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Article: “The significance of fashion brands disclosing the carbon footprint of their products” ~KAPOK KNOT×Allbirds collaboration event report~

“The significance of fashion brands disclosing the carbon footprint of their products” ~KAPOK KNOT×Allbirds collaboration event report~

The apparel industry is said to be the second most polluting industry in the world. As the industry as a whole faces a shift to sustainability, KAPOK KNOT has calculated the carbon footprint (CFP), a numerical value of greenhouse gases emitted from the manufacturing process to disposal.

By communicating CFP from our position as a fashion brand that is familiar to consumers, we have begun displaying CFP on all of our items in the hope that we can contribute, in a small way, to increasing interest in CFP.

In making the calculations, I used a calculation tool released by Allbirds, a sustainable lifestyle brand from San Francisco. This time, we have realized a collaborative event with the same brand, which also cooperated in the calculation stage.

This article introduces the talk event held on February 10th (Thursday) between Keiichi Takehana, representative of Allbirds Japan Corporation, and Kito Fukai, representative of KAPOK KNOT. Please enjoy the content on the front lines related to decarbonization, which is attracting attention around the world.

【table of contents】

■Speaker profile
■Introduction of each brand

~Talk session~
■Significance of companies working towards carbon neutrality
■What I learned by calculating CFP
■Background of Allbirds releasing the calculation tool

Speaker profile

Keiichi Takehana / Representative of Allbirds Japan Corporation *Photo left

Since September 2019, he has been Managing Director of Allbirds LLC (Japan and Korea).
Previously held positions at Nike's US headquarters, Asia, and Europe regions. He assumed his current position after serving as Asia region commercial director for Uniqlo and Arc'teryx.

Kisho Fukai / Representative of KAPOK JAPAN

After graduating from Keio University in 2014, he worked for a real estate venture and a major textile manufacturer before joining his family business, Futaba Shoji Co., Ltd., an apparel manufacturer founded 75 years ago.
He had doubts about the current apparel industry, which is based on mass production and mass disposal, but at the end of 2018, he encountered kapok and was convinced of his destiny. Established KAPOK JAPAN in January 2020.

Introduction of each brand


Takehana) Allbirds landed in Japan in January 2020. We opened our first store in Harajuku, and then launched e-commerce just in time for the coronavirus to spread.

The brand's mission is "Doing better, in a better way . " Our purpose is to " reverse climate change through the power of business . " The aim is to reverse climate change, not eliminate it.

Our philosophy consists of three pillars: sustainability, design, and comfort, and sustainability is the core of our existence . All of our work is based on sustainability, including not only our products, but also the way we use electricity in our company and stores, and our transportation methods.

Having said that, sustainability alone is not enough to get people to buy something, so we also focus on design and comfort, and how good it feels to wear it.

In connection with this event, Allbirds has been a carbon neutral company since 2019 . We have achieved carbon neutrality by offsetting all the carbon we emit not only from our products but also from our corporate activities.


To achieve this goal, we try to avoid using petroleum-derived materials as much as possible, and we use three main materials: merino wool from New Zealand, eucalyptus wood, and sugar cane from Brazil, to reduce our environmental impact as much as possible.

By displaying CFP, we hope that consumers will use it as a basis for making decisions when purchasing products. I hope that by clarifying CFP once again, KAPOK KNOT will make consumers feel the significance of their participation in carbon reduction .



Fukai: I am running a business as the fourth generation of an apparel company that was founded 75 years ago. As a manufacturer, I witnessed the current apparel business model of mass production and mass disposal, and learned that it was an industry and global issue, so I decided to focus on it as a brand.

Our brand concept, "FARM TO FASHION," embodies our desire to pay attention to how materials are grown on farms and make conscious choices throughout the entire process of making and delivering our clothes . What we want to achieve is to create a supply chain that is safe for consumers, producers, and the global environment . When I was thinking about how to make this happen, I came across the material called kapok.

Kapok is one-eighth as light as cotton, and has moisture-absorbing and heat-generating properties, making it as warm as down. Furthermore, since it is made from tree nuts, it is environmentally friendly as there is no need to cut down trees. Since we were able to make it into a sheet, there was no restriction on quilting like with traditional down, so we thought we could create a product that has all three features: functionality, design, and sustainability , and we started a brand with the idea of ​​spreading the word about this material. I did.

