Vans shows that it's possible for footwear to be both sustainable and profitable
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Vans shows that it’s possible for footwear to be both sustainable and profitable

Vans shows that it’s possible for footwear to be both sustainable and profitable


We live in an increasingly interconnected world. Information of almost any kind is easily accessible and shared. Young people are becoming more and more aware of change happening around them, especially social change. Part of that change is a holistic shift towards sustainability and environmental health. At this moment, many are starting to respond to those news notifications with revolutionary strides in sustainable technology. Brands, especially clothing and footwear brands, have shot to the forefront, as they market to the same young people calling for a shift. Vans is an example of this.

Vans teams up with Finsterre 

Vans recently teamed up with Finsterre, a Cornwall-based footwear company, to launch their most environmentally conscious shoes to date. The new line is aimed at adventurers, a lifestyle made more attractive in light of environmental concern. Two classic Vans silhouettes, the ‘Authentic’ and the ‘Chukka,’ have been combined with Finsterre’s innovative fabrics to create the ‘Ultrarange Hi’ style. 

Complete with cushioning from toe to heel, this shoe is made for wear and tear –  with the planet in mind. Organic cotton, vegan leathers, and recycled backings make up the majority of the design. Vans uses recycled plastic bottles for webbing, laces, and signature tabs. The result is a modern hiking boot made to tackle any terrain. The line is a great push for companies with the money and resources to invest their creativity in the sustainability movement.

Sustainable Business Model

To truly subscribe to sustainable design, companies must consider not only their materials, but the supply chain too. Vans is a strong advocate for sustainable supply chain strategy. They work with supply chain tracking software Sourcemap, part of VF Corp, to push transparency. Big companies like Vans will often have thousands of suppliers involved in the product journey. To prove their accountability, Vans recently shared the supply chain map for their checkerboard slip-ons. They plan to continue this trend and make more of their product maps publicly available in the coming year. 

Authentication of this kind is not only a great marketing strategy, but a big step for justice. It exposes and curbs unjust business practices. Consumers are aware of brands’ production methods clear from start to finish. That culture makes consumers themselves accountable for what they buy, encouraging an environmentally friendly mentality. 

Looking Ahead

Vans is one of the few broadly influential companies engaging in this kind of accountability to date. While many are pushing supposedly environmentally friendly campaigns, Vans is one of the few who can prove it. The company’s approach to sustainable production is more evidence that capitalism and environmental consciousness can go hand in hand. It is possible to reconcile economic success and the health of our planet, if you put your mind to it. Vans engaging with the sustainability movement will hopefully push other big brands to do the same. To learn more about the impact of the fashion industry overall, check out this recent study by Quantis. 

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