Green Suede Shoes 👟🌱

Welcome to "Nouveau Monde", sort of a "Nouveau Genre" newsletter to better understand how to make the world better through the lens of retail. This is #5.

Hi there and welcome to Nouveau Monde ! In this newsletter, Phil and Anthony deep dive in retailers and startups innovations that will help make the world better !

A little background for you dear audience there : Phil and Anthony met in 2016 while they were both working at ZTP, a company dedicated to help retail businesses innovate. They took different directions but could not stand not having any project together, they are still interested in these type of topics and they love to share some stories about it.

Every week, they go deep on a some specific topics, Phil with its lens of no BS and Anthony (the geek guy in the gang) will talk about how it impacts climate change. Please subscribe to get fresh news on your inbox !

Vegan shoes, Baby!

by Phil

You can eat mushrooms. You can smoke them, I’ve been told. And now you can wear them, thanks to Adidas. This world will never stop surprising me.

Adidas has revealed it is working on vegan shoes made from a biodegradable fungi-based leather alternative. To develop the shoes, it has partnered with Bolt Threads, the biotech company that produces the leather. Founded in 2009, based in Emeryville, California, Bolt is a materials company that invents and scales materials “that put the planet on a path towards a better future”. We hope so too.

Their bio-fabricated silk fibers (called Microsilk™) are based on proteins found in nature and the company works on the next-generation of performance fibers, fabrics and luxury.

Adidas first launched vegan shoes last June, when it made animal-free versions of two of its most iconic shoes. They were made with recycled polyester coated in polyurethane. Shortly afterwards, the company went on to launch an eco-friendly line called Clean Classics, made with natural and recycled materials. Now, there comes mushrooms, known as Mylo™, the material is made with mycelium, the part of the fungus that extends below the ground.

The biodegradable shoes are just one of Adidas’ sustainability initiatives — it has already stopped using animal fur in its products, and many of its shoes are now made using recycled plastic collected from beaches. It says that 60 percent of its products will use recycled polyester in 2021, and it is also working on recycled cotton. The company aims to be carbon neutral by 2050. Let’s go guys.

Oh, of course, they’re not supposed to generate any fungal infections. But it does not guarantee the opposite neither.

It’s all on partnership !

by Anthony

The path to a more sustainable world is not easy and there are multiple ways to achieve it. I’m pretty sure it will happen with more openness and development of partnerships.

It’s interesting to see that the big boss Adidas recently partnered with a small brand - Allbirds - to share their knowledge on sustainable shoes.

If you don’t know Allbirds, it’s a shoes company, dedicated to make comfortable and fashion shoes with a small footprint and a lot of innovation on its material.

The first collection - that I still wear - was made of merinos wool and sugarcane, mostly. Yes, Allbirds still use some materials coming from hydrocarbures but they do a lot of research to replace them with natural, low carbon stuff.

They recently went a step forward by communicating about the footprint of their shoes, directly in the shoe. Do you have any idea of the amount of CO2 generated by the shoes you wear ? I didn’t until I bought my first Allbirds and I think it’s really important to get to know this to make good decisions when purchasing items.

The French brand Veja fo instance details a lot its footprint, how they calculate it, and why it’s difficult to optimize it. It’s relevant to notice that both Allbirds and Veja both are B Corporations, which shows a kind of transparency and openness.

Coming back to the partnership : the goal of the Adidas - Allbirds collaboration is to be able to produce the first climate neutral shoes. A lot of shoe makers also want to reach this - inaccessible ? - goal.

The path is long to get there but, hey, we have good shoes to walk it ;-)

Bonus track