Allbirds Announces the World’s First Net-Zero Carbon Sneaker

The company also plans to open-source the technology for industry-wide use.

A designer's mood board featuring sketches of shoesAll
A mood board reveals behind-the-scenes sketches for Allbirds' net-zero sneaker.


In the last few years, "net-zero" has become an incredibly popular buzzword for countries, cities, businesses, and other institutions pledging to dramatically reduce their carbon footprints.
The idea of net-zero is that an entity can neutralize its carbon emissions not by actually reducing its carbon emissions, but by investing in the reduction of emissions elsewhere. So, for example, a company might purchase carbon offsets through a third party that will plant trees or invest in green energy.

But with the launch of a new sneaker called the M0.0NSHOT, sustainable footwear and apparel company Allbirds has taken a step ahead of the crowd.

The problem with net-zero is that it can be all talk, no walk. And most importantly, we should be figuring out how to lower our carbon emissions from the get-go rather than relying on technology to clean up the mess later.

Remarkably, the M0.0NSHOT is truly net-zero. Its carbon footprint of 0.0 kg CO2e—versus an industry average of 14 kg CO2e—was achieved without relying on third-party offsets. Instead, the company decided to completely reimagine the way it makes the product.

What is C02e?

CO2 refers to carbon dioxide, while CO2e stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. C02e includes carbon dioxide as well as other greenhouse gases like methane, for a more accurate measurement.

And to show that it's not just paying lip service to fighting climate change, the company is open-sourcing the toolkit that took M0.0NSHOT to zero and inviting others to follow in its path.

“Creating a net zero carbon shoe that is commercially viable and scalable is the culmination of our entire back-catalog of work. M0.0NSHOT isn’t a silver bullet for the climate crisis—it’s a proof-point that, when we take sustainability seriously and are laser-focused on carbon reduction, we can make incredible breakthroughs,” says Tim Brown, co-founder and co-CEO of Allbirds.

Since its founding in 2018, Allbirds has consistently worked toward reducing carbon in its business and products. Its first carbon-negative material was called SweetFoam, which was instructive in creating the new foam used in M0.0NSHOT. In 2019, Allbirds became the first fashion brand to label products with carbon footprints. In 2020, Allbirds joined up with Adidas to partner on what was the lowest-carbon shoe in the world at the time, the Adizero x Allbirds.

M0.0NSHOT was the next logical step, and for which the Allbirds Futures Team—a cross-functional innovation team—used their previous learnings to create.

As explained by the company, the achievement was made possible by:

Carbon-negative regenerative merino wool upper: Grown on Lake Hawea Station (LHS) in New Zealand.
Carbon-negative sugarcane-based foam midsole: While most industry foams are primarily synthetic, Allbirds’s newly-developed SuperLight Foam boasts 80% bio content.
Carbon-negative bioplastic eyelets: Allbirds has teamed up with Mango Materials to deploy an innovative new process that uses microorganisms to convert methane—the greenhouse gas sheep release when they burp—into a form of polymer that can be molded like other plastics, without the corresponding carbon footprint.
The most carbon-efficient packaging Allbirds has ever had: With reduced space and weight required to transport—made with sugarcane-derived, carbon-negative Green PE.
Carbon-conscious transportation: A considered transportation plan with biofuel-powered ocean shipping and electric trucking from port to warehouse.

According to a press statement, Allbirds is working in partnership with Lake Hawea Station and The New Zealand Merino Company to pioneer a new method of quantifying a product’s carbon footprint "that accounts for materials and processes that capture carbon, as well as those that emit, to provide a more holistic view of emissions and, therefore, a more accurate picture of a product’s climate impact."

“We believe this will revolutionize the path to net zero, and act as rocket fuel for the entire industry. We could spend decades debating the finer points of carbon sequestration, or we can innovate today with a common sense approach,” says Hana Kajimura, head of sustainability at Allbirds. “It’s about progress, not perfection. The scientists have shown us what’s possible—now it’s time for the fashion industry to carry the open-sourced learnings from M0.0NSHOT forward.”

the back of a white hightop sneaker with a yellow logo


M0.0NSHOT will launch in June when Allbirds reveals the shoe for the first time at the Global Fashion Summit in Copenhagen.

In the meantime, to learn more about M0.0NSHOT and how the company accounted for net zero, visit Allbirds.