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SUSTAINABILITY RATING: 3/5
In the 10 years since it started back in 2010 in Zürich, On Running has grown to become the fastest-growing running shoe brand in the world. While On sets out a strong core of ethical values and sustainable future goals, there is still room for improvement. Nevertheless, we are seeing clear signs of progress, with a commitment to a 55% intensity reduction of Scope 3 emissions from 2019 to 2030, and a focus on innovations such as the first fully recyclable running shoe Cylon.
On Running states that protecting the planet is one of the company’s core values. The brand also says that it focuses on areas where it will have the biggest impact. When it comes to the company’s code of conduct, this aligns with both the International Labor Organization (ILO) standards as well as the Ethical Trade Initiative.
The main material that On Runninguses in its product line is polyester. It’s worth noting that the brand still uses some virgin polyester and polyamide. The process of making the latter is detrimental to the wider environment. On states that it is working towards using both 100% recycled Polyester (rPES) and 100% recycled Polyamide (rPA) for products. However, there is no evidence of when this change will take place.
On Running is not listed as part of the Fashion Revolution Transparency Index, and so has no score. The founders claim that they know all of their partners personally which means that they can monitor and track every stage of the supply chain. There is no published information regarding On Running’s gender equality, freedom of association, or forced labour policies. The company website states that the brand is ‘looking into joining industry collaborations like the Social Labour Convergence Program (SLCP).’ However, there is currently no evidence that the company has joined this program. In 2020, the brand introduced ‘A Give Back Day’ for all On Running employees. The initiative means that each staff member spends a day giving something back to their immediate community.
Preventing climate change is at the heart of On Running. For that reason, the brand has joined the CEO Climate initiative. That is a partnership of Swiss businesses petitioning the Swiss Government to adopt a progressive climate policy. Aside from that, the brand is part of the Science Based Targets initiative to lower its CO2 emissions. The company states that it will soon be using a CO2 budget framework throughout the business, allowing each department a specific budget to work to. Much of the brand’s products are made from synthetic materials. Around 10% of On Running’s materials are made of wool. However, the wool that is used is 100% certified as mulesing-free while also complying with the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS).
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