To celebrate a decade of sustainable shoe making, in 2016 we launched one of our most exciting projects to date. No, it’s not a new shoe design. It’s much bigger than that!
The Better Shoes Foundation is a bold step towards a blueprint for a whole new footwear industry - one that is good for consumers, workers, and the environment.
Why do we need better shoes?
At the moment, the footwear industry doesn’t have a great reputation when it comes to being ethical or sustainable. Here are just a few statistics that highlight the scale of the problem:
* Less than 5% of waste from post consumer shoes is recycled.
* Just 2% of the final price of a shoe goes to the workers who made it.
* 85% of the world’s leather is tanned using chromium, which is considered to be the fourth worst pollutant in the world.
How do we solve the problem?
Luckily there are lots of people - including us - doing their best to change things
The Better Shoes Foundation centres around an open-source website that brings together the best practice from across the industry, spanning everything from the design process through material selection and supply chain to post consumer life.
We’ve scoured the world for examples of eco-friendly materials, sustainable manufacturing models and outside-the-box thinking to encourage a collaborative approach to improving the industry.
The site includes lots of useful resources such as a directory of sustainable and vegan shoe brands and links to relevant national and international campaigns, as well as all the legal considerations that producers need to be aware of.
What can you do to help?
By sharing this knowledge with others in the footwear industry, we hope to inspire and educate a new generation of manufacturers whose products are as ethical, eco-friendly and sustainable as they are comfortable and stylish.
And we hope that consumers will get in on the action too. Every time you buy a pair of shoes, you’re voting for the kind of standards you expect manufacturers to adhere to, which makes you a powerful part of the process.
Check out the Better Shoe Foundation website here then let us know what you think, and please spread the word via social media and in person. And if you have any information to contribute, do get in touch - after all, the more people who get involved and the more knowledge we can pull together, the greater the impact we can have.
Or you can talk to us on Twitter at @BetterShoes_F.