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Dunlop Protective Footwear makes sustainability strides with Renewable Energy Credits

It all started with a wobbly tricycle. John Boyd Dunlop's 1888 fix for his son’s trike gave rise to the first springy pneumatic tire. Fast-forward to 1927 when Dunlop expanded tire production and their signature rubber boot was born.

Dunlop Protective Footwear prides itself on innovating new materials, processes and chemical compounds to protect workers in heavy industry, food processing, agriculture, healthcare and disaster relief.

"Our purpose is pretty simple. We make boots and offer services to empower the makers and doers of the world get home safely every day," says Colin Clark, Dunlop's Global Brand Director.

 

A renewable solution for Maryland production

Dunlop's three facilities in the Netherlands, Portugal and Maryland run 24 hours a day, six days a week, and when demand is high, it's seven days a week. About two-and-a-half years ago, the company started exploring their power use and ways to become a 100 percent circular company.

When it came time to find their next energy management partner, their goal was to be one hundred percent renewable and carbon neutral. Dunlop reached out to Direct Energy Business for Green-E Certified Renewable Energy Credits to offset 100 percent of their energy purchase for their Maryland plant.

In addition to offering renewable solutions, Dunlop wanted their energy provider to be part of their larger sustainability journey.

"We were really looking for someone to help us and act as a renewable and sustainable partner. From the conversations that we had, it was a no-brainer to work with Direct Energy Business because of the service levels and the partnership aspect of it; it wasn't just a transactional relationship," says Chad Henige, Director of Operations.

 

Dunlop Protective Footwear

 

A circular model for sustainability

In addition to purchasing Renewable Energy Credits, the company is taking other steps to develop fully circular operations.

Dunlop is all about "protecting the makers and doers of the world," but according to Clark, their journey to circularity started with questions like, "How can we make the world we work in safe and the planet we live on better?"

 

What else can boots be?

Dunlop uses proprietary, locally made PVC and Purofort® materials to protect the feet of people who fight roaring fires, handle dangerous chemicals and wade through flood waters.

Dunlop uses proprietary PVC and Purofort materials made in the local markets they serve and take great pride in protecting people who fight roaring fires, handle dangerous chemicals and wade through flood waters.

They currently recycle all their PVC scrap back into production and continue pushing the limits for the future of Purofort.

"We're already turning the Purofort boots that don’t meet our high-quality standards into energy, and we’re taking the first steps to ensure that not a single one ends up in a landfill," explains Clark.

Dunlop's ReBoot Program explores possibilities for all the things old safety boots can be.

"We're working on building this entire system around the boots. The goal for our ReBoot Program is to go from boots as equipment to boots as a service. Currently, we send the boots to our customers and that's the last time we see them. How do we recycle these boots? How do we turn these boots into energy? What's their second and third lifespan?" says Clark.

Clark hopes fully scaling their ReBoot Program will create new jobs in the clean energy sector and help Dunlop and their partners fulfill their sustainability ambitions.

"Our goal is to help shape where our industry can go. It's a very daunting task but we're excited and we're going to run as fast as we can to get to that hundred percent circular goal."

 

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