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Allbirds claims first net zero carbon shoe

Open Source toolkit details each step of the process, including materials, manufacturing, transportation, end-of-life and carbon footprint calculation.

3rd July 2023

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Copenhagen

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

At the recent Global Fashion Summit in Copenhagen, San Francisco-based Allbirds revealed its M0.Onshot – billed as the world’s first net zero carbon shoe – and the company is encouraging the rest of the fashion industry to follow its lead by giving away its entire toolkit for the development.

Launching commercially in Spring 2024, M0.Onshot is the culmination of years of work and a focus on systematically reducing carbon. In 2018 Allbirds created SweetFoam, a midsole foam made with carbon negative, sugarcane-derived green EVA and in 2021 announced a partnership with adidas to collaborate on what was, at that point, the lowest carbon shoe in the world – the Adizero x Allbirds.

The M0.Onshot now takes sustainability to the next level with an upper made with carbon negative regenerative wool sourced from Lake Hawea Station in New Zealand, a carbon negative bio-based midsole foam made with sugarcane and formed via supercritical foaming, and moulded components made with methane-capture bioplastic via a partnership with Mango Materials.

In addition, sugarcane-based polyethylene packaging reduces the weight and space required for transportation.

“We didn’t just make the world’s first net zero carbon shoe – we also made the second, third and fourth, exploring different prototypes to create an appropriate visual identity for this milestone,” said Jamie McLellan, lead designer on the project. “As we thought about this ‘shoe of the future’, we were clear that M0.Onshot couldn’t look like something from the past. We haven’t just reimagined the science of a sustainable shoe, we’ve reimagined the design, too.”

Allbirds is now open-sourcing the M0.Onshot methodology via a toolkit detailing each step of the process, including materials, manufacturing, transportation, end-of-life and carbon footprint calculation.

The toolkit was distributed to the thousands of Global Fashion Summit attendees and is now on the Allbirds website for anyone to download – and hopefully, implement.

“This is one small step for Allbirds – but it could be one giant leap for the footwear industry, if others join us. Unlike the space ‘race’, this is a relay – we’re all on the same side,” said Allbirds co-founder Tim Brown. “M0.Onshot is our greatest achievement, but it’s meaningless without others taking action which is why we felt compelled to open-source our learnings, so others can pick up the baton and take us forward.”

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