Sole Technology, the maker of etnies, éS, Emerica, ThirtyTwo and Altamont, said it is one step closer to its goal of becoming a carbon neutral company by 2020, announcing a 14% decrease in its carbon footprint over the course of one year, in 2009, through sourcing cleaner energy directly associated to footwear manufacturing.

On the heels of announcing its goal in 2007 of becoming a carbon neutral operation, the company has made significant strides toward achieving this objective through a dedicated effort in both its North American and European headquarters, and with shoe manufacturing partners in China, where footwear development contributes considerably to high levels of environmental pollution and damage.

Sole Technology has implemented a “Factory Environmental Standard” agreement for its manufacturing partners in Asia, requesting that they collectively agree upon a set of ecologically-friendly factory conditions to address the growing climate crisis. The agreement addresses the management and ongoing evaluation of each factory’s Restricted Substances List, promoting consistent examination of all chemicals and substances used in Sole Technology manufacturing to ensure higher safety standards; an annual Factory Energy Survey, wherein the operation’s energy use is monitored and assessed to maximize production while minimizing environmental impact; and an active commitment to lessening the impact of Volatile Organic Compounds in the workplace and in all Sole Technology product.

“Examining our impact on the environmental crisis had to start from the ground up,” said Pierre-André Senizergues, Founder and CEO of Sole Technology. “We want to encourage not only our employees and customers, but our partners in manufacturing and development, to move toward a greener future for footwear in Asia and around the world, and we are energized and more focused than ever on reaching our goals and making a difference in the industry in 2020, and far beyond.”

In addition to the “Factory Environmental Standard” agreement, Sole Technology continues to implement standard practices and activities in its Lake Forest, Calif. headquarters through its internal eco committee, the Blue Bin Brigade, that have directly impacted the company’s carbon footprint, including the use of an extensive solar panel system, corporate-wide recycling programs, waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets and more, all overseen by the industry’s first-ever, full-time dedicated Environmental Affairs Manager, who operates from the Lake Forest campus.

To further promote eco-awareness beyond Sole Technology, the company established the annual “Green Sole Awards,” acknowledging local and international partners efforts in better eco practices. The 2010 nominees include The Ecology Center ( ) of San Juan Capistrano, Calif.; Zhoung Bou, a water-based adhesive cement supplier in Macau, China; Long Beach’s Corridor Recycling ( ); and Urban X Biofuels, also based in Long Beach ( ). All award recipients will be honored on Earth Day.

Senizergues is participating in the “Beyond Copenhagen” international conference on climate change at Orange County’s Chapman University, as the keynote speaker at their luncheon on Earth Day (April 22, 2010).