28 November 2019Saman Javed

Allbirds ‘flattered’ by Amazon lookalike shoe

The founders of eco-friendly footwear maker  Allbirds have penned an open letter to Jeff Bezos, calling out  Amazon on making and selling a product “strikingly similar” to one of its shoes.

The  letter, posted on Medium on November 25, concerns Allbirds’ Merino Wool Runner shoe, and offers Amazon advice on making its alleged copycat product more environmentally-friendly.

The letter was prompted by an interview given by one of the founders Joey Zwillinger, earlier this month.

Zwillinger and the other co-founder, Tim Brown, said Zwillinger had been asked by CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour about whether Allbirds had been in touch with Amazon to make it aware of Allbirds’ open-sourced, sustainable technologies and their applicability to Amazon’s product.

In the post, titled “Dear Mr Bezos”, Zwillinger and Brown said they were “flattered” by Amazon’s shoe, but “hoped the commonalities would include [Allbirds] environmentally-friendly materials as well.

“Alas, we’re here to help. As we’ve done with over 100 other brands who were interested in implementing our renewable materials into their products, including direct competitors, we want to give you the components that would make this shoe not just look like ours, but also match our approach to sustainability,” the founders wrote.

Zwillinger and Brown went on to recount the creation of its trademarked, sustainable foam used on the bottom of Allbirds sneakers, which could replace current foam being used by other brands, “including yours”, they told Bezos.

“By using a sugarcane waste stream, not only were we able to create a natural version of what has historically been petroleum-derived, but we’re also removing carbon from the atmosphere and locking it away with one of the most photosynthetically-efficient crops, fighting climate change in the process,” they said, before offering it to Bezos.

“You can use it. We want you to use it,” the pair said, adding that if Amazon replaced the oil-based products in its current supply chain with Allbirds’ natural substitute, SweetFoam, the companies could jointly make a “major dent” in the fight against climate change.

“Customers value companies that are mindful of the planet and profits, and we believe the most powerful businesses in the world, such as Amazon, should lead on these issues, and will be rewarded for doing so,” the letter said.

WIPR has asked Amazon for comment.

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