Sustainability Matters: Dahsheng Chemical Debuts Performance Insole Made With Coffee Grounds + More News

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FN highlights the latest sustainable initiatives this year, including product launches, material innovations and corporate strategies. Send your news to

May 25, 2023: Performance foam manufacturer Dahsheng Chemical (DSC) has introduced Dreamcell Xpresso, a new foam technology made with 20 percent spent coffee grounds. The eco-friendly insole is intended to provide both performance and comfort, while also reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Johnson Chang, CEO of Dahsheng Chemical, said in a statement, “With Dreamcell Xpresso, we can extend the life cycle and support a circular economy that benefits both manufacturers and consumers without compromising on comfort and performance.” DSC expects to produce 300,000 Dreamcell Xpresso insoles this year, recycling approximately 0.657 metric tons of spent coffee grounds, thereby preventing the creation of 0.16 metric tons of methane emissions in landfills (that’s equivalent to 4 metric tons of CO2). The company also noted that the coffee grounds provide the insoles with bonus odor- and moisture-controlling features.

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The Dreamcell Xpresso performance insole made with 20% spent coffee grounds. - Credit: Courtesy of Dahsheng Chemical
The Dreamcell Xpresso performance insole made with 20% spent coffee grounds. - Credit: Courtesy of Dahsheng Chemical

Courtesy of Dahsheng Chemical

April 24, 2023: Having worked to limit its emissions and offset its footprint with eligible-verified credits, La Sportiva North America announced that it is Climate Neutral Certified. “As an organization that was born in the mountains, we feel that it is our responsibility to reduce our environmental impact where possible and offset our remaining footprint,” La Sportiva North America president Jonathan Lantz said in a statement. “To put it simply, it’s just the right thing to do. We are very proud of the efforts that we have made here, but we know that there is more work to be done.” Having this certification from the nonprofit organization that works to eliminate carbon emissions, La Sportiva North America said in a statement, is the latest step in reducing its impact on the environment and making climate action a central aspect of its business model. The offset, according to the brand, accounts for every item brought into the U.S. and Canada, and the brand garners credits “by investing in projects that cover emissions generated from material production, transportation and manufacturing.” As a part of its carbon offset initiatives, La Sportiva North America said it is supporting several projects throughout the world. These include partnering with global sustainability and environmental solutions company ClimeCo in the selection of these carbon offset project options; assisting the Sichuan Furong Coal Mine Methane Utilization Project, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions by capturing and using coal mine methane for power generation; assisting with the Cordillera Azul National Park REDD+ Project in Central Peru that works to avoid deforestation in the Cordillera Azul National Park; and working with the Crow Lake Wind Project, which generates emissions reductions by displacing grid-connected sources through the production of renewable wind energy.

April 17, 2023: Oregon-based footwear company Softstar Shoes announced it has been certified as a B Corp. Sustainability has long been a cornerstone of the company’s mission. Tim Oliver founded the brand in 1985, using a broken-down school bus as his shoe-making workshop, where he made healthy shoes for his daughter. Now led by CEO Tricia Salcido, Softstar produces high-quality footwear at its 12,000-square-foot, energy-efficient workshop in rural Oregon and continues to support its employees, the environment and the local community. For instance, the company donates all revenue from scrap-made pet toys to charity and has been one of Oregon’s 100 greenest companies for eight years in a row.

Softstar Shoes has been certified as a B Corp - Credit: Courtesy of Softstar Shoes
Softstar Shoes has been certified as a B Corp - Credit: Courtesy of Softstar Shoes

Courtesy of Softstar Shoes

April 12, 2023: PrimaLoft Inc. has created a new insulation made with Ocean Bound Plastic (at-risk plastic collected near coastlines to prevent it from reaching the ocean). The company’s new high-performance insulation is made from 100% post-consumer recycled content, with 60% of that recycled material coming from plastic bottles sourced within a 30-mile radius of coastal areas. The process has been certified by third-party social enterprise OceanCycle. The first companies to use the PrimaLoft insulation with Ocean Bound Plastic are Helly Hansen, which has incorporated the material into its ski collection; and Isbjörn of Sweden, which will feature it in its exclusive online apparel collection this winter.

March 29, 2023: GoldToe Socks, a division of Gildan Activewear Inc., has launched a Free Recycling Program in partnership with TerraCycle. The program will offer people an easy way to recycle used socks from any brand, which will then be made into new products. In return, users are rewarded with points that can be turned into donations to nonprofits, schools or the charitable organizations of their choice. To participate, consumers can mail in used socks via a prepaid shipping label found on the TerraCycle website. Once collected, the fabrics are separated into their respective categories (polyesters, cottons, etc.) and reused, upcycled, or recycled as appropriate.

