New Balance, On, Reformation, Target and four other brands have partnered with EarthDNA, a nonprofit climate advocacy platform, to promote a circular footwear economy, according to a Wednesday release.
The initiative, called the Footwear Collective, also includes Brooks Running, Crocs Inc., Ecco and Vibram.
The eight companies are focused on transitioning the footwear industry from a linear to a circular system, per the release, which states that the transition “can be accelerated by aligning as an industry to create scalable impact.”
The release also states that many sustainability initiatives in the fashion space have focused on apparel rather than footwear “due to the complexity of manufacturing and material mix composition of shoes.”
The collective’s proposed solutions include minimizing waste, reducing emissions and taking a circular approach to the footwear supply chain.
“It is imperative that we partner together to move not only footwear but fashion as a whole towards circular solutions,” Carolyn Swenson, senior materials manager of product innovation at Reformation, said in the release. “Footwear is particularly complex from a manufacturing standpoint which makes nonlinear end of life strategies difficult to develop and scale.”
EarthDNA’s website outlines three pillars for the collaboration: circular materials, where companies agree to implement sustainable materials into their supply chains; infrastructure, where the brands commit to changing their infrastructure to allow more circularity at scale; and consumer behavior, where brands encourage consumers to feel more enthusiastic about circular consumption.
“We believe every footwear brand has a responsibility to consider how their products and production methods affect society and the environment," Deanna Bratter, vice president and global head of sustainability and ESG for Crocs, said in the release.
The Footwear Collective marks EarthDNA’s first industry-specific initiative. EarthDNA also has an app called Earth Speaks and runs a student climate leadership program to empower the next generation of climate leaders, per the release.
"TFC is excited and deeply appreciative of the commitment of our founding members who embrace the urgent need to apply technology in a collaborative approach to develop solutions for this industry that will have lasting, global impact and act as a model for other industries tackling equally-complex sustainability challenges," Yuly Fuentes, founder and executive director of the Footwear Collective, said in the release. "There is no time to wait to collaboratively build the infrastructure needed to succeed at scale to combat climate change.”