An open-source version of the company’s proprietary carbon labeler and impact tracking solution is now available for use by Allbird’s industry peers and even rivals at FreeTheFootprint.com. Similar to how the footwear brand’s rigorously and responsibly sourced, sugarcane-based EVA (a type of plastic made by mixing ethylene and vinyl acetate) “Sweet Foam” is now used by Reebok, Timberland, and Ugg in their own shoe offerings, giving away the carbon labeler is part of Allbird’s overall brand mission and drive to create a more sustainable future for the industry by promoting emissions reductions without the use of carbon offsets.
The third-party-verified, “cradle-to-grave” carbon label life cycle assessment (LCA) tool developed by Allbirds was created in partnership with SCS Global Services, and can be used to calculate the carbon footprint of products, identify impact hotspots, and drive emissions reductions. The carbon labeler charts environmental impact through five lifecycle stages: materials, manufacturing, transportation, use, and end of life. In conjunction with making its carbon labeler freely available, Allbirds has also launched a Change.org pledge aimed at motivating consumers to call on the fashion industry to add carbon footprint labels to their products and provide transparency for consumers into their personal carbon footprint.
In an effort to continue “walking the walk,” Allbirds recently partnered with Adidas to create a next-generation sneaker with a hyper-low carbon footprint as close to zero as possible. The FUTURECRAFT.FOOTPRINT running shoe, with a carbon footprint of just 2.94kg CO2e per pair was what emerged from the duo’s reimagining of the manufacturing and supply chain processes, highlighting their intent toward carbon accountability and affirming that “better for the planet” can equal “better for the bottom line.” The partnership between the two brands also showed the opportunity to produce a sustainable product without the need for carbon offsetting as part of the manufacturing process.
Using new technologies and digital tools like carbon calculators to provide accountability and keep consumers informed about the climate change impact of their purchases, as well as using those same tools to revisit a company’s own internal supply chain and sourcing procedures is part of a larger trend the PSFK research team has noticed around the various ways the fashion industry is using universal identifiers and next-generation digital technologies to create a more sustainable future and keep consumers informed.
This article originally appeared in PSFK’s research paper, Digitizing the Fashion Industry