Saturday, October 22, 2011

Total Carbon Footprint of TOMS Shoes

So, transportation did not have a significant carbon footprint, but what about for the entire production process?

According to research done by Nike on the sustainability of their shoes, shipping to their distribution centers only accounts for 7% of their carbon emissions.

Since transportation to the distribution center, which accounts for 7% of the total carbon footprint of shoe production, produced .795 lbs of carbon dioxide, TOMS shoes would have a carbon footprint of around 11.36 lbs per shoe. Getting the shoes shipped to my front steps then would have a total carbon footprint of ~13lbs of carbon dioxide per shoe.

Distribution of Carbon Emissions within the Production Chain of TOMS shoes

How does this compare to the carbon footprint of other companies' shoe production?

Compared to Nike, TOMS shoes emits 3 times less carbon dioxide than a pair of Nike's, which produces ~42lbs of carbon dioxide. This is most likely associated with the fact that
1. Nike has many more factories and places from which they manufacture and acquire their materials. Thus, their shoes travel longer distances.
2. Nike utilizes both ocean and air freight transportation. Since air travel produces more carbon dioxide per mile than ocean transportation, using both for transport would increase their carbon emissions.

Compared to Timberland, TOMS shoes is also found to be environmentally friendly. Timberland created a Green Index scale from a software program called GaBI to calculate a pair of their shoes' climate impact.  The program inputed greenhouse gas emissions produced from raw material acquisition, the factory's energy use, and the finished product. The emissions were then translated into a Green Index. A 0 is equivalent to less than 2.49kg (5.49lbs) of carbon dioxide emissions and a 1 is 10kg (22lbs) of carbon dioxide emissions. From there, every unit of increase on the Green Index scale represents a 10kg increase of carbon dioxide emissions with 10 representing any emissions 100kg or more. 13.22lbs of carbon dioxide converts to ~6kg of carbon dioxide. Thus, TOMS shoes would be a 1 on Timberland's Green Index scale illustrating its relatively low environmental impact.

Overall, TOMS shoes appear to be an environmentally friendly choice for those in the lookout for a new pair of shoes.

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