Adidas and Allbirds embark in a partnership to accelerate the industry’s pace to achieve carbon neutrality

Winner of the World Branding Awards, Adidas and Allbirds have announced a collaborative project to accelerate solutions to reduce the 700M metric tons of 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 sports performance shoe.

To achieve this unprecedented goal, the athletic brand 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.

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

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

Everything has a carbon footprint–the production of a product emits carbon dioxide (along with other greenhouse gasses) that contributes to climate change. 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 carbon footprint of a typical pair of running shoes made of synthetic materials is between 11.3 and 16.7 kg CO2.

“Whilst we are prioritising the planet, we’re staying committed to improving the athlete’s experience,” says Carnes. “That means the end result should yield no compromises for athletes or the planet.”

The project is dedicated to creating an athletic shoe that meets Adidas performance standards, which are amongst the most stringent in the industry. The shoe’s carbon footprint will be analyzed using Allbirds’s life cycle assessment tool and Adidas’ own carbon footprint tools, which measure end-to-end carbon emissions.

“Our great hope is that this partnership will catalyze other people to share both their best ideas and research so that we can work together in the fight to live more sustainably,” says Brown. “This is a problem that won’t be solved by one company alone.”

Adidas’ End Plastic Waste initiative is a key contributor to the company’s commitment to achieving a 30% reduction in its carbon footprint by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Allbirds’s “Tread Lighter” programme 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.

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