Announcing the NFW Footwear Collective: New Balance, Wolverine Worldwide, Allbirds, Camper, Deckers, and other leading shoe companies. (picture Allbirds’ Plant Pacer)
In a recent post on arch-usa, the sneaker industry’s news platform, a discussion was generated on the misrepresentation and green washing associated with companies working with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. The Norwegian Consumer Authority initiated an investigation which brought into question claims made by H&M and other businesses utilizing Higg to justify flawed sustainability messaging. The outcome prevented brands advertising in Norway from applying data from Higg that allowed fast fashion brands notorious for overproduction of apparel with microplastics from claiming their “green missions”. Without any consistent measurable watchdogs in the U.S. to prevent greenwashing, it becomes critical for brands to actively find solutions vs using antiquated measuring and data to make claims. Natural Fiber Welding may have just built one of the best forward-facing platforms for consumers and brands to become more sustainable and to measure sustainability.
New Balance, Wolverine Worldwide, Camper, Deckers and Allbirds are working with “NFW’s unparalleled ecosystem of plastic-free performance material solutions to drive the industry toward naturally circular, sustainable footwear.” This is an important step for the sneaker industry. If branded correctly NFWFC could create a chart for measuring the sustainability of footwear based on their research. NFW’s measurement tools could consist of the company’s sustainability standards: zero plastic, low carbon, renewable, nutrient-based, and naturally circular. Since they are building materials which take into mind End of Life, where the product is capable of biodegrading without harming the environment, a measuring system could be created to look at sneakers throughout the spectrum and it could limit programs from brands claiming to be sustainable.
In a recent post here on Sneaker Impact, ASICS was noted as doing a better job with their method of make on their 1.95 Co2 running shoe. While the shoe can be broken down and recycled, there isn’t any measuring tool to question if the trainer is truly a product which has considered end of life. It will take time for every brand to change their production methods, and NFW can’t yet supply the entire industry with their technology, but without real standards available for measuring brands capitalizing on the trendiness of sustainability, NFW could offer the path to a solution for reigning in much of greenwashing taking place in the sneaker industry.