British footwear brand Hunter has unveiled a new sustainability and accountability strategy, the Hunter Protect, detailing how the brand will protect and support the environment and people around it, from using innovative lower impact materials to supporting its communities.
The wellington boot brand has been working on responsible initiatives since 2011, and with the appointment of its new chief executive officer, Paolo Porta in March 2021 it has been working on producing a “clear and concise manifesto to ensure progress and accountability through transparency, pledges and action”.
Paolo Porta, Hunter chief executive, said in a statement: “Our history is rooted in protection. For over 160 years we have protected our community from the elements. We will continue to develop this legacy in two ways; by protecting the rights of every person in our supply chain, and by working with charities to protect the things that we value: our people and our planet.”
The Hunter manifesto will play an “important role” in both the day-to-day running of the business and its long-term objectives, explained the brand, and features seven pledges to “hold itself accountable and benchmark progress throughout the entire company”.
Hunter wellington boot’s seven sustainability pledges
- By 2025, all of its rubber footwear will be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.
- Hunter pledges to work with World Land Trust to protect endangered forests, the species that depend on it and the people that care for it.
- In 2022, 65 percent of Hunter’s collection will incorporate FSC-certified rubber, Bloom algae foam or recycled textiles.
- By 2022, 100 percent of Hunter’s packaging will be recyclable.
- By 2022, Hunter will become carbon neutral across its direct global operations and will offset all direct carbon emissions from global stores and offices.
- By 2022, Hunter will have conducted inclusive worldwide leadership training for all hiring managers in line with its Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and its new HR policies and procedures.
- Hunter has donated over 150,000 boots to date and every year and pledges to donate a further 15,000 pairs of fully functional boots to global charities, including those that respond to natural disasters, pandemics and the refugee crisis.
Hunter Protect manifesto to focus on protecting forests, resources, and communities
The manifesto is defined by three pillars, protecting forests, resources, and communities, explains Hunter, and at the heart of this is the brand’s relationship with trees, as the natural rubber used to craft its protective waterproof footwear is derived from the sap of rubber trees.
Hunter is pledging to ensure that all natural rubber will come from Forest Stewardship Council certified forests by 2025 and it will produce 125 products in its 2022 collection, its largest sustainable range of products, made with natural rubber from FSC-certified well-managed forests. This will make up 14 percent of its total footwear collection.
Other projects include the Hunter ReBoot initiative to offer a simple end-of-life solution for boots in the UK and US. The service comes at no charge to customers, and all returned boots are recycled by First Mile in the UK and West Coast Rubber Recycling in the US. They grind down and repurpose the natural rubber into playground surfacing, roads, equestrian arenas, kickboxing bags and floor fillers.
In the UK, Hunter provides a free Collect+ shipping label to customers to send their boots directly to First Mile recycling facility, while in the US, Hunter has partnered with Zappos For Good, providing customers with free UPS shipping label to ship end-of-life boots directly to the recycling facility. By the end of 2021, Japanese customers will also be able to recycle their boots.
Hunter launches ‘Protect Our Forests’ collection
To highlight its new sustainability path, Hunter has launched a ‘Protect Our Forests’ collection in collaboration with the Forest Stewardship Council, featuring its Original Forest Tall boot and the Original Forest Short boot. Each wellington boot has been made using natural, vegan rubber harvested from FSC-certified managed forests.
For the first month of sale, the ‘Protect Our Forests’ boots on Hunter’s e-commerce will donate 5 percent of profits to its global charity partner World Land Trust to fund the annual salary of a ‘Keeper Of The Wild’ forest ranger, a local ranger who works on conservations’ frontline, essential for the everyday protection, ongoing site and species monitoring, and long-term success of the programmes World Land Trust invests in.
The ‘Protect Our Forests’ boots retail from 105 pounds to 115 pounds.