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14 / 11 / 2019
Every step counts: How the footwear industry is becoming more sustainable
14 / 11 / 2019
Every step counts: How the footwear industry is becoming more sustainable

Sustainability footwear is definitely a rising trend in the fashion industry. Consumers are looking to consider making efforts to preserving the environment through all aspects of fashion, down to their toes. The fundamentals for sustainable footwear begin with using sustainable materials.

Lenzing is ahead of the game in this aspect and is already being used in making shoe upper fabric, lining, insoles and laces. For instance, Lenzing’s TENCELTM branded lyocell fibers have been incorporated into Allbirds’ Tree Shoe collection for its sustainably produced by wood pulp.

Since footwear has become a strong growing segment for Lenzing, the company is well positioned to share valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities that footwear brands face as they prioritize sustainability in their operations.

The industry’s approach towards sustainability has evolved at a rapid pace in recent years due to more accessible information on environmental issues being shared online, triggering the public to pay more attention to the sustainability of their purchases. This then creates public pressure for brands to make environmentally conscious products with more transparency regarding the development of new materials, sourcing and production.

One of the biggest sustainability challenges for the footwear industry is applying the sustainable concept to the whole construction of the shoe, from materials to the machinery, technologies and processes that work most seamlessly. Since shoemaking often involves bringing together over 40 components, switching from one material to another will not bring out true sustainability. Furthermore, sustainable shoe brands also face difficulty with entering the market as there are many entrenched players.

Brands are increasingly more willing to adapt to sustainable concepts and to commit to sustainability goals. To establish a greener and more transparent supply chain and foster close cooperation with suppliers, it is vital to identify trusted partners that will allow for this. Working with a sustainability partner, like us, is the first step in creating a more eco-friendly supply chain and driving sustainability of products from their creation.

Increasing awareness at consumer level is pushing for developments in sustainable materials, paving the way for more accessible sustainable action and wider involvement from the public, much like what has been achieved in the recycling space. Our REFIBRATM technology is a prime example of such development, allowing cotton waste to be turned into high quality fibers that are compostable and biodegradable, even in sea water. Replacing non-renewable materials with biodegradable materials is a huge step towards improving environmental impact of the fashion industry.

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