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Sustainable consumption

Man on a path in the woods trail running

Our approach

At Brooks, we aim to reduce the environmental impact of our running gear. To do this, we’ve created our sustainable consumption strategy in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No.12: Responsible Consumption & Production. We take a holistic approach, managing the impact of our products on the planet across their lifecycles, from raw materials to product use and end-of-life. We’ve identified key interventions to address that impact: we minimise our reliance on non-renewable resources and use more sustainable materials in our product, minimise material waste generated during manufacturing, introduce a fully circular product and take responsibility for our product after its usable life.

Two runners on a gravel path on a sunny day

Our sustainable consumption efforts are guided by four objectives:

Convert to recycled and bio-based materials.

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Eliminate footwear manufacturing material waste sent to landfill or incineration.

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Transition to circular product.

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Take responsibility for our product at its end-of-life.

Read more

Convert to recycled and bio-based materials

Far away view of runner on a road during a cloudy day
Our target:

  • Source only materials with minimum a 50% recycled or bio-based content by 2030

We must replace conventional raw materials used in our product, such as polyester and ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), with recycled and bio-based alternatives. The change is critical to decouple our product from non-renewable finite resources that have a large environmental impact. Non-renewable resources will eventually become scarce, creating a risk to the future prosperity of our business.

Raw materials account for approximately 17% of our total greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint, so sourcing recycled and bio-based raw materials – which result in lower GHG emissions – will support our efforts to reduce our impact on climate change. Furthermore, sourcing recycled and bio-based raw materials supports our wider planet targets, including eliminating footwear manufacturing material waste sent to landfill or incineration and our transition to circular product.

For more information on how our targets apply to the materials used in Brooks product and Brooks’ policies related to more sustainable materials, see the Materials Sustainability Playbook

Our materials

We use a variety of different raw materials to make our footwear and clothing. We track the amount of each raw material used, to increase our understanding of the highest volume raw materials and focus our efforts on converting to recycled and bio-based sources.

Total raw materials by volume:

Colours representing raw materials by volume
Total raw materials by volume:
(33.9% EVA, 29.7% Polyester, 20.2% Rubber, 6.4% TPU, 4.9% PU, 2.5% Nylon, 1.7% Polyethylene, <1% other (Leather, Spandex, PTFE, PP, Polybutadiene, Cotton, Silicone, Lyocell, Wool)*
*Data includes raw material used in footwear and clothing products during calendar year 2023.

Strategies and roadmap:

To achieve our target, we need to source recycled or bio-based alternatives for each of the raw materials we use in our product. Some of these raw materials, such as polyester, already have solutions available, like recycled polyester. However, for other raw materials, recycled or bio-based alternatives may not yet be developed or readily available.

We’ve identified strategies that will help us start to work toward our long-term target – we recognise additional strategies will be needed and identified when new innovations are unlocked. Our roadmap to implement these strategies considers how well new recycled or bio-based materials meet our performance and quality standards, its commercial availability, its ability to be scaled across our entire product portfolio, and the time needed to innovate. As we move along this roadmap, partnerships and collaboration with suppliers will be important.

Key strategies on our roadmap include:

  • Convert all yarns in footwear and clothing to recycled or bio-based alternatives.
  • Convert upper footwear components such as construction foams, toe- and heel reinforcements and synthetic films and laminates to recycled or bio-based materials.
  • Incrementally increase recycled and/or biobased content in our midsole compounds, sockliner and strobel foams, and rubber outsole compounds, working toward a minimum 50% content by 2030.
  • Gradually increase recycled and/or biobased content in all other raw materials types, including run bra foam cups, accessories and trims.
  • We use a small amount of leather, as we continue to work toward recycled or plant-based leather alternatives. In the interim, we use a small volume of leather which is sourced only from Leather Working Group (LWG) Gold certified tanneries to ensure best practices in environmental management and improved resourced efficiency.
  • For other raw material types used in our product, but at very low volumes, including cotton, wool, and man-made cellulosic fibres (MMCFs) that are already renewable and, biobased, we will focus on transitioning to “preferred” alternatives with lower environmental impact, such as organic cotton, responsible wool, and FSC-certified and responsibly produced MMCFs.

