The first upcycling certification program to reduce industrial waste, the Harvest Certification creates a platform for transparency to make it easier for consumers to both identify and make environmental choices.
The global footwear brand that’s on a mission to make the outside inclusive and accessible to all announces it will expand its Detox the Planet Initiative with the debut of the KEEN Harvest Certified Program, a tiered program designed to reduce industrial waste by upcycling it into shoes. The initiative builds on KEEN’s growing Harvest offering, which now provides transparency into how much industrial waste is upcycled into its shoes. The goal is ultimately to relieve pressure on global landfills and minimize the use of virgin materials, while emitting less greenhouse gas emissions. While the program has already begun, KEEN intends to share the details of this process at the beginning of 2022.
“We first launched Harvest products 15 years ago using industrial waste from the rice industry,” said Erik Burbank, vice president of The KEEN Effect.
“Harvest is about upcycling industrial waste that would otherwise go to landfills, instead creating something new and useful, while lowering the demand for new material in the production process. We’re certifying Harvest products to both provide transparency to fans and to demystify and encourage other brands to help attack the industrial waste problem.”
It is widely estimated that 97% of waste comes from industrial sources versus approximately 3% from post-consumer sources. Much of the world’s solid waste goes directly to landfills, a leading source of manmade methane, an incredibly potent greenhouse gas.
“Less waste in landfills, less virgin materials sourced, less greenhouse gasses emitted – it’s a trifecta of benefits for the planet,” continued Burbank.
“We’re continuing our research on new Harvest materials, refining the overall model, and plan to open-source the program in early 2022. This isn’t about creating a competitive advantage for KEEN. We hope to see other brands adopt and even improve on what we’re doing and, in turn, share their learnings with others. We need to work collectively if we want to create real change.”
A three-tiered system
Specifically, the KEEN Harvest Certification Program features three levels of certification: Gold (greater than 50% upcycled materials); Silver (greater than 25%); and Bronze (greater than 10%). The ratings provide greater transparency with respect to the percentage of waste upcycled into shoes. The first shoe with this certification is set for launch this November 2021. The model, Howser Harvest, is Gold certified using upcycled car seat leather in 80% of the upper.
For spring ‘22, The Harvest Collection will expand with several new members like the Howser Harvest Sandal for men and women, the Elsa sneakers for women, and additional Howser Harvest slip-on and lace-up styles for men and women. Select new models will additionally feature upcycled waste coffee grounds, helping to keep coffee grounds out of landfills where they create methane emissions, a greenhouse gas known to be more harmful than carbon dioxide, another greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
ABOUT DETOX THE PLANET INITIATIVE
KEEN’s Detox the Planet Initiative was established in 2012 to take proactive action to identify and remove harmful chemicals in its supply chain and replace them with safe and effective alternatives.
Committed to eliminating everything that shouldn’t be in KEEN products and discovering eco-friendly alternatives, the manufacturing process is PFC free, uses an anti-microbial free odor control approach and they only partner with environmentally preferred Leather Working Group certified tanneries. They are also increasing the use of upcycled and recycled materials for a more circular product life cycle, along with other processes to lessen the impact on the planet.