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Drapers Sustainable Fashion 2020: Aldo’s climate neutral promise

Footwear retailer Aldo has become climate neutral and is investing in more ways to become more socially responsible, vice-president of communications, culture and CSR at Aldo Group, Valérie Martin, told Drapers Sustainable Fashion 2020.

Corporate social responsibility must be “embossed” on to everything a business does, said Martin: “I don’t believe in having a huge CSR team that sits in a golden tower and has nothing to do with the business,” said Martin. “It doesn’t work. It’s there to bring innovation, but it does not have to be completely separate.”

Aldo Group became climate neutral across its offices, stores, distribution and business travel in 2018. This included being plastic water bottle-free in the office, having a community garden, a car-pooling programme, electric car charging and launching a volunteer programme for employees to get involved in charity work during work time.

In 2019, the Canadia-based global retailer began to tackle all transport, packaging and waste generated from operations.

Aldo plans to reduce emissions per pair of shoes by 30% and to incorporate more sustainable materials in its collections, which drive 85% of carbon emissions.

Last year, Aldo launched a shoe called RPPL, which contains five recycled plastic water bottles and keeps 640g of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. 

Yet Martin said there is still a way to go with sourcing more sustainable materials for footwear.

“This [incorporating more sustainable materials] is extremely important. Materials don’t exist today, so we need to finance a company to create the materials. We need to push innovation. It’s a partnership,” said Martin.

“We have a long way to go and fashion has a lot of impact on the environment. But if we don’t talk about it, then nothing will change.”

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