Allbirds: Sustainable Innovation Disrupting the Casual Shoe Industry


Allbirds is an exciting new company that is disrupting the footwear industry—an industry known for its unsustainable environmental and production practices. This case examines the start-up motivations of the founders and the product innovations they have developed within the casual shoe category since its inception in 2016. In 2019, Allbirds had four different shoe styles, plus a flip-flop, made from three sustainable, innovative materials: merino wool, eucalyptus fibre, and sugar cane. What are they going to come up with next?

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Appendix: The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

The 17 goals shown via the logos, listed in the order of their priority, are as follows:

No Poverty. This logo shows a family of six comprising grandparents, parents, and children.

No Hunger. This logo shows a hot food icon.

Good Health. This logo shows electrocardiogram icon followed by heart icon.

Quality Education. This logo shows an open book and a pencil icon.

Gender Equality. This logo shows an icon that is a fusion of male and female gender icons with an equal-to sign at the center.

Clean Water and Sanitation. This logo shows a funnel filled with water, which has a water droplet icon at its centre and downward arrow at its base.

Renewable Energy. This logo shows a sun icon, which has a power switch icon at its centre.

Good Jobs and Economic Growth. This logo shows a growth icon.

Innovation and Infrastructure. This logo shows a crossroad icon that has binary codes on its roads.

Reduced Inequalities. This logo shows an equal-to sign surrounded by a circle whose circumference appears to fade away gradually.

Sustainable Cities and Communities. This logo shows an industry icon.

Responsible Consumption. This logo shows an arrow shaped in the form of a horizontal number 8 with its head and tail pointing at the centre of the number 8.

Climate Action. This logo shows the globe as a pupil of the eye.

Life Below Water. This logo shows a water icon above a fish icon.

Life on Land. This logo shows a tree and birds icons.

Peace and Justice. This logo shows an icon in which a pigeon holding a twig is sitting on a mallet.

Partnerships for the Goals. This logo shows an icon similar to the Olympics symbol arranged in a circular shape rather than the regular elongated shape.

Each of the 17 logos shows a number on its top left corner, which corresponds to their order of appearance in the above list. The 18th logo is labeled “The Global Goals For Sustainable Development.” It looks like a circle with patches of the 17 colours of the logos on its circumference. The colours are placed on the circumference in the order of appearance of the logos in the above list.

An image shows the sustainable development goals of the United Nations via 18 logos.

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