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Welcome to Icebug Helpline for Greenwashers. Let's put an end to business as usual.
The world is in a three faced environmental crisis: Pollution and waste creation, loss of biodiversity and moving towards a climate catastrophe. While the shoe and apparel industries represent approximately 5 percent of global emissions it is easy to get the impression that we have all ''gone green''. We see loads of ''sustainable collections'', ''green labels'', ''circular products'' and initiatives from brands that want to be part of the sustainability movement. That the climate issue is on the agenda is of course good. What we want to address is: are we as an industry really doing the things that count or are we just using sustainability as a marketing tool encouraging people go on consuming like never before?
Simply put: are we greenwashing?
At Icebug, we believe that we know a thing or two about greenwashing - and what you can do to end business as usual. We have made mistakes along the way and we want to be the first in line to share what we believe will be a better way forward. We have found that there is no ''climate friendly'' production. But there are ways to limit your emissions and improve in accordance to the Paris agreement. Also, we have decided to do what is right - even when it hurts us. For example, we say no to flying home shoes from the factories no matter how late we are due to lockdowns et cetera. At Icebug, we don't have a growth target. We're not here to maximize profit and we don't exploit people. Yet, we're a profitable company. We believe that the same can go for the entire industry.
Ready to stop greenwashing and start taking action for real change? Let’s get in touch and learn from each other!
Until recently, we used the term “climate positive“ about our shoes. To be accurate, producing a shoe is never good for the climate – regardless how much CO2 you compensate. Let’s not fool people that we can consume our way out of the climate crisis.
We still have an oil addiction. Despite efforts to replace it with bio-based or recycled source, while still reaching the bar of performance and durability, oil is the raw materials we use the most. And we don’t have a way of tracing where the oil comes from.
We used to have our own marking called “a better choice”. The criteria were transparent, but still, we set them ourselves. Since last year this has been replaced by transparency and key sustainability indicators that everyone can use, made public for each style. This model is called Follow the Footprints and can be easily accessed by scanning the shoes QR-code or via the webshop. Unfortunately, very few other brands share their numbers which slowes down our progress as an industry and makes it tough for consumers to make good choices.
Footwear end-of-life is an unsolved problem and circularity is to this day practically impossible. We have seen several closed-loop pilots, but none of them showing that it actually decreases negative impact. When we do, we’re ready to follow. Each brand having their own system for this would be a disaster.
Through long term relations, our own visits and Fairwear audits we have a high degree of confidence that worker’s conditions in Tier 1 factories are fair. But the further away in the supply chain, the less insight we have.
Year by year, we work hard to decrease our climate footprint. Right not, the average emission from a pair of Icebug shoes is 11 kilo CO2. At the same time, we are growing as a company and selling more and more shoes. This means that our total footprint is growing. It is important to be transparent about this and not to hide behind innovative models with exceptionally low emissions. To us, the only way to accept an increase in total emissions is to take market shares from brands that would cause even larger impact, while making products people need.
It is time to put an end to business as usual. Our business needs to focus on what matters the most and create scalable solutions.
- That we all agree to pay a proper price on carbon emissions to drive investments in renewable energy. According to Johan Rockström at the Potsdam Institute for Climate a proper price would be 100 Euro per tonne CO2e
- That we all enable a switch from fossil fuels renewable energy at the factories where our products are made.
- That we all apply openness and transparency concerning emissions and supply chains so that consumers can make proper decisions. Feel free to copy our concept Follow the Footprints.
- That we all set tough goals linked to the Paris agreement and year 2030.
- That we all stop using air freight. To our products, using air freight would mean almost doubling the CO2 emissions from each pair. This is of course unacceptable to a brand that takes sustainability seriously.
- Stop putting owners interests over all other stakeholders interests. Start putting people and planet over profit!