Allbirds: Sustainable Activities
Some examples of actions taken by Allbirds in the past year that demonstrate the company's commitment to sustainability include offering a free class on sustainable design, challenging Amazon on sustainable manufacturing, and launching their products and sustainability message in China. The details of these actions and others are outline below.
Sustainable Design Class
- In March 2020, Allbirds announced that it would be partnering with a design academy Pensole to offer a free master class on sustainable design to 12 designers.
- The 12 designers will receive the course along with room and board during the course for free.
- Designers must apply to be included in the course and are encouraged to submit designs using household items as part of the application process.
Funding for Increased Sustainability
- In January 2020, Allbirds announced it would be initiating a series D funding round specifically for the purpose of becoming carbon-positive.
- Specific goals of the funding round include investing in regenerative agriculture, implementing the use of renewable energy across the company's supply chain and eliminating unrecycled plastics.
- The company is targeting $75 million for this round of funding to meet its sustainability goals.
Challenging Amazon on Sustainability
- In November 2019, Allbirds called out online retail giant Amazon for making a knock-off version if their Wool Runner shoes, but not using the same sustainable practices to produce them.
- In a letter to Jeff Bezos posted on Medium, Joey Zwillinger and Tim Brown, co-founders of Allbirds, stated, "We are flattered at the similarities that your private label shoe shares with ours, but hoped the commonalities would include these environmentally-friendly materials as well." They also pointed out that they are willing to share their sustainable materials and have done so with over 100 other brands.
- The post also brought attention to the impact that manufacturing has on climate change and how the company's efforts are helping in this area, specifically highlighting the fact that the foam used in its shoes removes carbon from the environment.
- In August 2019, Allbirds announced that it would start producing socks.
- Like the shoes produced by Allbirds, the socks are made of sustainable materials, such as recycled plastic and plants, and are carbon-neutral.
- In May 2019, Allbirds introduced its ballet flats.
- The flats are made of sustainable materials just like all other Allbirds products. Materials included in the ballet flats include sugar, eucalyptus tree pulp and wool.
Allbirds Carbon Fund
- In April 2019, Allbirds announced the establishment of the Allbirds Carbon fund, which was set up to achieve the company's goal of being carbon neutral.
- The money from the fund is invested in the removal of 1 ton of carbon from the atmosphere for every ton of carbon the company's supply chain produces.
- Based on their calculations of how much carbon is produced by the supply chain for each pair of shoes, the company invests 10 cents per pair into the fund.
Earth Day Campaign
- For Earth Day 2019, Allbirds launched a marketing campaign focused on 5 endangered species of birds, all of which are impacted by climate change, according to the campaign.
- The campaign notes, "one co-inhabitant of Earth can teach us more about the climate than any other: birds."
- The campaign gave a lot of information on the birds, how they benefit the environment and how they are threatened by climate change. It only identified Allbirds at the very end with a call to action focused on the company's sustainability efforts.
- In 2019, Allbirds launched sales of its products in China via Alibaba.
- Although sustainability messaging is not as successful in China as in western countries, the company has continued to focus on its sustainability efforts in the marketing of its products in the country.
- In this market, the company has taken on an educational role, teaching consumers about sustainability and its importance for our future.