Icebug swings the doors to our supply chain open and invites scrutiny. We start reporting the most important sustainability indicators, that measure what we and other shoe companies have as our biggest environmental impact: CO2 emissions and the use of non-renewables - mainly oil – as the source for raw materials. We publish the key sustainability indicators for all footwear models and also tell you exactly where our shoes and materials have been made. To our best knowledge, this makes us the most transparent sports shoe company in the world.
Through Follow the Footprints™ we make it possible to easily follow and check that we walk the talk. Just scan a QR code or click on a link and find out everything from the climate footprint to the factory for the shoes you are considering buying.
In 2019, Icebug became the world's first climate positive shoe company (according to the UNFCCC). We have since spent a lot of time sharing how we managed to do it so that more companies could make the same journey. By ourselves, we make little difference, but the entire shoe industry accounts for as much as almost 2% of the World's total carbon dioxide emissions. We thought there would be an explosion of other brands also becoming climate neutral or positive, but the development has been disappointing.
What we now do is unique by combining publicly reporting on CO2 footprints and the other most important sustainability indicators, while providing full transparency in the supply chain. But just as we hope that others will continue building on our work, so we have learned from the sustainability work of others. From the apparel industry, we have, for example, learned from the outdoor legends Patagonia, our local denim phantoms Nudie Jeans (also Goteborg, Sweden-based), and the up-start activist Asket. And in the shoe industry, our Climate Neutral colleagues Allbirds published the CO2 footprint of all of their styles in 2020.
In 2021, Icebug becomes the first sports shoe brand to publish climate footprints on all shoes. In addition to opening the supply chain, we also share the method for how we have calculated (see attached method document) and worked through the processes and material selections to reduce the footprint. The shoe industry is complex. A single shoe l can have over 50 different components - we believe that customers, the industry, and the planet win if we provide a road map to minimize negative impact, although we have spent a significant amount of time and resources to find the best alternatives in terms of sustainability.
In the long run, we are all winners if other shoe brands can more quickly switch from standard materials to more sustainable alternatives.
By scanning the QR code or clicking on the link on product pages here on icebug.se, you can immediately see our key figures in sustainability. We show the CO2 footprint of each model and the proportion of bio-based and recycled material, calculated as a percentage of the shoe's total weight. You can also see in which factories the shoes and materials are made. Icebug is a member of the Fair Wear Foundation, to increase transparency also regarding fair working conditions in the factories we cooperate with.
What we know from the CO2 footprint measuring for the summer 2021 collection: Comparing the Icebug shoes as specified with more sustainable materials and processes, with if we had used standard materials instead, the reduction of the materials' climate impact is 11-64% (average 22%) and 5-38% for the entire product (average 10%). This is our reduction that we can count from our baseline in 2015 when we started the work of changing standard materials to more sustainable alternatives.
But even more interesting would be to be able to compare with other shoes on the market. Our calculations show that our CO2 footprint for a running shoe could be as much as 35% lower than a standard running shoe from other manufacturers.
An Icebug OutRun RB9X has a climate footprint of 9 kg CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents) per pair. The best available life cycle analysis for a running shoe is done by MIT of an Asics shoe. It showed 14 kg CO2e. The problem is that the life cycle analysis is from 2012. Since then, very little information regarding the CO2 footprint of shoes has been published. With the Italian trekking brand AKU doing a full life cycle analysis of one of their styles, and the US sneaker brand Allbirds last year as shining exceptions. This means that we at least have the chance to benchmark our wool sneaker Eide and see that Allbirds have come further in reducing the climate impact from the sole, but that we have further with the upper because we use recycled wool. Overall, it's pretty similar. Our view is that Allbirds is also really at the forefront when it comes to taking responsibility for their environmental impact. For our outdoor and sports shoes, however, we have nothing else to compare with, so it is important here to say that an up to 35% lower carbon footprint for a running shoe from Icebug, compared to a standard from another brand is highly speculative.
It’s a real problem that we have so little to compare with. Therefore, we now urge other footwear brands to share their sustainability data, and especially the products' CO2 footprint. We believe that there is a lot we can learn from others to further reduce our emissions.
In the race to zero, we all win by everybody increasing speed.
Simply scan the QR code or follow the link found on all product pages here on icebug.com, to land at a locked blockchain-based website hosted by TrusTrace. There you find the key sustainability indicators, as well as the product journey. Starting from fall 2021 deliveries, the QR code will be found in all the shoes and on all the shoeboxes.
Transparency for real, at your fingertips.