Allbirds is a public benefit corporation that places sustainability at the forefront of its business operations. The company has made significant strides in reducing its carbon footprint and promoting responsible sourcing, manufacturing, and supply chain management. In this section, we will examine Allbirds’ supply chain and manufacturing, fabrics and raw materials, and carbon reduction commitments.
Allbirds’ Supply Chain & Manufacturing
Allbirds has established a rigorous Code of Conduct for its suppliers, which outlines expectations regarding environmental management systems, compliance with permits, pollution, air emissions, hazardous waste, water and wastewater management, waste, and chemicals management. The company has also established long-term partnerships with factories and offers details about its evaluation, auditing, and remediation processes. Material suppliers and manufacturing partners are at the core of Allbirds’ net-zero company status.
Allbirds’ Fabrics & Raw Materials
Allbirds has made significant progress in developing sustainable fabrics and reducing its raw materials usage. The company aims to reduce raw materials usage by 25%, use 75% sustainably sourced natural and recycled materials, and achieve a 25% lessening of carbon intensity of materials by 2025. Allbirds’ mainstay material is ZQ-certified merino wool, which is ethically sourced from farms in New Zealand with regenerative farming practices. The company’s Trino® is a soft, breathable knit made of FSC sustainable forestry certified eucalyptus trees and wool with a low carbon impact. Allbirds’ Tree TENCEL® is FSC-certified eucalyptus lyocell, which is grown with 95% less water and produced in a closed-loop process with renewable energy. The company’s SweetFoam® is a cushy bio-based EVA insole made from Brazilian sugarcane, which is carbon negative by removing carbon from the atmosphere. Allbirds’ SwiftFoam® proprietary midsole is made of 50% bio-based content, and they have replaced any virgin nylon with recycled nylon for their various wool and nylon blends. Allbirds’ plant leather is made from vegetable oil, natural rubber, and other bio-based environmentally friendly materials, resulting in 40x less carbon intensity than real leather.
Allbirds’ Carbon Reduction Commitments
Allbirds is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and achieving net-zero carbon by 2030. The company is a founding member of Carbon Neutral and a member of B Corp and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. Allbirds’ Environmental Program commits to cutting its per-unit carbon footprint in half by the end of 2025. By 2030, Allbirds’ per-unit carbon emissions will be reduced by 95%, driving its emissions to less than 1 kg CO2e per product. The company has achieved a 19% emissions reduction by 2023, largely via regenerative agriculture, renewable materials, and responsible energy. Every pair of Allbirds’ sustainable shoes is labeled with its carbon footprint and shipped (96% via ocean freights, not carbon-heavy airplanes) in an all-in-one bag, box, and mailer made from 90% post-consumer recycled cardboard. Allbirds has developed a proprietary, open-source carbon footprint calculator, which is a life cycle assessment tool that can help any brand understand its carbon footprint, and a carbon labeling template. The company encourages circularity by offering store credit for returned lightly used shoes and reselling them (plus slightly defective products) through ReRun™. As for washing Allbirds, the company encourages using cold water and line drying to further reduce emissions associated with its products.