You wouldn’t think shoes would be dangerous, would you? But they can be - for the environment, and for the people who make them.
The footwear industry has never been particularly well known for its sustainable practices, and as the pace of fashion has quickened we’ve begun buying more shoes, and throwing them away more easily.
Traditional shoe-crafting has given way to mass production, eating up resources and sending an average of three pairs of shoes per person to landfills every year. That's an awful lot of waste!
Plus, the quest for cheaper and faster production has also encouraged the exploitation of vulnerable workers through long hours, low pay and dangerous working conditions.
Catching up with the trend setters
While the fashion industry as a whole has begun to consider the issues surrounding sustainability, footwear remains a highly polluting trade. The combination of a lack of awareness, loose standards, product complexity and fierce competition makes it a highly challenging shift.
So far, some encouraging steps have been taken by both small and large shoe brands. But there’s much more that can still be done.
That’s why Po-Zu set up The Better Shoes Foundation - to promote sustainable development and practices across the global shoe industry by providing an open-source platform where people can be inspired by the advances others are making.
Sharing best practice
We think it’s important to provide accessible tools for those who want to work towards a better way of making shoes, which should ultimately benefit us all - the workers, the consumers, and the environment.
The consolidated data that make up this platform includes information, guidance and ideas that we hope will prove useful to those looking to explore this relatively new issue further and adopt more practical sustainable solutions.
And we hope to add to it regularly. The Better Shoes Foundation is very much a work in progress and we welcome any constructive comments and suggestions in order to make further improvements.
After all, the more people who get involved and the more knowledge we can pull together, the greater the impact we can have.
These stats put the size of the problem into context. Go ahead and share them on social media to spread awareness!