The Gumbies Sustainability Journey

From sneakerheads to red-bottom-obsessed fashionistas, shoes are a massive part of all of our lives. Shoes take up a huge part of our style and our wardrobes, but somehow it’s still hard to find a pair that look good yet remain sustainable. Finding shoes that are both comfortable and stylish, good for the planet and good for your feet… they’ve become something of a myth. The shoes you wear become as much a piece of your character and personality as well as our *ahem* sole *ahem* mode of transport. 

You may have heard of fast fashion before, which refers to trending clothes that are often cheap to make and incredibly harmful to the planet. Sure, it can be fun to play around with clothing and there’s certainly nothing wrong with inexpensive items. But when the new trends come along, a lot of the old ones end up in landfills. Not only that, but the process of manufacturing it is an often wasteful process too.

And unfortunately, the impact of that extends to footwear. A lot of the time, shoes can be wasteful to produce and usually aren’t recyclable. Want the good news? Gumbies aren’t like that. In fact, when Gumbies was born in 2006, we knew we wanted to make sure every person who walked a mile in them knew they had done something amazing for themselves and for the planet. From that single spark of an idea to holding a pair of Gumbies in our hands, we made a commitment to sustainability from the bottom to the top. 

Take our Gumbies Islander Flip-Flops, for example. Their straps have recycled textiles woven into them to provide strength and structure meaning you can wear them on your adventures again and again. Each pair features special outsoles made from recycled and natural materials.

Plus, age is never an issue with them. Like best mates, they get more familiar over time - ensuring you get the very best out of your pair. Fashion, function, sustainability. We’ve got it all.

Now, we’re not claiming we’re perfectly sustainable by any means. But we have made a Sustainability Pledge from day one to ensure we’re doing the most we can, always. 

Starting with our supply chain. We are committed to operate under Fairtrade regulations and ensure all our factories are BSCI compliant. Each of our factories are continuously audited by the Amfori network too - a company who does good for the people and the planet, believing that that's just as important as revenue when it comes to business. We know these all sound a bit scary and complicated, but when you get into the nitty-gritty it just means we're as ethical, transparent and sustainable as possible. 

From the moment our shoes are shipped over, we’ve considered how we can reduce our emissions into the atmosphere. For example, you can choose to get your order in a gift box if you want, but we no longer place all Gumbies orders into boxes. Why? Simple. Less room taken up in containers means we can ship more at once, meaning less trips and less Co2 emissions. Since swapping to this we’ve reduced our need for 2-3 shipping containers to just one! 

Something we’re especially proud of is our nifty little ways of reducing the use of single use plastic too. Because in our eyes, single use is no use! All our Gumbies products come in resealable and reusable bags, plus, they’re also 100% recyclable! When you order from Gumbies, your order is posted in a courier package made from 100% recycled consumer waste. Reason enough to be proud, right?

We’ve even thought about what happens after your Gumbies shoes have lived their full and happy lives. With over 2 million pairs of shoes being thrown into landfills every week in the UK, we knew we didn’t want to contribute to that.  Unfortunately, most footwear brands still use materials that are non-sustainable too, therefore a pair of shoes can end up in the landfill for another 80 years before they’re even broken down.

There are so many other ways you could part with your Gumbies. Taking them to charity shops (if they’re still in wearable condition, of course), shoe banks and shoe recycling centres, and stores like H&M, Levi’s, Marks & Spencers and Schuh who have recycling schemes in stores where you can exchange your old stuff for vouchers. 

We’re consistently committed to making better choices for us as a company, our consumers and the beautiful planet we all live on together. That’s why in March of 2021 we partnered with Verdn. For every order you place with Gumbies, they plant a mangrove tree on your behalf in either Madagascar, Mozambique, or Kenya! Pretty cool, right? 

Mangrove forests are essential ecosystems whose dense roots serve as an anchor for the soil and coastline, preventing erosion and creating a barrier between harsh ocean systems and land. They even store four times as much carbon as tropical rainforests, making them an important tool to mitigate climate change. Just one single mangrove tree can remove over 300 kg of CO2 from the atmosphere, assuming it grows for 25 years. That is roughly 12 kg of CO2 per year.

And so far, thanks to you, Verdn have planted 10,659 trees and 127908 kg of CO₂ has been removed from the atmosphere annually. We’re also pretty proud to say we recycle a huge 95% of our waste. It’s not bad! But it’s also not quite good enough for us. We’ve got our Gumbies firmly on and we’re taking big strides toward that 100% mark - reducing waste, our footprint and doing the best we can on our #GumbiesJourneys.