A pair of Good News sneakers
With the fashion industry today employing one sixth of the world’s population, there is huge potential to make an impact.
The industry accounts for nearly 20% of all industrial water pollution annually, and it releases 10% of our carbon emissions into the air. In the past two decades, the amount of clothes and shoes we throw away has doubled to 14 million tonnes each year, much of which goes to landfill, where the chemicals contaminate soil and water.
It’s a toxic industry, but more and more companies are taking steps to minimize their negative effects on the environment, including Good News.
Launched in 2016 by co-founders Nia Jones and Ben Tattersall, the company aims to not just make an environmental impact, but a social one too, by closing the gap between excess production and helping those in need.
The company produces sneakers using recycled rubber soles, organic cotton and weave uppers, and recycled footbed.
“95% of the 20 billion pairs of shoes produced globally each year end up in landfill sites,” says Tattersall. “We have a commitment to challenge a fast-paced fashion industry that creates vast wastage.”
An example of a Good News shoe design
The co-founders want to help change the way the fashion industry currently operates.
“We are always striving to improve the environmental and social sustainability of our products by decreasing our carbon, chemical and water footprint, whilst caring for the people who make our shoes,” adds Tattersall.
“After a lot of back and forth of questioning whether we would be creating more mess, we decided to enter on a journey to create a brand that will hopefully inspire others to improve manufacturing processes, monitor supply chains and fair trade and improve the lives of people and the health of the planet.
“Generation Z are switched on and the companies who choose to ignore thinking about climate change aren’t going to exist much longer.”
Good Shoes is currently working with several eco non profits in order to plan how to offset their emissions from shipping, with the goal of being carbon neutral by the end of 2020.
As well as focusing on eco-friendly designs and manufacturing, the company, which cites its competitors as Veja, Vans and Stepney Workers Club, has its own charity initiative, called Good Luck Shoes.
The charity arm sends dead stock to migrants in Italy who are in need of shoes, as well as sending shoes to women in Ethiopia who need them to get to necessary medical appointments. Both initiatives are rolled out through other independent charities. To date, Good Luck Shoes has provided more than 3,000 pairs of shoes to refugees in Europe.
“We passionately feel that change will start with these big brands making small steps and improvements and they shouldn’t feel scared to make these changes because of press,” Tattersall continues.
“We feel we are different in that we want to be completely transparent with our journey and the mistakes we make along the way, to show our integrity as a business.”
The company’s shoes are stocked in Selfridges, Liberty, Net-a-Porter and Harvey Nichols, to name a few, and the founders are determined to continue raising awareness around the fashion industry.
“Our aim has always been simple,” says Tattersall, “to use Good News as a platform to change the ways things are done within the industry and help promote a healthy planet.”
The founders, however, have felt frustrated by the “lack of support the industry has to offer and how difficult it is to find the right information”.
“Our brand message and tone is positive but we have always aspired to be open and honest with our journey through talking about the challenges and obstacles of starting a new footwear brand and within this competitive industry.
“For Good News, sustainability comes down to looking at every aspect of the supply chain; you really have to scrutinize everything, this has been a big challenge.”