NEW YORK, United States — Sportswear giant adidas has teamed up with sustainable footwear brand Allbirds in a pioneering move placing purpose over profit.
The collaborative project, which aims to accelerate solutions to reduce the 700m metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted by the footwear industry annually, will see the two brands coming together to innovate on manufacturing and supply chain processes in addition to exploring renewable material resources.
The goal is to create the lowest carbon footprint ever recorded for a sports performance shoe and in the process, unlock the opportunity to set a new industry standard in the fight against climate change.
The groundbreaking collaboration, which has been in the works for the past 9 months, has seen both brands opening the doors to their suite of sustainable innovations — in a move that is highly uncommon for two businesses competing within the same space.
However, according to Tim Brown, co-CEO of Allbirds, the urgent need to reduce the global carbon number is bigger than just Allbirds or adidas.
He added: “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.”
In line with Allbirds’ previous sustainability efforts, the finished product and its innovations will be open-sourced, to encourage others to copy and improve upon it. This will include innovations across the entire supply chain – from material choices to manufacturing facilities and transportation methods that utilise renewable energy and fuels.
“Our great hope is that this partnership will catalyse other people to share both their best ideas and research so that we can work together in the fight to live more sustainably,” said Brown.
“This is a problem that won’t be solved by one company alone.”
For adidias, the project feeds into its growing commitment to sustainability, as seen in recent product launches including the Parley collection made from at least 75% intercepted marine trash and its 100% recyclable Futurecraft.Loop trainer.
The brand has also 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, meanwhile, 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. This appears on every product, online and at retail so customers know each shoe’s carbon impact throughout its life cycle, empowering them to make more conscious choices.
“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,” noted James Carnes, VP of adidas Brand Strategy.
“Our brands don’t want to just participate in the sustainability conversation, we want to continue being catalysts and creators of substantial improvement,” he added.