Sustainability In Sneaker Industry Heading In Right Direction But Still Work To Do

Written by on January 17, 2019 in News Flash with 0 Comments

Over the course of their lifetime, a pair of sneakers is responsible for emissions the equivalent of 14 kg of carbon dioxide.

Given that approximately 25 billion pairs of sneakers are manufactured each year, the sneaker industry is responsible for 350 million metric tons of emissions each year.

To put that into context, Turkey is responsible for around 317 million metric tons of emissions each year.

The Good News

Thankfully, there are signs that the industry is moving in the right direction by creating eco sneakers – at least one element of the shoe is advertised by the manufacturer as eco-friendly or any related term.

Currently, 3.4% of all sneakers are classified eco-sneaker and this number has risen over the past 18 months.

There is innovation in the industry to develop new materials.

For example, Adidas has collaborated with Parley for the Oceans to create a Primeknit material to be used in sneakers that can be made from plastic bottles or plastic bags reclaimed from the ocean.

Nike has created a new dyeing process called Colordry that completely removes water from the dyeing process.

There’s Still A Long Way To Go

However, there is still a long way to go. This is partly due to a lack of understanding of where the carbon emissions come from and what can be done to reduce them.

Research suggests that of the 89 eco-sneakers currently on the market, the average reduction in carbon emissions is only 9.12%.

Some back of a napkin math shows that total emissions saved from eco-sneakers are 982,954 metric tons. Leaving the industry emissions still at just over 316 million metric tons.

Why Are The Reductions So Low?

To understand this, you need to understand where the 14 kg of carbon emissions are generated in the first place.

64% of all emissions come from the manufacturing stage. The majority of this is due to the energy-intensive manufacturing combined with the energy mix in South-East Asian countries like China, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia where the vast majority of sneakers are manufactured.

Sneaker companies have focused on materials which make up less than 30% of a shoe’s carbon footprint.

Instead, they should be focusing on improving processes to use less energy and finding a way to serve their factories with a cleaner energy mix that is not so damaging.

What Can We Do?

Firstly, don’t let this put you off from buying sustainable sneakers. After all, even though eco-sneakers cause roughly 90% of the emissions that conventional sneakers do, that is still better than 100%.

However, think before buying.

Not buying new sneakers is better than buying sustainable sneakers. If you can, use your current sneakers until they are worn out.

Next, look for sturdy sneakers that will last longer. If you can buy a robust pair of conventional sneakers that will last 2 years, you will be responsible for fewer emissions in total than if you were to buy two pairs of flimsy eco-sneakers in that time that need to be replaced annually.

Finally, make your voice heard. Next time you are shopping for sneakers make sure to contact the company and ask them about the environmental impact of their product. The response will probably be “we don’t know” because it’s not an easy thing to calculate.

But, it’s only when enough people ask and companies like Nike and Adidas realize that this information is a major factor in the decision-making process of buyers that this information will become readily available and allow consumers to make better choices.

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use'...you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Top

Send this to a friend