Harvest Certification Creates Platform For Transparency, Making it Easier For Consumers to Identify and Make Environmental Choices
KEEN, Inc. (KEEN), the global footwear brand on a mission to make the outside inclusive and accessible to all, today announced it will expand its Detox the Planet Initiative with the debut of the KEEN Harvest Certified Program, a tiered program designed to reduce industrial waste by upcycling it into shoes. The initiative builds on KEEN’s growing Harvest offering, providing transparency into how much industrial waste is upcycled into its shoes. The goal is to relieve pressure on global landfills and minimize the use of virgin materials and lower greenhouse gas emissions. KEEN intends to share the details of this process beginning in 2022.
We first launched Harvest products 15 years ago using industrial waste from the rice industry, said Erik Burbank, vice president of The KEEN Effect. Harvest is about upcycling industrial waste that would otherwise go to landfills, instead creating something new and useful, while lowering the demand for new material in the production process. We’re certifying Harvest products to both provide transparency to fans and to demystify and encourage other brands to help attack the industrial waste problem.
It is widely estimated that 97% of waste comes from industrial sources vs approximately 3% from post-consumer sources. Much of the world’s solid waste goes directly to landfills, a leading source of man-made methane, an incredibly potent greenhouse gas.
Less waste in landfills, less virgin materials sourced, less greenhouse gasses emitted – it’s a trifecta of benefits for the planet, continued Burbank. We’re continuing our research on new Harvest materials, refining the overall model, and plan to open-source the program in early 2022. This isn’t about creating a competitive advantage for KEEN. We hope to see other brands adopt and even improve on what we’re doing and, in turn, share their learnings with others. We need to work collectively if we want to create real change.
Specifically, the KEEN Harvest Certification Program features three levels of certification: Gold (greater than 50% upcycled materials); Silver (greater than 25%); and Bronze (greater than 10%). The ratings provide transparency to the percentage of waste upcycled into shoes. The first shoe with this certification, the Howser Harvest, is Gold certified using upcycled car seat leather in 80% of the upper, launching this November 2021.
For spring ’22, The Harvest Collection will expand with: the Howser Harvest Sandal for men and women; Elsa sneakers for women; and additional Howser Harvest slip-on and lace-up styles for men and women. Select new models will feature upcycled waste coffee grounds. This keeps coffee grounds out of landfills where they create methane, a greenhouse gas known to be more harmful than carbon dioxide, another greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
KEEN’s Detox the Planet Initiative was established in 2012 to take proactive action to identify and remove harmful chemicals in its supply chain and replace them with safe and effective alternatives.
Committed to eliminating everything that shouldn’t be in KEEN products and discovering eco-friendly alternatives, the manufacturing process is PFC free, uses an anti-microbial free odor control approach and they only partner with environmentally preferred Leather Working Group certified tanneries. They are also increasing the use of upcycled and recycled materials for a more circular product life cycle, along with other processes to lessen the impact on the planet.
Driven by a passion to make the outside and trades accessible for all, KEEN is a values-led, family-owned footwear brand from Portland, Oregon committed to creating original and versatile products, enhancing lives, and inspiring adventures outside. Founded in 2003, it launched a revolution in the footwear industry with the debut of the Newport adventure sandal. It continues to launch game-changing products and establish new standards for performance, comfort, and design while actively working to Detox The Planet. The brand formalized its values commitment under the banner of The KEEN Effect.