New Balance Has a Plan to Become More Sustainable by 2030 — and It’s Getting Help From Jaden Smith

With the critical need for companies to become more sustainable increasing, New Balance revealed several initiatives today to become more eco-friendly, which it will follow through 2030.

“Sustainability has always been a top priority for New Balance and our commitment to fostering a healthier planet has never been stronger,” New Balance head of global sustainability John Stokes said in a statement. “We need to act with urgency, and our work is further strengthened by like-minded alliances that help extend our reach. Creating and sustaining a healthier planet requires a collective effort and we couldn’t be more excited for the work ahead with some truly incredible individuals and organizations by our side.”

By 2025, New Balance stated it will use 100% renewable electricity across its global operations, and has plans by 2030 to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% as a signatory of the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. Also, the brand said it will attempt to send no waste to the landfill from its footwear factories by 2025.

From a material perspective, New Balance said because polyester and leather are its two largest drivers of climate impact, the company will source 50% recycled polyester and 100% preferred leather by 2025.

Its sustainability mission will also support women’s empowerment. New Balance announced that it is working toward helping 100% of the women in its footwear factories to benefit from education and skills courses by 2025.

New Balance’s plans also involve working with experts in sustainability. For instance, the company announced it will partner with the GIZ Energy Support Program to improve energy supply chain efficiency and to develop rooftop solar energy projects.

New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6
New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6.
CREDIT: Courtesy of New Balance

From a product perspective, New Balance will donate 1% of MSRP from all pairs of the Fresh Foam Hierro v6 sold in the U.S. to 1% for the Planet starting April 15, which will benefit organizations addressing climate change and public lands. The trail-ready shoe comes equipped with recycled tongue foam, a cork tongue badge built with the brand’s “no piece left behind” design approach, which “looks to minimize waste by using cutoff waste to create nested small components.”

What’s more, the brand will deliver the Jaden Smith Vision Racer ReWorked on April 23, which is made with a partially recycled fiber that incorporates at least 30% factory textile waste called Spinnex. And the midsole features a 5% EVA regrind, which New Balance said alleviates a potential waste stream.

“Whether it’s starting Just Water or collaborating with New Balance, I’m energetically interested in bringing more sustainable options and features into everyday lifestyle items and everyday culture,” Smith said in a statement. “These items act as a lens into ways more people can participate in better global health with simple choices while learning and becoming smarter, more aware of the solutions that are out there. We just need to demand them and choose them.”

New Balance is also taking steps to ensure consumers know what they’re purchasing is eco-friendly.

The company has created the green leaf icon, identifying the products that are made with 50% or more environmentally preferred materials, which includes recycled or organic content. New Balance said this is “the biggest and most immediate way” it can affect its environmental impacts and will “significantly” increase the number of products and categories with environmentally preferred materials “in the upcoming months and years.”

“Our efforts to grow our environmentally preferred material portfolio is squarely focused on driving systemic change where it will have the greatest impact, step by step, ingredient by ingredient, season after season,” Cynthia Maletz, New Balance senior manager of product creation platforms, said in a statement. “The green leaf standard lets us capture that work in an understandable way for the consumer and has really helped build momentum within the brand and provides greater focus across business units.”

Lastly, New Balance identified in its mission a relationship that already exists with The Renewal Workshop, which will result the pilot of an apparel repair program this summer, as well as a training workshop to educate designers about garment recycling and how to design apparel with the ability to repair in mind. The goal, according to the brand, is to reduce waste and restore value.

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