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2019 Sustainability Report: How Did We Do?

5-minute read

Goal setting is exciting. That unmistakable feeling of inspiration fluttering through your core and landing in a place beyond comfort — an area of growth. But how effective are goals if you don’t measure them?


We’re diving into our 2019 Sustainability Report; a report filled with lofty social and sustainability goals we set for ourselves a year ago. Today, we’re assessing our progress to celebrate the wins and learn from the shortcomings. 

So, how did we do?

1. Donate 1% of sales back to our communities.

We believe part of being in business is giving back to our communities. We donate 1% of sales to inspiring and worthy organizations and causes.

Status: Achieved

In 2019, we had two major charity partnerships with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (to support a wildlife corridor through Crowsnest Pass area) and the Mental Health Foundation of Alberta (to support youth mental health.) We also donated to the Stollery Children's Foundation, WISEST, Love for Lewiston, and Junior Achievement. Finally, we gave our shoemakers in Mexico a bonus for their hard work throughout the year.

 Baby bear

Photo: Janko Ferlic /Unsplash

2. Launch a shoe recycling program.

We love to wear our shoes to death, repairing them along the way, but what do you do with old leather shoes? We will find a way to properly recycle worn-out leather shoes.

Status: Not Achieved

This goal will be re-analyzed in our 2020/21 People & Planet Report.

3. Conduct in-person visits to all factories and recertify them.

One of the pillars of our sustainability efforts involves screening every factory, ensuring they provide a living wage, safe working conditions and uphold all human rights. We visit each of our factories in-person and recertify them based on our questionnaire and audit criteria. 

Status: Partially Achieved 

We achieved this for our Mexico factories, together which make 90% of our product,  during a visit in February 2020. COVID prohibited travel to Brazil for an in-person certification.

Justine and Lupita in her Leon factory 4. Reduce our packaging (freight & consumer) footprint by 25%.

Our packaging is made from recycled materials but we strive to challenge ourselves and continually reduce our packaging.

Status: Achieved 

We started this year by eliminating the single-use plastic that Brazil shoes and accessories used to come in. Then we introduced a mailer box, for our flat and ankle boot boxes, that eliminates the need for the plastic mailer. Next, we replaced our plastic mailer (made from recycled plastic) with a mailer that is compostable. Finally, we replaced our paper shopping bags with reusable bamboo linen bags.

Read the full blog post here 

5. Choose certified sustainable products for our office supplies 80% of the time.

We minimize the number of disposable products we buy and purchase green 80% of the time for our day-to-day essentials (paper products, cleaning supplies, and all the coffee!)

Status: Achieved 

While we've been following these procurement guidelines, in 2019 we updated
and rolled out guidelines to support sustainable supplies purchasing for our office and stores. 

6. Create and fund a loan program for our Mexico factories

Extremely high interest rates (20-50% for business loans) are a barrier for our partners in Mexico. We will loan money at much lower interest rates to help them achieve their goal of scaling their business or improving the working conditions (e.g. new ventilation system, adding solar panels on the roof). 

Status: Achieved

This year we provided a loan to Fernando's factory, with a low rate repayable over 12 months, for him to improve the ventilation of his factory just in time for the hot summer months in León. This created a better (and cooler!) working environment.

7. Join the Leather Working Group (LWG) as a Brand Partner.

The LWG certifies leather tanneries for environmental compliance and sustainable production practices. One of our largest environmental impacts, tanning leather uses copious amounts of water and chemicals. While we only buy leather from tanneries that clean water and properly dispose of chemicals, The Leather Working Group develops and maintains protocols that assess the environmental compliance of the leather industry. They will audit and certify our tanneries.

Status: Partially Achieved

In February 2020 we visited several LWG certified tanneries and began ordering leather from them (most of which is coming in our Fall 2020 collection.) For our 2020-2021 People and Planet report, we aim to have 25% of all materials be plant-based, chrome-free leather, or leather from Gold & Silver LWG certified tanneries. However, we haven't formally made the pledge to join the LWG.

8. Elevate our community by engaging our customers to join us in inclusive sustainable challenges.

Including a commuter and capsule closet challenge, #NoJunkJuly and other activations. As an office, we participate in sustainable challenges and encourage our community to do the same. We create a community that supports each other in reducing our environmental impact on a daily basis. 

Status: Partially Achieved 

In July we participated in “Junk Free July”, including running internal team challenges to reduce our personal waste consumption, had a social media campaign, and sold products in-store designed to reduce personal junk consumption. We haven't created capsule closet or commuter challenges, yet.

Stay tuned for our 2020/21 People & Planet Report.

 

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