March 13, 2023: OrthoLite today announced an exclusive partnership with biochemical firm Novamont to support the creation of OrthoLite Cirql, the company’s circular foam material solution for footwear. Last year, OrthoLite announced the development of Cirql, an eco-friendly foam meant to be biodegradable, recyclable and industrially compostable and that can be used make midsoles, the core cushioning component in shoes. In its latest announcement, it said Novamont Research tailor made the bio-polymer material for Cirql’s chemical-free foaming process, which uses nitrogen (from the air we breathe) combined with renewable energy. OrthoLite said it sought out Novamont for its 30 years of experience in the development of chemical and biotechnological processes to create low-impact certified biodegradable and compostable solutions with multiple end of life options for everyday life. The company also noted that OrthoLite Cirql is moving from the lab into production scale in the back half of 2023.

March 9, 2023: Oboz is now B Corp certified, a journey the Bozeman, Mont.-based outdoor brand began in 2021. “Achieving B Corp certification is an incredible milestone and the culmination of our team’s hard work and ongoing collaborations across our entire network of suppliers and partners,” Oboz president Amy Beck said in a statement. “B Corp certification is another step in a long journey to becoming the best corporate and global citizen we can be.” To achieve B Corp status, which is given to for-profit organizations, a company must document its positive impact via the B Impact Assessment. The assessment, according to nonprofit network B Lab, is divided into five “Impact Areas” that include Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers. In a statement, Oboz — which has planted a tree for every pair of shoes sold and has planted more than 5 million trees to date — has identified climate, circularity and community as its initial areas for improvement. For climate and circularity, the brand said it is focusing on material choices and science-aligned targets and emission reductions within its operations and value chain. For community, Oboz stated it is working to expand its healthcare benefits offering and is working to increase employee diversity, among other community related goals.

Feb. 7, 2023: Children’s brand Stride Rite, a division of Wolverine Worldwide, has unveiled two new eco-conscious kids’ sneakers as part of its Stride Forward collection. The new styles include the Sprout for first walkers and the Fern for toddlers. Both retail for $50 and feature an upper made of chrome-free suede and twill composed of 30% seaweed fiber and 70% organic cotton, and their slip-resistant outsoles contain 10% recycled rubber. The Stride Forward collection launched last year with the Stride Rite 360 Aseel sneaker, which uses materials from recycled plastic bottles. To date, 43,764 bottles have been recycled through production. The new Sprout and Fern are available now at and select independently owned Stride Rite retail stores.

Jan. 18, 2023: Sock maker Renfro Brands has selected TrusTrace as the partner to support its traceability efforts. TrusTrace CEO and co-founder Shameek Ghosh said in a statement, “Using the TrusTrace platform, Renfro Brands will be able to centralize its current supply chain data for continued compliance with laws such as the UFLPA, as well as measure and document progress towards its sustainability goals.” Renfro has already made progress in its environmental mission. All of its suppliers have achieved at least one sustainable certification, including OEKO-TEX, GRS and ISO, and 30% of its packaging components are recyclable or reusable — with the goal of reaching 100% by 2030. Renfro also aims to use sustainable yarns and materials in 100% of the products it produces by 2030.

Jan. 17, 2023: As part of its ongoing sustainability initiative, J.Crew announced it has launched two new endeavors. First, the retailer is partnering with ThredUp to launch a 360-resale program designed to keep product out of landfills and encourage circular wardrobes. Customers can now buy and resell gently-worn J.Crew women’s and kids’ items online at and receive J.Crew shopping credit for items sold. Additionally, the company is launching J.Crew Vintage, a curated selection of some of its best womenswear looks that will be sold in its Fifth Avenue store in New York. Featured looks include the 1990s cotton sweater vest, 1980s cropped jean jacket, 1990s denim skirt and more.

Jan. 9, 2023: Rack Room Shoes has launched a new initiative with recycling partner Sneaker Impact. Customers can now donate gently worn sneakers by placing them in a collection box at any Rack Room Shoes location to reduce waste across the company’s footprint, which spans more than 500 communities and 36 states. Sneaker Impact will collect and upcycle the donated shoes throughout the year and ship them to developing countries around the globe, providing footwear to people in need while creating jobs in the marketplace. Sneaker Impact will also donate $1 for every pair of footwear collected to Shoes That Fit, a nonprofit organization that has a longstanding partnership with Rack Room.

Rack Room Shoes partnered with Sneaker Impact to recycle used shoes. - Credit: Courtesy of Rack Room Shoes
Rack Room Shoes partnered with Sneaker Impact to recycle used shoes. - Credit: Courtesy of Rack Room Shoes

Courtesy of Rack Room Shoes

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