The Greenpeace 2001 Athletic Shoe Shopping Guide

Feature story - November 14, 2001
Unfortunately, PVC is used in a wide number of products ranging from construction materials, including home furnishings, to clothing and shoes. Greenpeace conducted a survey of popular shoe manufacturers this holiday season to see who is being naughty or nice by avoiding the use of polluting PVC plastic. Here is how they stack up.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) is the most damaging plastic to human health and the environment. From start to finish, PVC is hazardous. When PVC is manufactured or disposed of in incinerators, dioxins are generated and emitted. Dioxins are a class of chlorine-containing chemicals recognized as some of the most toxic ever made by humans. Once released, dioxins distribute globally through air and water currents and accumulate in soils and vegetation, where they are ingested or otherwise taken up by fish, cattle and other animals we eat. Consequently, dioxins are eaten by humans and contaminate the tissues and blood of people throughout the world.

Grades:

A = Excellent. Has published policy and plan to phase-out PVC no later than 2003; alternatives research ongoing for complete elimination.

B = Above Average. Has no published PVC phase-out policy; eliminated some PVC; phase-out start date set; alternatives research ongoing.

C = Average. Has no published PVC phase-out policy; eliminated some PVC; no PVC phase-out start date set; alternatives research ongoing.

D = Below Average. Has no published PVC phase-out policy; has not eliminated any PVC; investigation into PVC phase-out ongoing.

F = Fail. Has no intent to adopt PVC phase-out policy or no response to repeated inquiries.

Note: The following is restricted to information on PVC policies of various compainies, and is not an endorsement or evaluation of other company policies.

Shoe Manufacturers:

Name Grade Comment
Adidas A PVC phase-out in all products except for high-performance sports equipment products by end of 2002
Asics A All Asics products will be PVC-free in 2002.
Converse F Non-responder
Etonic C Has eliminated some PVC; no commitment to PVC phase-out policy.
Fila F Non-responder
Keds F Non-responder
K-Swiss F Non-responder
New Balance C Has eliminated some PVC; no commitment to PVC phase-out policy.
Nike A Majority of footwear models currently PVC-free. Beginning January 2002, the Keystone series of cleated products and 5 models of Nike Slide sandals will be PVC-free. A PVC-free hangtag will appear on PVC-free products.
Puma A PVC phase-out in most products by the end of 2003.
Reebok F Non-responder
Saucony F Non-responder
Spalding F Non-responder
Timberland C Introduced PVC-free boot, no commitment to PVC phase-out policy.


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