The report is based on survey of footwear professionals across the industry conducted by FDRA between September and October 2022.

In an overarching question, FDRA asked respondents whether the footwear industry is making real sustainability progress. At 74.19%, the majority believed that the industry “has made some progress, but not significant”, while 20.43% believed there was no real progress and the small number thought that the industry making great strides forward.

In a material insights section, the report found that 41% of survey respondents said they are using more biobased materials now than last year, while 44% plan to use more biobased materials in upcoming and specific SKUs (stock keeping units).

Meanwhile, just 24% of respondents said that they are asking suppliers for life cycle assessments (LCAs) to compare materials, while 44% confirmed they are using a tool (Higg or others) to compare environmentally preferred materials.

Given the chance to respond to the question “What is the biggest problem our industry faces on sustainability AND/OR what is the biggest issue you face as you work on sustainability issues?”, one respondent replied: “Our biggest problem(s) is lack of an agreement, definition, and/or framework defining what ‘sustainability’ is and how to jointly address it.”

The full 2022 Shoe Sustainability Benchmark & Progress Report can be found here.