Birkenstock and sustainability
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 and wool felt are among our most important materials.
Sustainability in figures: environmentally friendly adhesives
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.
NATURAL CORK – A SUSTAINABLE RAW MATERIAL
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.