EMMA Safety Footwear – sustainable safety shoes
Back in 1931, EMMA was founded as a social enterprise for injured workers from the Dutch State Mines. Hence, social entrepreneurship is in the DNA of EMMA Safety Footwear. Today, EMMA still has about 100 people employed who need some additional support in the labour market. Making sustainable safety shoes was, therefore, a logical next step is EMMA’s journey towards a ‘positive footprint’.
In collaboration with FBBasic, EMMA Safety Footwear has produced the world’s first circular safety shoe in 2018. Since then, EMMA has replaced all its materials in its full collection for more sustainable substitutes. All materials in the collection are now recyclable. The product developers at EMMA also continuously take steps to further increase the lifespan of the products by making use of more durable materials and constructions.
EMMA already makes use of laces that are made of PET bottles and also the inlay soles are for 80% made of recycled materials. The shoes are free from PVC. The leather used comes from a tannery that is Gold certified by the Leather Working Group, which shows that 100% of the leather used for the EMMA shoes came from tanneries that gave the Leather Working Group (LWG) a Gold rating for their progressive water, energy, chemicals and waste management practices. All leather cutting waste is processed into fertilizers.
Moreover, EMMA is the only shoe manufacturer in the Dutch Agreement of Sustainable Textiles, which means that EMMA conducts risks analysis on its supply chain and continuously takes the next steps to further improve labour conditions throughout its supply chain, its purchasing practices and animal welfare. EMMA’s upper suppliers all offer a living wage to their employees. Another focal point of EMMA is reducing harmful chemicals to a minimum.
Moreover, EMMA’s production facility is ISO 14001 certified and EMMA’s production is based on solar energy. All EMMA’s polyurethane production waste (more than 27.000 kilograms in 2019) is collected and re-used in isolation materials.
EMMA is a member of the Circular Footwear Alliance, which means that that the materials from your used shoes can begin the recycling process to new products and applications. In this way, valuable raw materials are no longer wasted! Next, use applications are made from the products that have been returned, based on both recycled components and raw materials. All EMMA shoes are supplied with a materials passport, so that identification and follow-up of the products remain possible and value is maintained. The cooperating companies in the Circular Footwear Alliance, focus on Social Return on Investment (SROI), by employing people with a distance to the labour market in production, reverse logistics, sorting and production of follow-on products. EMMA Safety Footwear, together with FBBasic, has developed a long-term roadmap for the transition of both products and business operations.
EMMA Safety Footwear is a brand of the Hultafors Group