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Plants on Your Feet: How Reebok Is Running Toward Sustainability

On the heels of surpassed earnings from parent company Adidas, Reebok is eyeing sustainability and the future of the brand.
And plants are high on the to-do list.
In the third year of a four-year plan for the brand, Matt O'Toole, president of Reebok, told Cheddar on Thursday that the company is ahead of schedule in terms of profitability. Now, with a focus on growth, O'Toole pointed to a "big push" into what he believes is the company's "single biggest opportunity into innovation in sustainability."
He touted the brand's Cotton + Corn shoes, with an upper made entirely of cotton, a corn-based sole, insoles made from castor bean oil, and 100 percent recycled packaging, according to the company's press release.
The USDA certified biobased sneakers launched in the summer of 2018, and with millennial and Gen Z consumers taking a closer look at how eco-friendly products are before buying them, that would definitely include clothing and shoes.
"I think if you look at the sustainability opportunity, this is something that our consumer cares deeply about," O'Toole said. "It's something that we care deeply about, and up to this point we've been recognized for a lot of the things we're doing. Forty percent of all the materials in our products are made from recycled polyester."
"But more and more there's even things that we can do that are completely innovative, like making a shoe that's entirely based on plant-based materials," he added.
O'Toole said in the beginning, new technologies like plant-based footwear, can certainly be more expensive, but he expects industrialization and scaling up production will lead to greater affordability.
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