Allbirds & Adidas develop lowest carbon running shoe ever, showing collaboration beats competition

Allbirds and Adidas lowest carbon running shoe FUTURECRAFT.FOOTPRINT

Image credit: Allbirds

Going for an outdoor run without having to worry about the environmental impact of your shoes? It will soon be possible, as footwear companies Allbirds and Adidas have teamed up to go the extra mile for a zero-carbon future.

Currently still a proof of concept, but said to launch soon, the FUTURECRAFT.FOOTPRINT is the result of intensive collaboration between the two footwear innovators.

At 2.94 kg CO2e per pair, the new running shoes have the lowest carbon emissions of all time. For full transparency, the calculations behind the number are published in an accessibly written life cycle assessment.

Allbirds and Adidas have been developing the shoe over the course of a year and hope that others will embrace their collaborative approach to creating environmentally sound products. On its website, Allbirds states:

“We’ve always known that the climate crisis is too big to solve alone. Which is exactly why we teamed up with adidas. Together, we shared proprietary technologies, material innovations, and a common goal: To create a performance shoe with our lowest carbon footprint on record.”

Enabling shared progress is strongly ingrained in the company’s philosophy. And it is not the first time Allbirds sets an example for the footwear industry.

Last year, the company became the first fashion brand to label all of its products products’ carbon footprint. To encourage other businesses to follow in its footsteps, it recently shared its carbon footprint tools with the fashion industry.

“The global climate crisis is bigger than business. And if competition got us into this mess, perhaps collaboration can get us out.”

Besides working together and mapping its carbon emissions, Allbirds strives to maximize its use of natural materials. The result is shoes that are primarily made of Merino wool, eucalyptus bark, and cane sugar.

Related:  5 signs that carbon footprint labelling is gaining traction

While the objective is to be carbon-free one day, shoe production cannot be completely zero-carbon yet. Therefore, the remaining emissions are offset by carefully selected carbon compensation projects.

Besides all of that, Allbirds aims to source all of its Merino wool from regenerative agriculture. To that end, the company works with farms to help them transition to regenerative agriculture that also stores carbon in the soil.

Next up is the daunting challenge to avoid landfilling and the emissions that are released during decomposition. While solving the waste problem is probably one of the toughest challenges in most value chains, Allbirds says it is working hard to solve the issue.

The collaboration between Allbirds and Adidas illustrates how a joint effort towards sustainable product development can yield significant results in a very short time. It is a hopeful trend towards a future in which producing apparel doesn’t have to cost the planet.

Thank you for reading.

Subscribers to our newsletter receive sustainability news and insights in their inbox up to once a week and stay in the loop about trends in sustainable business, policy, and technology.

Topics range from nature-based solutions to blockchain technology for tree planting, and from interesting startups to sustainable investment opportunities. If that sounds interesting, you are welcome to join!