Shoes: when a carbon footprint is really a footprint
Luxury brand AERA has launched a new shoe collection that its team of designers say is carbon-negative. The AERA line is a concept developed by prominent fashion executive Tina Bhojwani, footwear designer Jean-Michel Cazabat and entrepreneur Alvertos Revach. They teamed up to deliver what they’re calling “vegan shoes” while offsetting the carbon and water inputs of footwear.
The company says it’s doing that through investment in reforestation projects that offset the carbon footprint by 110 percent, and purchased water restoration certificates to achieve the same level of offsets on consumption. The shoes are made in the Veneto region of Italy in partnership with two families that have operated shoe factories for years, with just 20 and six employees respectively - a conscious decision to support artisanal craftsmanship and corporate stewardship.
A life-cycle assessment and impact verification for all AERA products was completed by SCS Global Services (SCS) to evaluate the environmental impacts of the materials, manufacturing process, transport and ultimate end-of-life for the shoes. Keith Killpack, the technical director for SCS, says the work “sets an important precedent for this industry given our current global climate challenge.”
A 2018 report from Qantis International looked at the impacts of synthetic, leather and textile-based shoes produced globally and found that footwear accounts for between 16 and 32 percent of the fashion industry’s total pollution.
Download the Qantis International report here.