Regrettably, shoe manufacturing is not immune to sweatshop labour and dangerous production techniques that plague the fashion industry.
The consumer, the producer, and the environment all benefit from environmentalism in the footwear sector.
To a considerable extent, footwear sustainability encourages us to consider how we might continue to wear our leather shoes with confidence.
Sustainable raw commodities are more expensive to get.
They do, however, save manufacturers’ expenditures in the long term because they are meant to reduce waste and safeguard the environment.
Sustainable footwear also emphasises the welfare of the animals used to obtain raw materials.
Lesser animals are killed for our fashion needs since eco-friendly leather is manufactured from recyclable materials and vegetable-based sources, helping to maintain an ecological balance.
Environmentally friendly items encourage a better way of life. They make use of less potentially dangerous substances.
Such items generate less hazardous sludge, which can be deadly to humans if it gets into the air and water networks owing to poor disposal.
Dr. Martens is a British footwear and apparel brand that is also known as Doc Martens.
Dr. Martens produces a variety of accessories, including shoe care items, clothes, and luggage, in addition to its well-known footwear.
The air-cushioned sole, upper form, welted fabrication, and yellow stitching define the footwear.
For decades, Dr. Martens, sometimes known as Docs, have been a mainstay in many closets. They were made before vegan footwear was even a thing.
These shoes first appeared in England in 1901 and quickly became the go-to labour boot. The layout has been tweaked a few times since then.
It all came to a head with the cooperation that gave birth to the Dr. Martens shoes we know today. On runways, punk rockers, models, and everyone in between, they’ve been seen.
Where do their shoes get made?
Docs have been manufactured in the United Kingdom for about 50 years.
They changed location and moved to China and Thailand in 2003 because labour was cheap and they didn’t want to go bankrupt.
They do have a Responsible Sourcing Code of Conduct that requires them to pay a fair wage. Yet there is presently no way of knowing if this is the case.
Some Dr Martens still bear the “Made in England” badge, although the company now produces only 2% of its footwear in the UK, with the rest moving to Asia.
Is Doc Martens ethical?
Dr. Martens offers a lifelong warranty and utilizes packaging that is made completely of post-consumer waste.
While these are inspiring gestures, Dr. Martens’ overall environmental effect is less than outstanding.
It utilizes quite a few ecologically friendly components, with the greater number of its products being constructed of resource-intensive leather.
The Leather Working Group audits Dr. Martens tanneries, but the company lacks solid policies and programmes on energy consumption, water conservation, and carbon and greenhouse gas release.
This label has a long way before anyone can consider it environmentally friendly.
As previously noted, Doc Martens has moved its production to Asia. There is a significant to severe risk of worker abuse in these countries.
While some of its supply chain, along with all of the final phases of manufacture, is authorized by Workplace Condition Assessment (WCA), there is no evidence that Dr. Martens adopts measures to foster equality and diversity in its manufacturing cycle.
In the Fashion Transparency Index, it obtained a low percentage of 11-20%. It reveals only a segment of the policies and safeguards.
Most crucially, there is no corroboration that Dr. Martens pays a decent salary to people employed in its production process.
Dr. Martens is not ethical enough for consumers as the company makes use of a rapid fashion model.
Dr. Martens still has a long way to go in terms of treating its employees with the compassion and dignity they deserve.
Is it sustainable?
Fur, angora, filling feathers, or exotic animal hide are not utilized by Dr. Martens. It does, nevertheless, utilize leather and wool from sheep that have not been mulesed.
The company has a written animal health policy that is connected with the Five Freedoms, and it can trace a few animal byproducts to the beginning of the manufacturing cycle.
However, without complete transparency about where animal products are sourced, it’s difficult to assess how animals are treated across the supply chain.
A thing to acclaim Docs for in terms of animal rights is the establishment of a vegan line comprised entirely of non-animal related materials.
It does, nonetheless, describe the substance as “a non-leather synthetic material” without providing any other information.
This could be constructed of PVC plastic, which is listed by Greenpeace as one of the most highly polluting plastics. Consumers would like to see more openness in material selection.
While the company is making progress in terms of animal welfare, it still has a long way to go in terms of improving its effect, particularly in terms of employment and the environment.
You can read what the company says on their website here: Sustainability | Dr. Martens
Ecofriendly footwear operations, either through reducing waste, more sustainable packaging techniques, lower emissions, or increased transparency and accountability, is not only beneficial for the environment, but it also gives footwear companies a competitive advantage and market potential.