Trinseo | Leader Blog: A Perfect Fit - The Future of Sustainable Footwear
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June 22, 2020

Leader Blog: A Perfect Fit - The Future of Sustainable Footwear

The following was published on June 16, 2020 as a LinkedIn blog post by Giancarlo Busa Global Market Leader, Footwear at Trinseo.

Sustainable Footwear

Giancarlo BusaGiancarlo Busa, Global Market Leader, Footwear

Sustainability is not just a trend anymore; it is a must for brands and consumers alike. Conscious consumption is top-of-mind for shoppers, and their purchase preferences are driving ever-increasing demand for sustainable products. 

At Trinseo, we’ve been leading with innovative, sustainable solutions for over a decade. It’s our belief that the future of sustainable fashion and footwear lies with replacing fossil-based materials with bio-based and biodegradable alternatives. In fact, we anticipate bio-based materials will become the de facto choice in luxury footwear by the year 2030. 

Our TPU offer the same aesthetics, light weight and design flexibility as legacy materials but with smaller environmental footprints. Replacing fossil-based plastic applications with bio-based alternatives offers tangible environmental benefits including potential reduction of global warming and water consumption, saving global fossil resources, and sustainable waste management.

A Sustainable Advantage

As the industry continues to shift toward more sustainable solutions, it is important to consider how materials fit into a company’s sustainability vision. Notably, Trinseo has over a decade of experience in bioplastics and part of its commitment to sustainability is “Bio & Beyond,” a strategy to replace fossil-based materials with bio-based alternatives, without compromising performance or our customers’ creativity. 

As a company, Trinseo has set itself apart from other bioplastics providers in several important ways: 

1. Supply Chain Impact
Fashion brands are increasing the traceability and transparency of their supply chains to better understand and minimize their environmental impact. Notably, Trinseo’s materials are supply chain certified, which provides a significant advantage. We strategically source our bio-based materials to ensure no competition with the food chain.

2. Color Capabilities
Color can be surprisingly challenging to get right consistently. Thanks to Trinseo’s unique color capabilities and expertise in color development, we can give materials color with a high degree of customization, whether by developing customized hues or through color matching.

3. Rubber Substitution
In the athletic footwear space, there is a desire to replace vulcanized rubber with thermoplastic solutions; however, the segment cannot sacrifice performance or aesthetics in the process. Trinseo offers a range of thermoplastics solutions, APILON™ 52 A/C, that can replace conventional vulcanized rubber in athletic shoes while retaining the desired performance qualities and aesthetics of traditional fossil-based TPU.

4. Quantifiable Sustainability
The sustainable advantage of many of Trinseo’s footwear solutions has been quantified through a Life Cycle Assessment – a material analysis comparing recycled content against fossil-based content. For example, when comparing Trinseo’s APILON™ 52 BIO (75 ShA) against the same fossil based TPU grade, Trinseo realized 95% non-renewable energy savings, a 32% reduction in water usage, and a 31% decrease in CO2 emissions.

The future of footwear and fashion truly lies with sustainability, and Trinseo will continue to lead these efforts as we’ve done for more than 10 years. I look forward to sharing ongoing updates of our innovative advancements in this space.