29 de maio de 2022 Miguel Silva

25 Sustainable Terms, Buzzwords and Glossary Widely used in the Footwear Market

Ecological, Sustainable, Eco-Friendly, and Green Economy are buzzwords widely used in the Footwear Segment around the globe.

We see them all the time everywhere and we see them in all kinds of media, presentations, speeches, events, and so on. However, if we have to tell the difference between Post-Consumer vs. Pre-consumer Materials, Regenerated vs. Reclaimed Textiles, or Biodegradable vs Degradable Plastics, would we be able to explain in words the difference between each of them?

Well, that’s the major reason for this article: explain the meaning and difference between each term while introducing them to the Footwear & Shoes Business. After all, those words and trends are impacting our daily lives as footwear industry and business professionals, consumers, investors, and human beings.

All major footwear companies and brands around the globe have Sustainable Programs as it’s a MUST HAVE initiative. It’s a must for SOCIAL, ECONOMIC, and ENVIRONMENTAL purposes.

First of all, we have to think about it in a broader sense, not only as Environmental Sustainability but as Social and Economical as well. Otherwise, it would not cover all necessary principles and we would be backtracking to the old Eco-Boring-Talk.

In summarizing: it must generate wealth, prosperity, and gains for all involved in the process. For Human Beings, Planet, Investors, Communities, Cities, Industries, etc. We have evolved from Ecology to Sustainability and more recently to Circular Economy as a broader meaning. So, let’s go over the most popular terms regarding it.

BIODEGRADABLE – refers to the ability of things to get disintegrated (decomposed) by the action of micro-organisms such as bacteria or fungi biological (with or without oxygen) while getting assimilated into the natural environment.

 CARBON FOOTPRINT – is the total amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) that are generated by our actions.

Space Hippie, an exploratory footwear collection constructed with Nike’s own “space junk,” transforms scrap material from factory floors into a radical expression of circular design.

CARBON CREDIT – is a kind of permit that represents 1 ton of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere. They can be purchased by an individual or, more commonly, a company to make up for carbon dioxide emissions that come from industrial production, delivery vehicles, or travel.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY – The circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended. It’s also referred to as Circularity and CE.

ECO-FRIENDLY – friendly implies beneficial, or at least not harmful to the environment.

ECO – is an abbreviation for Ecology, the system of relationships between living things, and their environment. It should follow that the term eco-friendly, when added to services or products, indicates positive, or at least not harmful, effects on living things.

ECOSYSTEM – An ecosystem is a geographic area where plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as weather and landscape, work together to form a bubble of life. Ecosystems contain biotic or living, parts, as well as abiotic factors, or nonliving parts.

GREEN ECONOMY – The most widely used and authoritative green economy definition comes from UNEP (The United Nations Environment Programme). “A green economy is one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.”.

GREENHOUSE GASES – Greenhouse gases are those gases in the atmosphere that have an influence on the earth’s energy balance. They cause the so-called greenhouse effect. The best-known greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide, can be found naturally in low concentrations in the atmosphere.

GREENWASHING – Greenwashing is the practice of marketing a company or organization, so they appear more environmentally friendly or more ecological than they really are. Which is unethical by all means.

LANDFILL – a place to dispose of refuse and other waste material by burying it and covering it over with soil, especially as a method of filling in or extending usable land.

ECOLOGICAL – is the study of organisms and how they interact with the environment around them. An ecologist studies the relationship between living things and their habitats.

ENVIRONMENTAL – the circumstances, objects, or conditions by which one is surrounded. The complex physical, chemical, and biotic factors (such as climate, soil, and living things) that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival.

ENVIRONMENTALLY-SAFE – Environment-friendly processes, or environmental-friendly processes (also referred to as eco-friendly, nature-friendly, and green), are sustainability and marketing terms referring to goods and services, laws, guidelines, and policies that claim reduced, minimal, or no harm upon ecosystems or the environment.

ORGANIC – The definition of organic is natural matter or compounds with a carbon base, and also refers to food and meat grown or raised without chemicals or pesticides.

POST-CONSUMER OF WASTE or RECYCLED PRODUCTS – consisting of or incorporating material discarded by end-users.

POST-CONSUMER RECYCLED MATERIALS –  often referred to as PCR, is material that is made from the items that consumers recycle every day, like aluminum, cardboard boxes, paper, soda cans, and plastic bottles, and so on.

Parley and adidas unveiled a concept shoe made from reclaimed marine plastic waste at the United Nations in 2015.

PRE-CONSUMER RECYCLING – is the reclamation of waste materials that were created during the process of manufacturing.

Special note: in this area, top Brazilian Footwear Manufacturers are doing a great job and turning, what in the past used to be moved to Landfills, into shoe parts for outsoles, midsoles, and uppers.

PRE-CONSUMERS RECYCLED MATERIAL – Pre-consumer material is defined as material diverted from the waste stream during the manufacturing process.

PRODUCT LIFECYCLE SUSTAINABILITY – is an approach to managing the stages of a product’s existence so that any negative impact on the environment is minimized, from design to the end of life.

RECYCLED COTTON – can be generally defined as converting cotton fabric into cotton fiber that can be reused in textile products. It is also commonly referred to as Regenerated Cotton, Reclaimed cotton, or Shoddy.

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE – The 3Rs stand for: Reduce: Reduction of waste generation 〈Don’t be wasteful. Reduce garbage.〉 Reuse: Reuse of products and parts 〈Use things again and again.〉 Recycle: Use of recycled resources 〈Recycle resources for reuse.〉

RENEWABLE ENERGY – often referred to as clean energy, comes from natural sources or processes that are constantly replenished. For example, sunlight or wind keep shining and blowing, even if their availability depends on time and weather.

SUSTAINABILITY – In business and policy contexts, sustainability seeks to prevent the depletion of natural or physical resources, so that they will remain available for the long term. Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

SUSTAINABLE DESIGN – seeks to reduce negative impacts on the environment. The basic objectives of sustainability are to reduce the consumption of non-renewable resources, minimize waste, and create healthy, productive environments.

BIOMASS – refers to the mass of living organisms, including plants, animals, and microorganisms, or, from a biochemical perspective, cellulose, lignin, sugars, fats, and proteins.

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