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Survey Sheds Light on Sustainability Progress in Footwear


There has been no “game-changing” progress in sustainability for the footwear sector, and shoe professionals are equally divided over whether the industry is living up to the increased marketing of sustainable footwear. These are two major findings of the latest FDRA Shoe Sustainability Worker Survey Report 2022.

The report, which concludes that sustainability is a priority for brands, but not more than cost, speed-to-market, and quality, concludes that companies are putting more effort into planning, training and resource allocation on sustainability issues today following years of planning, training, and resource allocation. 

Among other key findings in the OrthoLite-sponsored report:

  • 74% of respondents felt the footwear industry has made some progress on sustainability issue, but not significant.
  • 54% of respondents said their employer (company) has sustainability in its values or mission statement versus 43% in 2021 and 31% in 2020.
  • 39% said sustainability was a top priority of its department, down from 40% who said so in 2021.
  • 70% of respondents reported that their company currently tracks and/or reports sustainability measurements.
  • 79% of those surveyed said their company uses recycled materials today, up from 66% in 2021, a factor the FDRA attributes to wider utilization of its Factory Zero Waste Program.