In this calculation, CFP per product is calculated from four items: material, manufacturing, usage, and leveled score . We were able to calculate this because Allbirds made the calculation tool open source. We have calculated the CFP for all of our products, so we will be releasing the figures for each product starting today (February 10th) .

The significance of companies working towards carbon neutrality

Fukai) Now, I would like to start the talk session. First, I would like to talk about the significance of companies working towards carbon neutrality. What significance do you see at Allbirds?

Takehana) Personally, I think there is a sense of crisis that the earth is in danger if things continue as they are. Snow is falling again today due to a low-pressure system on the south coast, but an expert said that this is basically a typhoon coming in winter. We are aware of the crisis in the current situation where abnormal weather has become commonplace, and at the same time, we believe that we have a mission to take action as we are in an industry that pollutes the earth second only to the oil industry .

Fukai) Actual damage is starting to appear. Kapok grows in Indonesia, and the capital of Indonesia is about to move. This is said to be due to the effects of land subsidence and global warming, but the bottom line is that the effects of CO2 emissions from developed countries are now being felt in developing countries. I don't think we can continue doing business by ignoring this.

Takehana) Recently, when I am interviewed, I am often asked, ``I believe that sustainability and commercial success are incompatible.What do you think?''But I think that this way of thinking is fundamentally wrong. Masu. Pursuing sustainability becomes a business in itself. For many years now, Europe has become a society where products that are not made with sustainability in mind cannot be sold. The two founders of Allbirds must have thought that being kind to the earth could be a good business. I think it is important for companies to become carbon neutral, even when considering commercial success .

Fukai: The easiest thing to understand is the carbon tax. Until now, I think that many things that were good for society were ``somewhat good'', but we are now living in a world where something can be appreciated if you clearly demonstrate how good it is. One of them is CFP, but the carbon tax currently being considered in Japan is very low, about one-twentieth that of France, so even if it were introduced, it would not be considered a big deal. However, it seems that an announcement will be made next year that the tax will be raised to the same level as France and other European and American countries. In short, a high carbon tax will bring economic benefits to efforts to lower CO2 emissions, which were previously seen as a ``somewhat good thing.''

Because kapok is a plant-based material, its CO2 emissions are significantly lower than down, which is made from waterfowl feathers. So, if the raw material prices were the same, I think some companies would start using kapok because of the lower carbon tax . Is it because Allbirds is working on vegan leather made from mushrooms because they are aiming for social change?

Takehana) That's right. When we look to the future, veganism will become one of our pillars. The reason I'm trying out leather is because I don't think the way we enjoy fashion will ever go away. I think it's consumer psychology that they don't compromise on what they want in life and want to buy things that are good for the environment , so I've been investing in vegan leather for a few years now.

Fukai: I do believe that the reason meat substitutes have become popular recently is not only because they have altruistic features such as animal welfare and environmental conservation, but also because they have selfish benefits such as improving one's physical condition . Allbirds' shoes also have a great selfish appeal: they're washable, lightweight, and the moment you put them on, you're moved.

Takehana) It is difficult to think about the earth at the cost of self-sacrifice. I think it's natural to think that it's good for the earth while improving the quality of your own life , so that perspective is important.

What I learned by calculating CFP

Fukai: I would like to take this opportunity to return to the topic of CFP, but this time we are introducing something called a leveled score. For example, when you want to calculate the CFP of a material, the amount of emissions differs depending on the chip, even if recycled polyester is used. Additionally, emissions vary depending on the power company contracted to generate the electricity needed for manufacturing. We incorporate such values ​​that are difficult to give as positive values ​​as a leveled score. This was the most difficult part for us to think about, but where did Allbirds have difficulty?

Takehana) At Allbirds, we look at CFP from the product prototype review stage. In some cases, it may not be possible to commercialize the product depending on the CFP value. Therefore, the difficulty may be greater at the product manufacturing stage than at the calculation stage.

I think calculating CFP is about making it clear to ourselves that we can't do any worse work in the future . If you were to release an improved version of a product released this year next year, you wouldn't be able to release it if CFP increased for no good reason, right? Although it is difficult in that sense, I think that the fact that companies are setting themselves challenges is also the significance of incorporating CFP.

Background of Allbirds releasing the calculation tool

Fukai) By the way, why did you open source the calculation tool? I think it took a lot of time...

This is connected to Allbirds' basic values, but
we cannot change the earth on a global scale if we keep it to ourselves. That's why I thought we could expand our circle by teaming up with various brands and making our voice even louder. Our idea is that we would like you to actively use it.