Source of recycled content: Our roadmap to using recycled raw materials initially focuses on post-consumer sources, such as plastic bottles. We have expanded our use of post-industrial sources of recycled plastics and foams, and recycled silica from the semiconductor industry for outsole rubber. We will also work with our manufacturing partners to find ways to use material waste generated during our product and materials production as a source of recycled content to make new Brooks materials. This will support our target to eliminate footwear manufacturing material waste sent to landfill and incineration. Longer-term, we envision that our product materials become the source of recycled content after the products’ use has been maximised, to enable material circulation and our circular product vision.

Verifying recycled content claims: For recycled textiles, we verify all recycled content claims through Textile Exchange’s Global Recycled Standard (GRS) and Recycled Content Standard (RCS). We request scope certificates and transaction certificates to verify recycled inputs and the recycled content’s chain of custody through the supply chain. For recycled non-textiles, for which third party recycling standards are not broadly scaled, we use GRS and RCS as a guideline for verification, and we request information on the source and processing of the recycled material to validate the recycled content claim. 

Source of bio-based content: We accept bio-based content from materials derived from plant biomass.

Verifying bio-based claims: We verify all biosynthetic bio-based claims by using ASTM D6866, the industry-standard test method for measuring the bio-based carbon content of a material.

Restricted substances and sustainable chemistry

All materials in our product and all finished products must comply with the Brooks Restricted Substances List (RSL), which comprises, at a minimum, all chemicals regulated by the most stringent legal regulations in any region globally, including the EU’s REACH and California’s Proposition 65. But we don’t stop there. We voluntarily restrict or eliminate many other substances considered hazardous for people and the planet, even those not yet regulated by any government body. We communicate our restricted substance requirements to all of our suppliers through our RSL and maintain this understanding through our Supplier Code of Conduct and RSL Compliance Agreement, which is signed by all suppliers on every updated version. Compliance with the RSL is demonstrated via a Brooks-approved  RSL lab test, bluesign®-approved material, or Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 certification.

We take a holistic view of chemicals management that goes beyond RSL to manage chemicals that enter and exit our manufacturing facilities. We work towards sourcing materials that are either bluesign® approved, have an Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 certification and are manufactured at an Oeko-Tex® STeP-certified factory, or are manufactured at a factory that sources only ZDHC MRSL-compliant chemicals that meet level 1 conformance, at a minimum.

Read more about our Responsible Chemicals Programme.

Durable water repellents

Water repellency, an important feature for a portion of our product, requires the application of a durable water repellent (DWR) or non-wicking treatment to some of the materials. These treatments traditionally use a class of chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic. Our product complies with all applicable PFAS regulations, but we’re committed to eliminating the use of all PFAS in Brooks’ gear before 2025. Until then, C8-based perfluorinated chemicals must not be used on any Brooks product.


For over a decade, we’ve worked to reduce the impact of our final product packaging by using lower impact materials and reducing waste. Our strategies to reduce the impact of our packaging include:

Convert packaging materials to recycled inputs and those that can be recycled after use:

  • Our shoebox is made from 100% recycled and recyclable materials
  • Clothing hangtags are made from 30% recycled materials

Minimise packaging:

  • Source lightweight materials
  • Remove shoe stuffing from most footwear styles
  • Optimise shoebox dimensions to allow 15% more shoeboxes shipped per shipping container     

Material policies

Our material policies guide our materials selection and ensure we consider both environmental and social impacts across the manufacturing supply chain — and that the materials in our product meet local and international standards:

Cotton: Brooks does not accept any cotton that originates from regions with human rights concerns. Brooks has a zero-tolerance policy for forced labour throughout the entire supply chain, which is defined in our Supplier Code of Conduct.

Leather: All leather materials used in Brooks products must be sourced from a Leather Working Group (LWG) Gold-certified tannery and have an LWG traceability rating.

Wool: All wool must be non-mulesed.

Forest-derived materials: All man-made cellulosic materials used in Brooks product must be sourced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified or Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) sources. 

Recycled polyester/nylon: All recycled polymer fibres used in Brooks product must be Global Recycled Standard (GRS) or Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) certified.

Taking a lifecycle approach and adopting industry tools – the Higg Index:

Our efforts span beyond raw material choices to considerations of the overall environmental impact of materials and the full life cycle of our finished product. One life cycle stage we focus on is the processing of raw materials into a finished material, such as textile knitting, textile dyeing, and midsole manufacturing, all of which contribute 35% of our total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

To help better understand the environmental impact of our materials and product across its life cycles, we use the industry standard tools, Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI) and Higg Product Module (Higg PM). Developed by the clothing and footwear industry collaborative group Cascale, the Higg product tools measure five environmental impact categories: global warming potential, fossil fuel depletion, water scarcity, eutrophication and chemistry. The Higg Index product tools allow us to use industry life cycle assessment data and implement a scientific approach to identify new strategies to further reduce GHG emissions of our materials and product as well as other environmental impacts, such as water scarcity. These tools also help us improve the accuracy of our impact disclosures, such as Scope 3 GHG emissions.

