Get sustainable or die trying – Icebug to become the first climate positive outdoor footwear brand

Icebug has been empowering people to get outdoors since 2001.

Next step: Climate positive 2020.

– We’re willing to invest all of the profit into this change to become sustainable. After all, that’s a small price for doing all that we can to stay within a safe temperature for the planet, David Ekelund, CEO of Icebug, says.

Talking about sustainability, the starting point has to be that we need to consume less to get within what the planet can regenerate. From a brand perspective, that means making things that people need. In the case of Icebug, that is footwear that can cope with cold, wet and slippery conditions. Next, it’s about making stuff that people can and want to use for a long time and do it in the best possible way.

– To become a sustainable company has been our target for a long time, and we have done a lot of good work already when it comes to decreasing negative impact, but climate positive 2020 is the game changer, David Ekelund says.

This is truly a leap towards unknown ground, and the big question is: Can such a small company do this in such a complex and difficult industry?


Icebugs answer is yes. The Swedish company will, to our knowledge, become the first climate positive outdoor footwear brand. Our pledge for 2020 looks like this:

What’s left of carbon emissions after minimizing non-renewable resource and energy use, Icebug will off-set and overcompensate by 10%. We include all our activities in this: Products, logistics, operations. We will also fully integrate the climate cost into our core business model, and put it right into the calculation of prices. We’re willing to invest all of the profit into this change to become fully sustainable.


– We’re not perfect, and right now we don’t exactly know what our footprint is, or how to get to climate positive. But we’ve made a conscious choice not to wait to talk about this until it’s a done deal. We want this process to be transparent, since we don’t have any interest in doing this alone. We want others to be able to hold us accountable, and we want to give other companies the opportunity to join us as soon as possible, David Ekelund says.


To be climate positive 2020 Icebug will have to offset. It will mean getting a clear idea of what the carbon footprint is and then compensate that with an extra 10% added, in projects which reduce CO2 emissions.


Offsetting is not a green card to carry on with business as usual. The process will involve setting a data-based baseline for actual emissions caused and then ambitious targets for reducing these. It will also not narrow down Icebug’s scope for the sustainability work to just be about climate; it will still be based on the four principles of sustainability of the natural step (


We firmly acknowledge that the climate is not the only planetary boundary that human activity is in high risk of passing. But at this point, the scope of the pledge is for the climate, because there is a mechanism to change CO2 emissions into money, which means that it can be built into the core of the business model. This also means that it has potential to fundamentally change the way we do business.

And offsetting also isn’t a letter of indulgence. To offset emissions that you have created with a surplus helps to improve the skewed balance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

– If we can succeed in getting climate positive, most brands around us can – if they want to, Ekelund says.


Icebug is an outdoor brand, and as such we believe that we have an extra obligation to take care of nature. And that outdoor customers will expect outdoor brands to take that responsibility.

– The more successful we are with this, the more incentives and pressure for our colleagues will increase. If the first phase is a brand being chosen by more people because it does good sustainability work, then in the next phase a brand that doesn’t reach the sustainability bar is not on the table to be selected at all. That’s when change gets disruptive.

– Alone, we are small, but if we can prove to other giants in the industry that this is actually good for the business in the long run, then we have made a real impact, Ekelund says.


Read more about Icebugs sustainability work and how we are doing right now at


About Icebug

Icebug is a Swedish shoe company that back in 2001 started to challenge the global footwear giants with new innovative traction technologies. The reason why Icebug started was the frustration of having to choose between slipping or saying no to outdoor activities because of the risk of slipping. Icebug traction technologies enable people to enjoy outdoor activities all year around, no matter the conditions.

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