An open letter (and friendly challenge) to the Outdoor Industry from ICEBUG

An open letter (and friendly challenge) to the Outdoor Industry from ICEBUG:


In March 2019 Icebug became the world’s first climate positive outdoor footwear brand.

Does this mean that the race is won?

Far from it. At most, it means that we were first out the gates, but we all need to start running to get to the goal in time.

So we call for action: Come and make us change our sign which says “the only climate positive option” during OutDoor by ISPO 2019!

The outdoor industry – nor any other industry – will be able to exist in the future, if we don’t start ramping up our climate action. As people who live by and for the outdoors, our industry has a special responsibility to take the lead.

Sustainability work is often quite a grind and progress is made in small steps, long development cycles, and global supply chains make it slow.

When we decided by the end of last summer to become climate positive by 2020, we really threw ourselves out into the unknown, but fully expecting it to become a lot of work and a substantial cost.

Instead, it turned out to be something of a hack.

When we found UNFCC’s Climate Neutral Now initiative, it formulated the pledge much better than we had managed to do ourselves, with the crucial parts Measure-Reduce-Offset.

We also found that offsetting directly in the projects (with the UN’s CDM approval to ensure scientific based integrity) was almost shockingly low cost. So, in June, we also decided to offset for the whole history of the company.

We asked ourselves in disbelief, “If it’s this cheap, how come everybody aren’t doing it already?”

Of course, one reason is that it’s easy first when you have to do the grinding work beforehand, to get emission data from your supply chain that will at least allow you to make a good enough estimate of the total. At Icebug we don’t have exact LCA data, but we decided not to wait for that until since we do in fact know that we cause emissions and that offsetting it will have a positive effect on the greenhouse gas balance in the atmosphere. (We chose instead to take extra height for how much emissions we offset for.) Offsetting can’t in any way replace the other sustainability work needed and taking the Climate Neutral Now pledge is only one step in the climate work. Next is reporting publicly, which will help us as an industry to develop benchmarks and find the best practice, and to find ways to reduce all possible emissions. (We would very much look forward around uniting forces to request Tier 1 and Tier 2 factories to become more energy efficient and change from fossil fuel to renewable energy power.)

That said, we do know that we have a lot of colleagues in the outdoor industry that have excellent sustainability work and ambitious climate agendas. And if we can do it, everybody can.

So the question remains: How come everybody aren’t doing it already?

Let’s join on the UNFCC’s platform, take the Climate Neutral Now pledge, and make the Outdoor Industry a leader in climate action that puts pressure on the fashion and sports industry to ramp up their climate ambition too!

In the meantime, come by ICEBUG at OutDoor by ISPO 2019. We’ll be showing our SS20 collection, which we believe is the most sustainable outdoor footwear collection developed so far – we appreciate that to be challenged to make it even more sustainable. We will also be glad to share more about the hack we found and look forward to changing our “THE ONLY CLIMATE POSITIVE OPTION”-sign when other brands join Climate Neutral Now.



David Ekelund,

Co-founder, co-owner and CEO of Icebug


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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