Earth Inc., the maker of Earth footwear, announced a series of initiatives to devote itself to more eco-friendly packaging and products.
For Spring 2007, Earth's shoebox inserts and product hangtags are printed on Wood Free paper. Earth's seasonal catalogs are also being printed on Wood Free paper, with the catalog's cover printed on 30% post-consumer recycled paper – certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and printed with wind- generated energy.
On the product side, Earth's apparel line for men and women incorporates a broader assortment of naturally-available hemp and bamboo fabrics and eco- sustainable trims including ingeo (corn), soy and organic cotton. Finally, many of Earth's footwear styles, which already include recycled materials in the shank design, will include less leather in their upper constructions. For Spring 2007, nearly 38% of the Earth shoe line will have leather upper alternatives, compared to 25% of the line over the same period in 2006.
These packaging and product advances are complemented by ongoing environmental education for Earth employees. For Earth Week 2007, Earth will conduct a company-wide communications campaign stressing the importance of a 'green' office environment.
On Wednesday, April 18th, an environmentalist will talk to employees about 'green'-er intra-office and at-home practices. On April 19th, a group of Earth associates will do community outreach through a new partnership with Waltham Fields Community Farm (http://www.communityfarms.org). Earth associates will engage in a day of service with the farm's stakeholders who provide naturally grown produce to local New England area food pantries and soup kitchens. Finally, as a challenge and incentive to associates, Earth will reserve two premium parking spaces at their Waltham headquarters for those who drive alternative energy vehicles. These will become permanent fixtures beyond Earth Week.
Earth is also partnering with Earth Share(R), agreeing to donate $5 to the organization for every pair of Earth(R) footwear purchased and registered during 2007 (with a minimum $25,000 annual donation). Earth Share is a leading non-profit network of local, national and international conservation and environmental organizations whose goal is to protect public health as well as land, air, water and wildlife. Earth Share's members include The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund and the National Audubon Society among others. Consumers who purchase Earth footwear can register their purchase at http://www.earth.us/showyoucare.asp by entering the UPC code from the shoebox. Earth will manage the donation for every verified purchase. To inform consumers of the opportunity, Earth is producing earth-friendly, wallet-size cards with specifics of the partnership and personal tips for 'greener' living. The wallet-size cards will be distributed nationally at select retail locations.
Going forward, Earth plans to commit to manufacturing 100% of its seasonal footwear using water-based adhesives by Fall 2007. This operational shift is intended to significantly reduce environmental impact that is generally found in the production of footwear. Also for Fall 2007, insole boards used in closed shoes and boots will be made from leftover recycled milk cartons with all of the scrap re-purposed after leftovers are cut. Looking to Spring 2008, Earth will use hemp, one of the world's most sustainable crops, to produce all its shoe bags. Earth will also shift to glue-less packaging with inks printed from soy- and water-based materials throughout the footwear line. Existing box stuffer materials will be reduced in favor of printing on the box itself.
“We're constantly striving to elevate our commitment, and make our business processes more 'green.' Being socially responsible is a corporate imperative,” says Dave Aznavorian, Vice President of Marketing for Earth. “When your brand is Earth, it's a tremendous opportunity as well as a mandate. We're not yet at zero waste, but we're on the correct path. We're taking the right steps, and making progress on multiple fronts.”