New Balance's Green Leaf Standard Sustainable Sourcing Plan

Sportswear Brand New Balance are Following a Strategy Called their Green Leaf Standard to Source more Sustainable Materials

US sportswear brand New Balance are following a high impact strategy called their ‘Green Leaf Standard’ to maximise the impact of sustainable sourcing on some of their key production lines. The programme involves the procurement and use of environmentally preferred materials across their footwear and clothing ranges, and can either be derived from recycled materials or from sustainable sourcing practices.  To reach the ‘Green Leaf Standard’ at least half of the material in the item must be from an environmentally preferred source.

Data from their 2022 collection indicated approximately 19% of footwear from new styles and more than 60% of apparel met the required standard.

Green Leaf Standard on popular New Balance footwear lines 

“Building our product in a more responsible way is a continuous journey,” said Cynthia Maletz, Director of Product Creation Platforms for New Balance. “We are continuing our green leaf efforts with styles from our highest-volume footwear models, placing our efforts where the impact will be the greatest.”

Two of the materials in their supply chain with highest climate impact are polyester and leather, and the programme is designed to help the company target to source 50% recycled polyester and 100% preferred leather by 2025.

“New Balance is pleased to be highlighting environmentally preferred materials through the green leaf standard across footwear and apparel,” says Laura Wittman, New Balance VP of Responsible Leadership and Corporate Compliance. “It’s important for us to provide consumers with intuitive tools, like New Balance’s green leaf standard, that will help them choose products that align with their values, with the goal of creating systemic change and positive impacts within the fashion industry.”

New Balance Procurement Strategy (Credit: New Balance)

New Balance Responsible Leadership Programme

The Green Leaf standard is one aspect of sustainability practice in the company that has a series of measures across its global procurement and supply chain operation.  It includes procuring 100% renewable energy by 2025, sending zero waste to landfill from their factories, increasing levels of circularity within their production and sourcing, and using lower carbon materials. 

The company also has a series of strategies within their procurement of goods from suppliers around the world.  All suppliers are obliged to work inside New Balance’s supplier code of conduct, which includes environmental impact requirements, and before placing any orders with a company they must have passed a social and environmental compliance audit. The company aims for approved or existing Tier 1 suppliers to carry out a compliance audit at least once per year to ensure they are compliant with the expected standards. 

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