Natural Shoemaker Allbirds Backtracks on Sustainable Claims Before IPO

Allbirds, which calls itself an ethical shoemaker, had pledged to launch a “sustainable initial public offering.” Now, the company has gone back on some of its commitments, the Financial Times (FT) reported.

The startup, based in California, makes wool and eucalyptus-based shoes. It said in August that it would be adhering to “sustainability principles and objectives (SPO) framework” developed with a consultancy group guided by academics, rating agencies and charities, according to the report.

Allbirds said late Monday (Oct. 5) that it had done away with several key parts of that idea, scrubbing the claim that the company is “conducting this offering while following the SPO framework” and eliminating a warning that this could inflate the cost of the initial public offering (IPO), the report stated.

The previous version of the prospectus listed Allbirds as wanting the SPO framework to be used by other companies, according to the report. It said it would be willing to help investors look for public companies committed to sustainability.

Now, the new filing has cut out the references to other companies. Instead, it said the idea would help investors better understand Allbirds, the report stated. Additionally, the number of references to the SPO has been cut roughly in half — from 65 to 33.

Allbirds was most recently valued at $1 billion in a private funding round in September 2020, according to the report.

Allbirds has faced questions over the sustainability of its business. The company says its sneakers are made from natural materials and its carbon impact is around 30% less than its competitors. But the company doesn’t include the impact of shipping in its carbon footprint calculating, even though it ships materials around the world several times during the manufacturing process, the report stated.

In August, Allbirds said it planned to move forward with its IPO even though it reported losses. The company lost $21.1 million in the first half of 2021 after losing $25.9 million in 2020 and $14.5 million in 2019.

Read more: Allbirds Files for IPO Amid Ongoing Losses