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Sustainability

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Birkenstock and sustainability

01

The protection of our natural resources is one of the most pressing issues of our time. We are committed to environmentally friendly operations. For us, sustainability is not a marketing-driven fad, but rather an expression of our corporate ethos. Environmental protection has long been paramount at BIRKENSTOCK. We constantly work to improve production processes, products, packaging and logistics. Thanks to their durability, our products are sustainable by nature. A high proportion of the natural materials that we use are from sustainable sources: cork, natural latex, jute, leather, wool felt, copper and brass are among our most important materials.

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Sustainability in figures: environmentally friendly adhesives

02

BIRKENSTOCK was one of the first shoe manufacturers in the world to use water-soluble and solvent-free adhesives almost exclusively in its production processes. In recent years, we have successfully worked to considerably reduce the proportion of adhesives that contain solvents.

98%

The adhesives are water-based
and therefore environmentally friendly

people
shoe

This leads to better working conditions

shoe

And reduces the strain
on the environment

NATURAL CORK – A SUSTAINABLE RAW MATERIAL

03

One of our most important raw materials is cork – a natural and sustainable product that boasts high elasticity, outstanding cushioning, and excellent heat and sound insulation. It is comprised of dead thin-walled cells that have been filled with air. The cork layer is reproduced and can therefore be harvested again and again without harming the tree.

The cork is obtained from the bark layer of the cork oak. At least five centimeters of thick bark is stripped from the cork oak – a process that, depending on weather conditions, can only be repeated every seven to nine years. A single tree can provide 100 to 200 kilograms of cork during its life. To ensure that the cork is hygienically clean, the bark that has been removed is cooked thoroughly in tanks. It is then cut into strips that will be used to punch the bottle corks.

Natural cork oak forests only exist in the western Mediterranean basin. The majority of the cork processed by BIRKENSTOCK comes from southern Portugal, the world’s largest raw cork-exporting region. Natural and planted cork oak forests in Portugal cover a total of some 750,000 hectares – about 8% of the total surface area of the country.

OTHER TOPICS

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Natural Latex Milk

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Liquid Rubber with Extraordinary Adhesiveness

Natural latex serves as a natural binding agent in the production of the footbed. Like cork, natural latex is also a renewable resource. Natural latex is obtained from the resin of rubber trees. The milky liquid is emitted as the plant’s natural protective mechanism against bacteria and fungi. Rubber trees are native to tropical regions. When they are harvested, the bark of the rubber tree is scored. The latex milk that is emitted is collected in small buckets. This is first done when the trees are six years old. From then on, a rubber tree will provide about 80 grams of latex each and every day for 25 years.

The delicate natural material has a much better energy balance than synthetic latex, which is obtained from crude oil, and it is free from pollutants such as solvents or CFCs. In addition, natural latex has very positive natural properties, such as a high point elasticity and high breathability.

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Repair service

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REFURBISHING YOUR FAVORITE SHOES

BIRKENSTOCK products are well known for their very high quality. This is the result of high-quality materials from sustainable sources that are carefully processed under what are the best conditions for our brand. The quality of both the raw materials and the final products is continuously monitored as part of our comprehensive quality assurance process.

If your BIRKENSTOCK products are used and cared for properly, you will enjoy them for a very long time. However, some product components are subject to normal wear and tear. This is particularly true for soles as well as for movable shoe components, such as straps, hook-and-loop fasteners and zippers. But if something does break, you don’t have to part with your favorite shoes. Many things can be repaired at a reasonable price. All you need to do is contact our repair service.

For sandals and clogs, our repair service includes the following services:
-  Replacing the entire sole/replacing the footbed
-  Replacing wedges up to 1.5 cm (one or both sides)
-  Orthotic compensation up to 3.0 cm
-  Replacing instep straps
-  Replacing and ensuring proper adhesion of outsoles for ESD and anti-static products
-  Replacing rivets and buckles
-  Carrying out adhesive work

We offer the following repair services for closed-toe shoes:
-  Refurbishing the tips and edges of soles
-  Replacing outsoles
-  Completely replacing heels
-  Replacing heel liners
-  Carrying out sewing work in the upper material
-  Replacing elastic bands, hook-and-loop fasteners and zippers

Please note that repairs to closed-toe shoes are carried out by an external partner. Unfortunately, for production reasons original BIRKENSTOCK materials cannot be used. The only exceptions are models in the Footprints line; in this case, we still have stocks of shell soles that can be used for repair work.

Take a stand against our throwaway society and ask your local BIRKENSTOCK retailer about our repair service. If you don’t have a retailer in your area, simply send your shoes straight to us: 

Birkenstock GmbH & Co. KG Services
Rheinstraße 10
D-53560 Vettelschoß

If you have any questions, please give our team a call:
Phone +49 2683 9359 0

On request, we would be happy to provide you with an advance cost estimate. Please contact one of our staff. BIRKENSTOCK will pay the costs of returning the repaired shoes to you. The invoice for the repairs will be sent to you under separate cover.

Warranty notice:
Please note that we are unable to accept returned items that show signs of wear. Please therefore ensure that your feet are dry when trying on our products. The high-quality suede used to line our footbeds is a sensitive natural material. Wet or dirty soles will soon leave marks on the footbed. As you will no doubt understand, this invalidates the warranty. We therefore recommend that you wear try-on socks when trying on our footwear.

Returns notice:
If you are not satisfied with your purchase, we kindly ask you to contact the retailer directly. To enable speedy processing of your customer service request, we kindly ask you to direct any complaints to the retailer concerned.

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Social Responsibility

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Social Responsibility

The responsible use of natural resources and compliance with stringent social and environmental standards are two of the core values at BIRKENSTOCK. BIRKENSTOCK was embracing sustainability and social responsibility long before the term “corporate social responsibility” was coined. The exceptionally high degree of vertical integration not only ensures impressive product quality and durability, but also goes hand in hand with extensive monitoring of the value chain, from the purchasing of raw materials through to delivery of the finished product. Thanks to its rigorous commitment to quality, BIRKENSTOCK is making a statement against the throwaway mentality that currently prevails in the global fashion industry and is positioning itself as a pioneer of socially and environmentally responsible commerce.

BIRKENSTOCK also accepts social responsibility above and beyond its business activities. Accepting social responsibility and playing an active role in efforts to solve the challenges facing society, however, is not a faddish activity, but rather a reflection of a corporate ethos that has been deeply rooted for several generations.

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Jute

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a Natural Stabilizer from Renewable Textile Fibers

Jute provides additional stabilization of the cork and latex core in the original BIRKENSTOCK footbed. In addition, the plant fibers improve the moisture-regulating properties of the footbed. Jute is a renewable resource as well.

The annual plant is generally grown in perpetually humid tropical regions. The bushes grow to 15 to 20 centimeters before they are harvested after about four months. Before the fibers can be spun, the plant textile fibers are first roasted, peeled, combed and cleaned. The natural fibers are then softened. During the production of the footbeds, two layers of jute fiber braid are used to stabilize the top side and underside.