Brooks has been driven since the last seven years to integrate more sustainable materials into its running shoes. In doing so, the American brand focuses on the most commonly used materials: polyester and E.V.A (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) used in the middle sole and upper of the shoe.
E.V.A is a soft plastic that has the same qualities as rubber and is produced without adding harmful substances. Compared to other plastics, this plastic can withstand heat, cold and UV better, making it a popular material for athletic shoes.
For the polyester, Brooks is currently still aiming for 20% recycled polyester. However, the source of the recycled polyester is unknown. Therefore, we can’t guarantee that it’s more sustainable. All mid-soles contain organic, non-toxic, additives, making it biodegradable 50 times faster than E.V.A if it ended up in a landfill.
To keep harmful substances out of production, Brooks has been Bluesign certified since 2014. Bluesign is an organization that connects chemical suppliers, textile manufacturers and brands, all member partners aim to reduce waste.
This allows Brooks' production team to make better choices regarding materials, dyes and detergents. The certificate guarantees the safety and health of both consumers and employees.
Brooks' suppliers are located inChina, Vietnam, El Salvador, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and the US. Of all 28,000 workers, 75% are women and 25% are men.
Brooks has developed a code of conduct for its suppliers. This code of conduct has several environmental and social guidelines that all partners in the production chain must adhere to. To see how the suppliers comply with the code of conduct, the American brand uses the Higg Index Facility Environmental Module (FEM). The Higg Index is a self-assessment standard for the apparel and footwear industry to assess sustainability in terms of ecology and working conditions throughout the supply chain. It regularly surveys garment workers and provides a feedback loop to verify compliance with the code of conduct by factory owners.
Avoiding waste starts with smart design. That's why Brooks has developed a program that optimizes the patterns of the shoes, minimizing the amount of waste during production. Because Brooks only incorporates a limited number of materials in their shoes, they are easier to recycle after use.
In 2019, Brooks had its carbon footprint calculated in collaboration with an external consulting firm in order to further reduce its emissions in the coming years. They work dutifully to systematically improve on all facets and this is transparently reflected in their annual CSR report.
The Seattle headquarters is LEED (leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum certified. An independent certification for environmentally friendly and energy efficient buildings. Brooks' headquarters uses 75% less energy and water than a general office building.
Brooks is very transparent and provides on its website a list of all its suppliers, an overview of the (chemical) substances used, and the supply chain transparency statement.