At Birkenstock in the Hills we are always striving to increase and improve on our sustainability practices. The shoe and retail industry play a key role in the future of our environment so it is highly important to us that we utilise sustainable practices and continue to minimise our environmental impact.
Sustainability and Environmental protection has been a key focus for Birkenstock for many years. Birkenstock products are predominately manufactured in Germany with a large focus on high quality, natural materials. The materials used in the creation of our footwear comes from sustainable sources such as cork, natural latex, jute and leather.
One of the most important raw materials is cork. Cork is a natural and sustainable product that is reproduced and therefore, can be harvested over and over again without harming the tree. The cork is taken from the bark layer of the Cork Oak. Roughy five centimetre of thick bark is stripped from the Cork Oak and this can only be done every 7-9 years. One tree can provide 100-200kg of cork during its life.
Birkenstock was one of the first shoe manufacturers to use water-soluble and solvent free adhesives almost exclusively in the product process. Furthermore, the natural latex used as the primary binding agent is obtained from the resin of rubber trees. The process surrounding this does not occur for the first time until the trees has matured to 6 years old. From then on, a rubber tree provides roughly 80 grams of latex each day for 25 years. This material has much better energy balance than synthetic latex and is free from pollutants such as solvents or CFCs.
Jute is an additional material used in the manufacturing process which is a renewable resource. The bushes grow from 15-20cm before they are then harvested after about four months.
Customers can be assured that sustainability is at the forefront in the manufacturing process and that the latest materials have been applied. You can read more about Birkenstocks materials here.
Packaging and Returns:
Our biodegradable packaging boxes are 100% plastic free and are made from recycled materials. These boxes can be reused up to four times. For example, if a customer has ordered the incorrect size, they can send the shoes back to us using this box and we can then resend the correct size back to them using this same box. Although some customers may prefer unused or more immaculate packaging, we try to encourage customers to help us on our sustainability journey and view the packaging as simply a vessel to deliver your shoes to you. We are always trying to reduce extra wrapping and printing wherever possible.
We consciously embed environmentally sustainable practices into our business at every possible stage whether this be through our packaging, logistics or everyday running of our retail store. We are constantly working to improve our sustainability and are reviewing and improving our processes with all this in mind. This process doesn’t end here and we look forward to continuing on our sustainability journey.