We are scaling our adoption of both the Higg MSI and Higg PM, working towards entering all footwear and clothing materials into the Higg MSI and evaluating the environmental impact of all our footwear and clothing styles with the Higg PM.

Eliminate footwear manufacturing material waste sent to landfill and incineration

Light grey shoe with pink logo leaning against orange wall
Our target:

  • Eliminate footwear manufacturing material waste sent to landfill or incineration by 2030 

The creation of material waste during manufacturing increases GHG emissions, creates additional environmental impact during its disposal, and increases our material costs. By reducing the amount of material waste generated and diverting unavoidable waste from landfill or incineration, we can lower the overall environmental impact of our product, help reduce GHG emissions, and support our transition to a circular future where all waste is treated as a valuable resource.

Our manufacturing material waste footprint

We calculate the amount of waste generated at all our Tier 1 footwear assembly factories, where the majority of material waste is currently generated. We work with our Tier 1 partners to track material waste by material type and weight, and its destination, and we have expanded this effort to our Tier 2 midsole factories. This increased understanding of the waste generated will provide insights and inform actions needed to redirect waste away from landfill and incineration. 

Strategies and roadmap

We’ve identified two key strategies to achieve our target to eliminate manufacturing material waste to landfill and incineration:

Minimise material waste generated during manufacturing: Our approach is to reduce the amount of material waste generated by maximising material usage. We have identified a series of initiatives across product design, materials and manufacturing, including an exploration of new cutting solutions and more efficient nesting. We’ll also continue our focus on reducing defects. When we analyse the material waste baseline to understand the root cause of our waste footprint, additional strategies will be identified. 

Recycle unavoidable waste: For any material that does find its way to the factory floor, we will partner with our factories and take action to incrementally reduce waste sent to landfill or incineration or the environment. Our long-term vision is to recycle material waste back into the Brooks supply chain and use it as the source of recycled content to make new material for future products. We’ve started this by including recycled midsole content in the bottom unit of the Green Silence Ghost 15.

Learn more about the execution of some of these strategies in our latest Corporate Responsibility Performance Report.

Transition to circular product

Man and women lacing up their shoes in the back of a hatchback car
Our target:

  • Launch Brooks’ first fully circular performance running footwear and clothing by 2030 

At Brooks, our vision is to transition from linear to circular product. As part of our journey to achieve this, we have committed to launching Brooks’ first circular performance running footwear and clothing by 2030. We are committed to making product that can be deconstructed, its materials fed back into the production cycle and then used to make new performance running footwear and clothing.

Strategies and roadmap

We started our journey to circular product back in 2018 when we began sourcing materials made from recycled content. We amplified those efforts by increasing the amount of recycled polyester and recycled nylon used in our product. At Brooks, we recognise that sourcing raw materials with recycled content is just the beginning of our circular product journey, so we now have dedicated workstreams to achieve our long-term circular product target. This includes R&D projects to develop circular solutions across product design, materials and manufacturing, all while maintaining the high quality and performance of our product.

Take responsibility for our product at its end-of-life

Bundle of old shoes tied together against dark background
Our commitment:

  • Launch recommerce and implement a product take-back programme 

Taking responsibility for our product at its end-of-life is a key enabler for all our sustainable consumption objectives. We aim to take responsibility for our product at its end-of-life and reclaim the product from the consumer. In the short term, we aim for this product to be downcycled into relevant applications. Long term, the goal is for this product to be recycled and used as raw materials.

Strategies and roadmap

Product durability: We start by first obsessing over the quality of our product to maximise durability and the number of miles runners can log before replacement. We have a comprehensive wear test programme that ensures we live up to our promise that our product performs just as well on the 400th mile as the first, and we’re improving the accuracy of data to track product use and performance to further improve product durability and longevity.

Product take-back for gear at end-of-life: To enable circular product, we need to create pathways for our product to be returned after runners have finished logging their miles. We’re currently developing a product take-back programme and researching end-of-life solutions for collected product.