Fukai: I really sympathize with Allbirds' idea of ​​``reversing climate change through the power of business.'' I believe that in order to truly face the world, we need to make the most of the power of business, so the fact that we were able to do the calculations ourselves using the tools that Allbirds made available was a huge relief. It was an opportunity.

I think it's important not only to collaborate with other brands, but also to support each other. Nowadays, there are many ways to achieve sustainability, such as upcycling, recycling, and moderate production. Each of us has strengths and weaknesses, so I hope we can have a relationship where we can support and compliment each other instead of holding each other back.

Fukai) Calculating CFP was very difficult for us alone, but because we were able to understand the formula using Allbirds' simple tool, we were able to calculate it ourselves. I am very grateful that we were able to have a relationship where we can work hand in hand.


Question-and-answer session

【question 1】
In addition to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, what do you think are the issues that the apparel industry must face and the points that need to be made visible?

Fukai) It's a grand theme. If I had to pick one thing, I feel that our generation has a very low level of literacy when it comes to clothing, food, and shelter. When it comes to food, I think people are interested in organic ingredients and making their own food, and when it comes to housing, I think many people are interested in home improvement and DIY. However, since there is no place to teach about clothing, very few people know how it is made.

Therefore, we place great importance on showing the entire process of how the clothes arrive. I believe that by talking about how threads and textiles are made from a slightly more distant perspective, from the perspective of brands rather than people from the production areas, we can become closer to clothing.

[Question 2]
What are the good things about calculating and visualizing CFP with KAPOK KNOT, and what new challenges have you discovered?

Fukai) The good thing was that we were able to visualize the business we were doing. It is said that social and business aspects are important in so-called social business. However, the problem was that although the business potential could be evaluated, the social value was invisible. I think this CFP calculation meant that we were able to quantitatively evaluate social skills, so I think it's a big deal that we can now confidently say that what we're doing is good.

The big challenge is how to reduce it from next year onwards. The strategy is not yet clear. However, we are currently prototyping an item called a ``coat that returns to the soil'' made entirely from plant-based materials, and we believe that this development will lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions.

[Question 3]
I believe that in order to solve the global climate change problem, we need to involve many companies. Please tell us about the effective measures you have already taken to involve surrounding brands and companies.

Takehana) The biggest thing was the collaboration with Adidas. We were able to reach many customers who would not have been able to hear their voices if we were alone, and I believe that by creating a large number of products, we had a large impact in reducing emissions.

Fukai) It might have been possible to make it happen if we just collaborated, but how did you go about turning that into an effective project?

Takehana) I think it was good that we showed each other what we could do. By sharing our strengths with Adidas, we were able to explore how we could create running shoes that were the lightest and had the lowest CFP. I was happy to be able to collaborate with brands that share the same goals and have a good relationship.

[Question 4]
By calculating CFP, which sector was found to be the biggest bottleneck in reducing emissions? Also, please let us know if you have any plans for the next measures for that department.

Fukai) In KAPOK KNOT, it was the material. Is that the case with Allbirds?

We mainly deal with materials, manufacturing, and transportation.

(Fukai) In order to reduce emissions of materials, we are considering eliminating petroleum-derived materials. I believe we can lower the numbers by switching to plant-based and earth-friendly materials. The big challenge is manufacturing. Even if we wanted to change electricity to renewable energy, it would be difficult to change everything at once because the factory is old and it is not the brand's own factory in the first place...We would like to proceed while talking with the factory in the future. .

At Allbirds, we already achieved this goal last year by using ships to account for more than 80% of our transportation methods. Since the CFP is very high when transported by air (airplane), I believe that the CFP could be lowered considerably by simply changing to a ship.

I think we need to make efforts to change all processes, such as changing materials to renewable materials, using renewable energy factories for manufacturing, and choosing earth-friendly means of transportation.

Fukai) That means there are many things you can do!

Yes, that's why we first need to quantify it in order to find out where the major problems are. I think the most important thing to do in the first few years is to find out which department you can focus on to have the biggest impact.

* * *

Taking advantage of this calculation, KAPOK KNOT will disclose the CFP of all items on the product tag and product page at the showroom store.

If you are interested, please click here to view each product page.

We hope that KAPOK KNOT's CFP disclosure will help you choose clothes as the effects of climate change become more apparent around the world.