Caleres Unveils Sustainability Goals — Including Using Environmentally-Preferred Materials in 100% of Products by 2025

Caleres Inc. is upping its environmental practices on a corporate level, with a list of ambitious commitments over the next five years.

Today, the St. Louis-based company unveiled its first environmental, social and governance (ESG) report, announcing that it would use environmentally preferred materials in 100% of Caleres products and shoeboxes by 2025, as well as reduce energy consumption by 25% in Caleres-owned retail stores and distribution centers.

“An exciting benefit of being part of Caleres and having so many brands in our portfolio is that we’re able to really take new materials and technologies and scale them across brands in a way that can make meaningful change quickly,” Andee Burton, senior manager of sustainability and technical product development, told FN. “We’re putting our primary focus on materials, including increased use of environmentally preferred materials, material consolidation, waterless dying and manufacturing methods.”

In addition, the firm said it plans to reclaim, recycle or refurbish 90,000 pairs of shoes each year, and reduce waste by 50% in Caleres’ strategic-sourcing supplier base, with 100% of strategic-sourcing suppliers contributing to waste reduction.

CEO Diane Sullivan said in statement, “In the face of many challenges in 2020, our associates have demonstrated remarkable creativity and determination. I am excited to highlight their efforts in our first ESG report and share our accomplishments to date. I know this passion and energy will carry forward as we pursue, track and report on our 2025 commitments.”

The report also spotlights the individual sustainability initiatives and charitable endeavors of the Caleres businesses.

At Famous Footwear, for instance, 25% of footwear sold at the retailer will use environmentally preferred materials. And by fall ’21, the chain will enter back-to-school season with its most sustainable product collection ever.

For Dr. Scholl’s, its commitment to better environmental practices continues. The spring ‘21 Original Collection was its most sustainable line to date, according to the report, which stated nearly every shoe was made using responsibly sourced materials and sustainable techniques, such as organic cotton and waterless dying, respectively. In addition, topcloths and linings were made from recycled water bottles, diverting more than 20 million bottles from landfills. And for every pair sold (more than 135,000), Dr. Scholl’s has donated a tree to Trees for the Future to offset carbon emissions.

“We started at 0% recycled content in 2018 and grew to 38% in 2020 and now 60% in 2021,” added Burton. “It has definitely been a journey and we’ve always believed that this effort needed to be about progress not perfection. We started small and are proud of the progress we’ve made and will continue to make.”

Read the full report here.

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