end result should yield no compromises for athletes or the planet.”

Sounds like a major step in the right direction.


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