ASICS moves on footwear emissions

ASICS Corporation has teamed up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA on joint research to reduce CO2 in the production of footwear, and drafted a new sustainability strategy.

The environmental management project has been underway since August 2010, a first for collaborative environmental footprint reduction in the footwear industry, reports ASICS.

The research gauges CO2 emissions throughout the entire value chain, focussing particularly on the manufacturing process, which has a high environmental impact.

As a result, ASICS is able to reduce the environmental impact from production of shoes while maintaining high performance.

ASICS Group will use the results of the industry-academia joint research project to reduce the environmental impact of its footwear production activities to achieve a sustainable society, reports ASICS Corporation’s President Motoi Oyama.

The MIT research found that one pair of running shoes, such as the Gel Kayano17, produces around 14kg of CO2 emissions through its value chain.

The materials procurement and manufacturing stages have the biggest environmental impact. Approximately 68 percent of the environmental burden is from the manufacturing stage.

An average of approximately 65 parts are needed to complete one pair of shoes, and an average of approximately 360 manufacturing process.

Based on the quantification analysis of the mitigation strategies by MIT, ASICS decided to apply several strategies in footwear production activities for improvement, including consolidating parts in sole and upper part of shoe; using lighter weight materials and recycled materials where possible; changing material and process in sole, eliminating parts and reducing packaging.

• Based on the research findings, ASICS drafted the 2015 Sustainability Strategy for the whole group, as well as its footwear core business.

The strategy includes reducing greenhouse gasses (C02) by ten percent and researching and developing industry-leading sustainable manufacturing processes.

It also includes increasing the share of eco-friendly footwear product sales to 35 percent of total sales, reducing greenhouse gases, water, and waste at direct trading factories by ten percent per pair of shoes (compared to 2009), promoting use of eco-friendly adhesives (water-soluble adhesives) with 60 percent or more of production volume to include these adhesives, using recycled materials in packaging, concentrating distribution bases and increasing the bulk ratio of manufactured goods transport containers to 85 percent or more.

• The Gel-Kayano18 running shoe 2012 July-December model in new colour is being launched globally this month.

The manufacturing improvements of the Gel-Kayano18 shoe are based on the findings of the joint project research, and reduce the CO2 footprint by about 20 percent.

This is achieved without any compromise to product quality and function, says ASICS.

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