Axel Arigato Introduces New Sustainability Strategy

Swedish footwear and apparel label Axel Arigato Thursday laid out Our: Tomorrow, a new sustainability strategy, in its annual sustainability report, which also details the brand’s efforts around positivity, inclusivity and experience creation in the past year.

The business-wide strategy, which aims to minimize the impact on the environment, people, animals, and the future, comes with three main pillars: climate, creations and community.

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The brand said these pillars are underpinned by the latest environmental, social and governance developments in the territories the brand trades in, which include nine stores and six concessions across five countries. The brand is looking to open a store in New York this year.

Under the climate pillar, the brand aims to minimize the negative impact it has on the natural world. It said it strives to measure and report on its corporate carbon footprint and find ways to decarbonize its operations responsibly.

To do so Axel Arigato partnered with Vaayu, an automated software that empowers retail brands to cut environmental impact in real-time. Through Vaayu’s technology, the brand was able to identify that purchased goods and services, as well as upstream transportation and distribution, were the biggest emitting categories.

Axel Arigato, sneakers
Axel Arigato, sneakers

The brand said it began to phase out operations in its original Swedish warehouse, as it opened new warehouses this year in Germany and the U.S. Since the new locations are closer to its core and up-and-coming key markets, the brand believes this shift should help drive down emissions.

On a retail level, the brand has been switching from high intensity discharge (HID) to LED lights to reduce corporate energy consumption. It has also prioritized using sustainably sourced construction materials and reusing or upcycling items for store interiors.

The creations pillar outlines how the brand can offer products that are “better for the environment, the people, the animals, and the future.”

The brand has rolled out an internal materials strategy across both footwear and ready-to-wear in which materials are categorized via a bespoke grading system.

Axel Arigato, Court sneaker, sneakers
Axel Arigato’s new Court sneaker. Courtesy of Axel Arigato

For leather sourcing, the brand said it is close to achieving the goal of 100 percent gold- or silver-certified pieces from Leather Working Group-approved tanneries.

Some of the outsoles of styles such as Dice, Clean 90, and Astro are designed with 20 percent recycled rubber, upcycled from would-be factory waste.

The brand claimed that the use of at least 20 percent recycled content in the outsole may reduce its raw material footprint by around 34 percent.

This year it also rolled out a risk assessment questionnaire to key suppliers in Portugal, Turkey, Italy, China and Vietnam to learn about their labor practices, factory capacity and any third-party accreditations.

By the end of 2025, Axel Arigato said it aims to have 100 percent traceability across its supply chains.

Axel Arigato, Court sneaker, sneakers
Axel Arigato’s new Court sneaker. Courtesy of Axel Arigato

In the area of circularity, the brand said it shifted its focus from the now-paused customer-to-customer exchange platform Xchange to expanding the monthly in-store Sneaker Cleaning Church events to help customers extend the lifespan of their sneakers.

In this area the brand also collaborated with Transparent on a limited run of speakers crafted from rubber sourced from defective Axel Arigato sneaker soles during the manufacturing process.

With the last pillar, community, the brand said it will continue to host external events and various activations to engage with loyal customers, event goers, internal staff, and investors. In 2023, the brand hosted 139 events across nine countries, released a podcast, and created a platform to support emerging artists.

Albin Johansson, chief executive officer and cofounder of Axel Arigato, said Our: Tomorrow represents a unified response that looks at the successes of the company’s previous reports while acknowledging the numerous growing challenges that it faces.

“As we enter a new year, incidentally our 10-year anniversary, our commitment to building a better future remains resolute. Through these continued reporting structures, we aim to hold ourselves accountable and renew our commitment to the generations of tomorrow,” added Johansson.

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