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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Allbirds Reveals World’s First Zero-Carbon Shoe

Made from a number of carbon-negative materials, M0.0NSHOT could be a giant leap for the shoe industry; Allbirds is open-sourcing the toolkit used to create the shoe and inviting others to follow in its footsteps.

Allbirds has created the world’s first net-zero-carbon shoe, the M0.0NSHOT. Its landmark carbon footprint, or lack thereof — 0.0 kg CO₂e, versus an industry average of 14 kg CO₂e — was achieved without relying on offsets, after Allbirds completely reimagined the way it makes product.

This is one small footprint for a shoe; but it could mean one giant leap for the shoe industry — so, just as it did in 2021 with its Carbon Footprint Calculator, Allbirds is open-sourcing the toolkit that enabled it to eliminate the M0.0NSHOT’s footprint and is inviting others to follow in its footsteps.

“Creating a net-zero-carbon shoe that is commercially viable and scalable is the culmination of our entire back-catalog of work,” says Allbirds co-founder and co-CEO Tim Brown. “M0.0NSHOT isn’t a silver bullet for the climate crisis — it’s a proof-point that, when we take sustainability seriously and are laser-focused on carbon reduction, we can make incredible breakthroughs.”

M0.0NSHOT is the culmination of years of work and Allbirds’ focus on systematically reducing carbon in its business and products since its founding. In 2018, it created sugarcane-based SweetFoam® — its first carbon-negative material — which informed the new foam used in M0.0NSHOT. Then, in 2020, Allbirds became the first fashion brand to label products with carbon footprints. A year later, the brand announced a partnership with adidas to collaborate on what was, at that point, the lowest-carbon shoe in the world: the Adizero x Allbirds.

After this project, shooting for a net-zero-carbon shoe became the natural next step. The Allbirds Futures Team — a cross-functional innovation team — took on that challenge in 2022, channeling all of the brand’s learnings to design M0.0NSHOT.

The M0.0NSHOT was made possible by:

  • Carbon-negative, regenerative merino wool upper: Grown on Lake Hawea Station in New Zealand.

  • Carbon-negative, sugarcane-based foam midsole: While most industry foams are primarily synthetic, Allbirds’ newly developed SuperLight Foam boasts 80 percent bio content.

  • Carbon-negative bioplastic eyelets: Allbirds has teamed up with Mango Materials to deploy a new process that uses microorganisms to convert methane — the greenhouse gas that sheep and cows release when they burp — into a form of polymer that can be molded like other plastics, without the corresponding carbon footprint.

  • The most carbon-efficient packaging Allbirds has ever had: With reduced space and weight required to transport — made with sugarcane-derived, carbon-negative Green PE.

  • Carbon-conscious transportation: A considered transportation plan with biofuel-powered ocean shipping and electric trucking from port to warehouse.

“We believe this will revolutionize the path to net zero and act as rocket fuel for the entire industry. We could spend decades debating the finer points of carbon sequestration, or we can innovate today with a common-sense approach,” says Hana Kajimura, head of sustainability at Allbirds. “It’s about progress, not perfection. The scientists have shown us what’s possible — now it’s time for the fashion industry to carry the open-sourced learnings from M0.0NSHOT forward.”

In partnership with Lake Hawea Station and The New Zealand Merino Company, Allbirds is pioneering a new method of quantifying a product’s carbon footprint that accounts for materials and processes that capture carbon, as well as those that emit — to provide a more holistic view of emissions and, therefore, a more accurate picture of a product’s climate impact. In other words, while some elements of the shoe’s creation inevitably emit carbon, others capture it — bringing the final product to net zero.

“Our imperative from day one at Lake Hawea Station was to demonstrate that farming can be part of the climate emergency solution. With our native reforestation projects and planting, we sequester almost twice what we emit. On the other side of the ledger, we consciously reduce emissions,” says Finn Ross, Conservation Manager at Lake Hawea Station. “Lake Hawea Station is deeply committed to farming regeneratively, investing significantly in enhancing our biodiversity, and have introduced new animal wellbeing programs and hydro and solar infrastructure. It is fantastic to work with a brand at the other end of the supply chain who shares our regenerative philosophy and values around climate action.”

In addition to the carbon-sequestering materials, M0.0NSHOT also features bioplastic eyelets made from captured methane — the most potent, climate-changing greenhouse gas — courtesy of Mango Materials.

“Mango Materials is thrilled that our novel technology can contribute to Allbirds’ production of the world’s first zero-carbon shoe,” says CEO Molly Morse.

Alongside On’s forthcoming Cloudprime running shoe — the first shoe made from carbon emissions — it sounds like the climate-conscious public will be able to tread much more lightly in the near future.

M0.0NSHOT will launch in June when Allbirds presents the shoe for the first time at the Global Fashion Summit in Copenhagen; it will be available for purchase in Spring 2024.