Cushion, responsiveness, and sustainability — the Ghost 14 has it all
July 1, 2021|By Brooks Staff
This fan-favorite carbon neutral running shoe is helping Brooks down a science-backed path to net zero carbon emissions by 2040.
Our work towards a healthier planet
We love that sweet, sweet oxygen we breathe on the run, so we owe it to the planet to minimize the emissions we produce in manufacturing our shoes and gear. At Brooks, we believe climate change demands urgent and universal action. We are committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040 — ten years ahead of the goal set by The Paris Agreement.
To achieve this ambitious goal, we first prioritize reducing our carbon emissions by converting materials in our product to recycled alternatives, using low impact dyeing processes, and sourcing materials and our product from factories that use renewable energy. As we move along this path, we recognize we will continue to emit carbon emissions and we hold ourselves responsible to address this impact.
That’s why we compensate for the carbon emissions we have not yet reduced with carbon offsets.
What does CO₂e mean?
CO₂e or carbon dioxide equivalent, is a standard unit for measuring carbon footprints. This allows us to report on all greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) as a single number.
Impact of the Ghost 14
At Brooks, we’ve started with our highest-volume style — the Ghost 14 — as our first carbon neutral product. Our commitment is ongoing, so when the Ghost 15, 16, and beyond hit stores, we’ll continue to make the Ghost a carbon neutral shoe through efforts to reduce our emissions and carbon offsetting.
The carbon emissions of the Ghost 14 are 10.34 kg CO₂eq. To understand this impact, we performed a life cycle impact assessment utilizing the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology, the current standard of the European Commission. The carbon impact includes the full lifecycle of the Ghost 14 shoe: production of materials, assembly of product, packaging, distribution, and end-of-life.
Loved by runners for its smooth ride, the Ghost is all about balance, but what makes the Ghost 14 special is its environmental footprint. Our efforts to make the Ghost 14 carbon neutral started with reducing its carbon emissions. Almost all upper textiles have now been converted to contain a minimum of 30% recycled polyester, and many are 100% recycled polyester — including the sockliner top cloth, tongue lining, toe box reinforcement, and more.
We then compensate for the remaining carbon emissions we have not yet been able to reduce with carbon offsets to make an immediate impact to help address climate change.
So what are carbon offsets?
Carbon offsets come from projects that avoid, remove, or reduce carbon from the atmosphere through actions like renewable energy investments, reduction of our reliance on fossil fuel energy, new forest growth, and land use change.
Here’s how it works:
Think of a set of scales. First, add a pair of Ghosts to one of the scales. That pair represents all carbon emissions from a Ghost 14: materials, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, and end-of-life. Then, start to tip the scale by reducing carbon emissions. For example, we focus on converting traditional materials to recycled alternatives that have lower carbon emissions. Finally, we balance the scale with carbon offsetting.
How we choose carbon offset projects
Not all offset projects are equal. Our approach to ensure quality includes purchasing credits from projects that meet leading international standards within the voluntary carbon offset market (Verra, Gold Standard, ACR, and others), which ensure the carbon credits are additional, permanent, quantifiable, and verifiable.
Additionally, we carefully selected our carbon offsetting partners, as they go the extra mile by undertaking additional due diligence beyond these standards to manage potential risks and maintain quality.
Finally, we prioritize projects that align with climate science, and lead to clear social and environmental impact, such as improving air quality and health and well-being.
We currently purchase carbon credits from projects that avoid carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere. We believe this has an immediate impact in addressing climate change and aligns with the current Net Zero guidance from the Science Based Targets initiative. Our long-term approach to achieve net zero carbon emissions is to transition to purchasing carbon credits from projects that remove emissions from the atmosphere.
Carbon Offsets for the Ghost 14
In partnership with ClimateCare, we selected four projects that meet our strict criteria and purchased enough credits from these projects to compensate for the carbon emissions for each pair of Ghost 14s we produce.
Our portfolio includes projects from the U.S., where Brooks is headquartered and a majority of our product is sold, and countries where we have Brooks employees and some of our product and materials are manufactured. Each of these projects provides additional environmental and social benefits – including a focus on improving air quality and advancing health and well-being for all.
Crow Lake Wind Farm, U.S.
Overview: A large-scale, co-operative owned wind farm set across 14,500 hectares generating low-carbon electricity. The 108 wind turbines generate renewable energy that provides electricity to 2.8 million customers.
Overview: 8,600 acres of privately owned forest in the north eastern corner of Tennessee, purchased to create a better and more sustainable forest that can support healthy wildlife and be enjoyed by recreationists for many years to come. Without carbon finance, alternative sources of income could be silvicultral practices, or sale for intensive mangement or development.
Overview: This project supports farmers in rural China to build and maintain household biogas digesters which replace traditional heating and cooking that uses coal, enabling long-term access to a source of renewable, clean fuel for cooking and heating.
Overview: The Gyapa is an efficient cookstove that replaces traditional cookstoves or open fires used for cooking and heating. The Gyapa cookstove requires 46% less fuel, generates less smoke, and cooks food more quickly, cutting carbon emissions and exposure to toxic fumes.