Ethics & The Environment

Manufacturing Ethics

We pride ourselves on the quality of all inov-8 products and we have an ethical approach to their production at every stage. We are a responsible trading partner and have invested significantly in supporting the factory in China with technical knowledge, manufacturing techniques and other support. The factory is one of the largest employers in the local area and contributes to developing the local economy. Using a highly skilled manufacturing process (whilst trying to minimize our impact on the environment), this factory prides themselves on offering:

  • No employees under 18 years old
  • Internal training and development opportunities
  • Very low staff turnover
  • Good working conditions in a safe working environment
  • Excellent extraction facilities, "better than any factory we have seen in Europe"
  • Above average salaries for the area
  • Employee accommodation where possible
  • Canteen with menu
  • Some sports facilities
  • Recycling of water, metal, rubber, paper and some upper materials where possible

Inov-8, the Environment And Climate Change

The environment matters to inov-8. We recognise that in order to be a successful business, we have to be realistic in the steps that we take to make the best running shoes in the world. But that doesn't stop us finding practical and creative solutions to environmental protection issues wherever we can. Our first priority is to understand where we should focus our attention so the environmental impact of our products is as low as possible. We then find practical and creative solutions in our search for improvements, especially in those areas that we feel matter most. Our approach takes a lot of effort and incurs a financial cost, but, more often than not, we have found that having concern for the environment leads us to smarter ways of working that actually save money while reducing our environmental impact.

Understanding our ‘Ecological Footprint'

Inov-8 wanted to know where we could look for changes so our activities would have the lowest environmental impact possible. To do this we set up an environmental “audit system” to investigate every aspect of our business, using the technique of ecological foot printing. Ecological foot printing expresses the environmental impact of every aspect of our products and activity as an equivalent area of the earth's surface that would be required, in a sustainable world, to regenerate the resources that are used for our products and activities.

Summary of our ecological footprint impact

  • Overall, 65% of inov-8's carbon footprint resulted from staff travel. Overseas flights accounted for most of this. Car journeys were also significant.
  • Freight is responsible for just 16% of our total carbon footprint.
  • The shoe materials themselves and their manufacture account for only 14% of our total impact. They are lightweight shoes made from light weight materials that produce the minimum of waste.
  • Careful shoe box design has meant that packaging only accounts for less than 3% of our total impact.
  • Our lean offices and warehouse facilities account just 1.4% of the total.

Current Practical Steps

  • Renewable Electricity: inov-8 will be investigating the possibility of using electricity that comes from 100% renewable sources for our office and warehouse facilities.
  • Reduced impact freight: At inov-8, only urgent samples are transported by air. We have reduced road freight by shipping direct from the factories nearest local sea port. This has reduced over 1000 miles of road travel.
  • Low use of cars: At inov-8 we keep car usage to a minimum. We avoid issuing personal company cars and encourage our staff to find alternative methods of travel and transportation.
  • Lean, green packaging: We use lightweight shoe boxes made from recycled materials and are recyclable. The local school even uses some of them for storing craft materials. We keep print on the boxes to a minimum reducing the use of chemical inks. We are currently investigating improvements to our bulk boxes and exploring ways of cutting out the use of boxes altogether.
  • Smart after-sales. Any shoes that are returned to shops (and we don't get many) are assessed using digital photography wherever possible. This saves, time, transportation and postage and reduces CO 2 emissions.
  • Minimising materials wastage: We have cut rubber and plastic waste to an absolute minimum of our total usage. We have reduced our EVA wastage to a minimum which is then recycled and used in the manufacture of children's footwear.
  • Recycling : In our office, paper and card are recycled along with the shoe boxes, of course.