Brazilian sustainable footwear brand Cariuma plans to support ocean cleaning efforts with its new vegan sneakers. The brand is launching a range of “ocean-friendly “ sneakers that are made from textiles derived from repurposed plastic collected from the ocean. The launch is meant to help solve the growing pollution problem in oceans worldwide. The vegan sneakers will be made from recycled plastic and sugarcane. Cariuma is working in partnership with 4ocean - an organization fighting widespread plastic pollution - and promised to remove two pounds of trash from oceans and rivers with every purchase.

“With defiant optimism, our friends at 4ocean have laid the groundwork for an active approach to ending ocean plastic pollution,” the company released in a statement. “At Cariuma, we’re no strangers to the shared effort required to restore and protect our world for future generations. Between us, the goal was to design a product to start conversations, to raise awareness around the ocean plastic pollution, and create a product that’s better for you and the planet.”

The special-edition shoes will use 100 percent recycled plastics and sugarcane EVA outsole and a cork and mamona oil insole. The company is marketing these highly sustainable shoes as both fashionable and good for the environment, designed to minimize waste in its manufacturing process, but also to encourage consumers to realize the impact that clothing consumption has on the environment. The company is marketing the new shoe as being “light on your foot” while leaving behind a “smaller footprint.”

Cariuma’s new sustainable shoe range will initially feature two designs: The IBI Slip-Ons and IBI Low-Top Sneakers. The two designs are available in blue or white at $98 a pair. “For the Cariuma team, this launch is more than just a label on one pair of shoes, but a true statement to the industry at large - that we will continue to commit ourselves to break boundaries and innovating towards a better earth,” the company released in a statement.

Since its founding, Cariuma based its company on ethical and sustainable market standards. The Brazilian brand partners exclusively with ethical factories and solely purchase natural and recycled materials. The current sneaker has been found to emit three times fewer emissions on average per sneaker, making it the most sustainable sneaker on the market. The company is also working to become completely carbon neutral, offsetting its carbon emissions from its shipping carbon footprint.

The non-profit 4ocean is actively working to clean the oceans and coastlines across the world in order to combat the growing threat pollution presents to environmental health. The organization hosts beach cleans and uses the retrieved materials to create recycled, sustainable jewelry that it sells to raise money for its mission. 4ocean claims that it has removed over 15 million pounds of garbage from the ocean already and that it has no plans of slowing down.

Currently, footwear and fashion brands across the world are actively changing production to accommodate a growing environmentally-conscious consumer base. H&M recently partnered with DESSERTO to develop its own vegan leather line. Other designers such as Stella McCartney have released leather products using mushroom-based vegan leather. Vans and Nike have also developed vegan sneakers in recent years and with consumers become more aware of the sustainability of fashion, it's expected that more companies will follow this trend into the future.

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