Rank a Brand: Sustainability and Transparency of Popular Sneaker Brands


Sustainability is a growing consumer trend. Many companies use this to their advantage in marketing, sometimes going as far as greenwashing. Especially in the clothing industry, pressure from civil society and consumers has created positive change and brands have increased the transparency of their sustainability work.

Meanwhile, the footwear industry has not been under such scrutiny, though it is equally at high risk for labour and human rights violations. Excessive working hours, dangerous working conditions and low wages are the norm in factories and in the production of raw materials for shoes. As in the clothing industry, with shoes the biggest environmental and human rights risks are found deep within the supply chains. Materials and manufacturing products are also significant sources of emissions.

The Rank a Brand methodology highlights the vagueness of companies’ sustainability communication. It evaluates sustainability through concrete numbers and is based on reports of actions – visions, plans and promises are not taken into account. The ranking looks at the big picture rather than for example the raw materials used or emissions of a single pair of shoes or one collection.

Read pdf