As the world gets ready to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, we are encouraged to take stock of how environmentally conscious we are in our everyday life. At Woolloomooloo Shoes, CEO and co-founder James Rowley says Woolloomooloo has made sustainability a key part of the business plan since they first started two years ago. “There was no question that the environment needed to be front and center in our plans,” says Rowley.

His company’s footwear is made of lightweight Australian merino wool, making their shoes not only comfortable but also sustainable and biodegradable. But Rowley says his company wants to do even more to help the planet. “There are other challenges that we are still working through to continue to reduce our carbon footprint,” he says. “We’re now changing the way we manufacture our outsoles, how we ship and where we physically manufacture our product. There is a lot of work to do, but if we all consider these steps along the way, we can have a very positive effect on the environment over time.”

He is encouraged by how most leaders in his industry are “addressing sustainability in some way.” Adds Rowley: “Moving produc- tion to countries that are closer, even some manufacturing in the U.S., is a key initiative for most. It’s definitely a team effort and I see it happening.”

For consumers, Rowley says there are simple things they can do to have a positive impact on our planet. “It really comes down to consumption,” he says. “Ask yourself, ‘Is this something I really need?’ If it is, buy a high quality version so you don’t have to replace it every season.”Andy Abrahams