Leave footprints, the good kind.

The earth. It’s the only one we’ve got. So, we better take care of it. After all, without the earth, there wouldn’t be much use for our products.

Deckers is committed to reducing the environmental impact of its operations and products. Our Environmental Objectives are:

  • To minimize the environmental footprint of energy, water and waste in our operations.
  • To integrate sustainable product design into our footwear and apparel.

  • energy assessment

    We’ve measured environmental impact of our energy use for our retail stores, distribution centers and offices, include the transportation and logistics required to get products from the factory to customers and our key factories and suppliers.

    A snapshot of our shipping impact

    The big picture

    You can see that the biggest part of our footprint is in the supply chain. That is why we plan to focus on the energy used to make our products.
  • water conservation
    Water is important to us and so we decided that we wanted to get an idea of where water is used in our business. We asked a few questions and found out that one of our manufacturing facilities used approximately 86 times more water than 28 retail stores. This helped us realize that we can make the largest impact on water used in our supply chain. Therefore, moving forward, we will focus on conserving the water used by our major factory partners.
  • waste reduction

    We want to keep as much as we can out of the landfill!  Our offices, factory partners and distribution centers around the world are helping us reduce our environmental footprint in many different and innovative ways.

    Across our many offices, we have switched to paper with recycled content and implemented duplex (double sided) printing.

    At our headquarters office in Goleta, we were able to cut our garbage bills nearly in half by implementing a compost program and by simply improving the labeling on waste containers when we started our waste management program a few years ago. In Goleta in 2012, 85% of our waste was either recycled or composted.

    Waste diversion at our headquarters

    The Hong Kong office dramatically reduced its paper consumption by implementing an electronic fax system.

    Our offices and stores across Europe have reusable cups, plates and utensils to prevent the use of disposable serving ware.

    Our Sanuk offices put a system in place to recycle used batteries and toner cartridges.

    875 Tons of Waste in 2011

  • distribution centers

    Even though over 90% of a shoe’s environmental footprint is created by the time it leaves the factory, there are still many opportunities to make a difference along our value chain. In our Southern California distribution centers, we reduced our environmental impact by expanding our recycling efforts and reducing our energy consumption.

    We cut overall cardboard use by more than 20% in our distribution centers through consolidating various recycling programs and through the reuse of boxes we receive from our factories. Ten percent alone came from installing a chute from the upper levels of our distribution centers to help process cardboard for recycling.

    We were able to reduce our energy consumption by 10% by installing a system of skylights and motion detectors that turn lights off where no one is present. Our conveyor belt system is divided into zones so that only the zones in use consume energy. In addition, all of our forklifts use rechargeable batteries.

  • product innovation

    Outdoor Industry Association’s Sustainability Working Group
    Outdoor Industry Association’s (OIA) Sustainability Working Group (SWG) is a volunteer collaboration of brands, retailers, and suppliers who are working to identify and improve the environmental and social impacts of their shared supply chain. In 2012, the OIA SWG was selected by the White House as a Champion of Change for Environmental Sustainability. The SWG received this award based on its development of an industry tool to assess the environmental impact of products. We cannot expect consumers to make choices based on the environmental impact without more information about the environmental impact of the product. The beauty of this tool is that it will help consumers compare similar products, based on each brand’s environmental impact. 

    Higg Index – Universal Environmental Tool
    Without being able to compare environmental impacts across brands, communicate in a common “currency”, none of us are able to simply and clearly choose what are least impactful. The Higg Index is an environmental tool that is a collaborative design of the OIA SWG and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and is designed to create uniformity in information gathering. The goal is to have all brands and companies collect environmental data according to the same metrics and standards, and then communicate to consumers using the same language. Deckers has participated in the development of the “HIGG Index” and plans to incorporate this tool in whatever way is feasible.

    Materiality Assessment
    These three assessments – greenhouse gas, life cycle, and materials – are the foundation of our materiality assessment, and helped us understand that manufacturing and material sourcing are our largest impact. Based on these assessments, we have decided to prioritize our efforts on how we make our products. One of our primary focuses over the past few years has been leather, for several reasons. Our key raw materials create an estimated 64% of our greenhouse gas emissions, our Life Cycle Assessment work highlighted leather as a high impact material, and we use a lot of leather. Processing leather requires tanneries, which have always caused a significant environmental impact due to the tanning process. This process relies on chemicals to prepare the leather, and then those chemicals must be processed using large amounts of water. If not properly managed, the resulting pollution can damage habitat and affect the local communities. In addition, these factories use large amounts of energy to run their operations, leading to greenhouse gas emissions and poor air quality.

    Greenhouse Gas Assessment
    Between 2009 and 2012 we conducted a greenhouse gas assessment that included our direct operations, the transportation of our goods, our key raw materials and our factories. We estimate that our total carbon footprint is approximately 183,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Manufacturing our raw materials and our factories makes up 83% of our carbon footprint. This carbon footprint assessment helped us decide that we should focus our efforts on supply chain first

    Life Cycle Assessment
    Deckers has completed some basic life-cycle assessment work in collaboration with the University of California at Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. These collaborations assessed the environmental impacts of shoes over the lifecycle of the product. Through these projects, we confirmed that materials make the largest contribution to a shoe’s environmental impact over the lifecycle of a shoe. The LCA work also showed that the highest material impact came from leather. These studies led us to gather more data about the volume of materials that we use across the company.

    Key Material Assessment
    We worked with our Materials Team to collect information about the materials that we use most: sheepskin, leather, cardboard and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA). These are the materials we will focus our efforts on first.

    Leather Working Group
    Leather is a significant contributor to our environmental impact. Fortunately, an industry group called the Leather Working Group, or LWG, has established a program to certify tanneries based on environmental criteria and standards. In order to become LWG certified, a tannery must undergo an extensive review carried out by third-party auditors. The audit process covers several sections, including restricted substances, operating permits, energy consumption, air emissions, waste management, environmental management systems, water usage, and effluent treatment.

  • chemical responsibility

    Chemical Management
    Leather tanning is obviously not the only process that uses chemicals in the footwear manufacturing process. Chemicals are used to dye fabrics, adhere shoe pieces together, improve shoe performance, and many other things. We are very careful about the chemicals in our products and have implemented a Restricted Substance Policy with a Restricted Substance List (RSL) to help guide our suppliers and factories. We require all factories to sign and comply with our Restricted Substance Policy as a prerequisite for doing business with us. Our RSL mandates compliance with all international directives, laws and regulations restricting the concentration of potentially hazardous substances. The current version of our RSL is available online at
    View the Deckers Restricted Substance List (RSL) here.