Taking Action to Reduce Our Climate Footprint
Taking Action to Reduce Our Climate Footprint

Taking Action to Reduce Our Climate Footprint

As shoemakers with purpose, we made a promise to ourselves 20 years ago to do things differently.

Just after launching our brand with the Newport, we responded to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and earthquake with $1M in disaster relief and a vow to use our resources to protect the planet, bring people together, and consciously create our shoes. In 2014, we went on a mission to detox our supply chain. By 2018, we had removed PFAS – commonly referred to as forever chemicals - from our shoes. PFAS are widely used across consumer products for their water and stain proofing properties and are harmful to people and the planet. (Check out our PFAS story here).

Over the course of the last two decades, we’ve donated tens of millions in cash and product to nonprofit organizations around the world and stayed true to our value to consciously create. Consciously Creating means using harvested materials wherever we can and ethically sourcing leather that's tanned at Leather Working Group-Certified tanneries. And it means building shoes to last longer, using innovations like KEEN.FUSION, because we know durability is sustainability.

Yet no matter how consciously we create, making shoes has an impact on the planet and its people, particularly when it comes to our climate.

There are dozens and dozens of individual components that, when carefully constructed, make a pair of KEEN shoes. Each component or manufacturing method requires some form of energy to produce it. And once a KEEN shoe is made, its transportation to our fans requires energy, too. So where does the energy come from? Oftentimes from the burning of fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels creates greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and these emissions contribute to global warming, a main driver of the climate crisis.

As a values-led, family-owned company, we’re committed to doing our part to reduce our impact and to sharing our innovations so we can do more good, together. Here’s what we’ve done so far to reduce our climate footprint:  

1. We Measured Our Emissions

We started by measuring our total 2021 emissions across all aspects of our brand, from offices and employees to making and shipping KEEN shoes. To create this baseline, we worked with a 3rd party carbon accounting platform to measure and track our emissions, following the Greenhouse Gas Protocol corporate standard.

Not surprisingly, the majority of our missions come from making shoes.

2. We Set a Goal to Reduce Our Emissions

We have made a commitment to significantly reduce our emissions by 2033. Here’s the breakdown:

- Reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 55% from FY21 baseline*

- Reduce scope 3 GHG emissions by 62% per 1,000 pairs from FY21 baseline**

* direct emissions, plus indirect emissions from purchased electricity for KEEN facilities
** indirect emissions from KEEN's value chain

Will it be hard to reach our target? Yes. Do we have all the answers? No, not even close. Yet we’re committed to sharing our successes, our failures, our innovations, and our progress along the way with fans, the shoemaking industry, even our competitors. Because at the end of the day, we’re all in this together.  

3. We Shifted to Renewable Energy

All KEEN owned and operated offices, Garages and our Fan Engagement Center are running on 100% renewable electricity!  We’ve achieved this by sourcing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) across all regions where we have an operating footprint. In 2023, we purchased RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates) for 100% of our 2022 global owned and operated facilities electricity.

4. We Created a KEEN Climate Task Force

KEENmates across our organization embed our climate strategy into business plans and guide us toward our target. From finance, to logistics, to people and culture, and product design, development, and innovation – we’re working cross functionally to reduce our impact.

5. We Kept It Going!

We measured our 2022 footprint and annualized our measurement process. We’re committed to sharing annual emissions in our annual impact reports from this point forward. Check out our 2023 Impact Report here.

6. We Invested in Our Community

The climate challenge is one that requires all hands on deck. So, we’ve expanded our KEEN Effect investment strategy to include nonprofit organizations, ideas, and innovations working to mitigate the effects of climate change. Some of our new partners include:

Protect Our Winters. POW helps passionate outdoor people protect the places and experiences they love from climate change. We just kicked off our second largest multi-year partnership in KEEN history with investments in POW’s Science Alliance and operating fund. Learn more here.

Intersectional Environmentalist. We know and believe social and environmental justice are interconnected. We are proud to support Intersectional Environmentalist as they build an equitable and diverse future of environmentalism, increase awareness and access to education about intersectional environmentalism and drive support toward grassroots environmental justice efforts.

Native Renewables. We recognize the need to uplift indigenous-led pathways towards equitable climate solutions, which is why we are supporting the critical work of Native Renewables, a nonprofit bringing Indigenous-led affordable solar power solutions and knowledge to 15,000 homes in the Navajo and Hopi Communities.  

Grid Alternatives. Through our KEEN Utility SHE BUILDS program, we welcomed new partner Grid Alternatives’ Women in Solar program to the KEEN Effect roster. GRID is the largest nonprofit renewable energy installer in the US, providing no-cost solar systems, battery storage, and improved access to clean energy options to income-qualified families, tribes, and mission aligned organizations. Our support went toward sponsoring an all-women Installation Basics Training cohort in North Valley, California.  

What's Next in Our Climate Journey?

In 2024, we’ll continue road-mapping our emissions reduction plan, and invest in actions like converting KEEN-owned facilities across regions to locally sourced renewable energy. We’ll look to increase logistics efficiencies and further invest in creating consciously, and we’ll engage our KEENmates across all levels of our organization.

Stay tuned for more! And please drop us a line if you’d like to collaborate at keen.effect@keenfootwear.com

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