World Changing Ideas podcast: Cariuma and sustainable shoes

Bamboo. Sugarcane. Cork. These are usually not what we’d consider as conventional components for sneakers, however they’re a few of the core uncooked supplies that Brazilian shoe model Cariuma makes use of for its environmentally sustainable footwear. In line with figures generated by an unbiased, third-party advisor, its new Ibi slip-on sneaker is the lowest-carbon-footprint sneaker ever.

[Photo: Cariuma]

On this week’s episode of World Changing Ideas, I converse to Cariuma’s cofounders, David Python and Fernando Porto, who speak in regards to the sneaker-making course of, the place the sustainable materials come from, and why they’re unabashedly able to “steal market share from the massive guys.”

Cariuma’s signature shoe, the Ibi, was a finalist within the World Changing Ideas Client Merchandise class in 2020; this yr, it launched a slip-on model of the shoe, which has a carbon footprint of 5.48 grams, according to an independent group commissioned by Cariuma to conduct a research. The place bio-based components can’t but be used, the required plastics and packaging are produced from absolutely recycled supplies.


On the podcast, they talk about how sustainable strategies don’t imply they need to sacrifice efficiency or fashion. They selected bamboo as a result of it’s sturdy, but gentle and versatile, permitting for sturdiness and motion. With regard to fashion, the Ibi’s form is designed to be classic and timeless, not pushed by tendencies, which means the corporate doesn’t need to rush to organize for launch dates of seasonal strains.

[Photo: Cariuma]

With out the stress of these tendencies, or “trend sparks,” as they name them, they will maintain iterating and perfecting their slim line, making it higher and extra environmentally pleasant with every reprise. “It’s not a quantity for us to placed on the wall,” Python says of the footprint determine. “It’s really a quantity for us to go and beat once more.”

[Photo: Cariuma]

Impactful change might be faster, they are saying, if the massive sneaker manufacturers additionally dedicated to large-scale adjustments. However, absent that, they’re committing to doing it with out them, and with the assistance of similar-minded shoe corporations similar to Swiss-based On. As customers change into extra discerning consumers, they consider they will obtain the quantity and merely take market share away from the giants. “The villains are usually not going to change into the heroes,” Porto says. “In a manner, the practices that the massive guys had been doing for the final a long time is what impressed the purchasers to search for one thing completely different.”

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