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Image of Andee Burton in the Dr. Scholl's Shoes design studio.

Andee Burton  Dr. Scholl’s product development manager Andee Burton shares her passion for designing sustainably, her hopes for the future, and doing what she loves.  HER STORY: To understand Andee Burton’s contagious passion for sustainability, you have to go to a shoe factory in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It was there that, in 2016, she witnessed first-hand the waste generated with every shoe. She knew right then that she had to find a way to make a difference. After months of researching and traveling halfway across the world to speak face-to-face with material manufacturers, she sparked a passion within the Dr. Scholl’s team to think, act and design in a whole new way.  It started with one sustainable shoe created with the most innovative, eco-friendly materials available. From there, her passion for sustainability extended to our packaging, finding ways to streamline the production process to reduce CO2 emissions, and creating even more shoes using sustainable materials. Now, Andee’s drive for eco-friendly and sustainable design continues as she leads the team on a journey to make shoes a force for good. We’ll let her tell you the rest.

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Andee holds a pile of rice husks that go into our eco-concious outsoles, an example of the care she puts into every step of our sustainability journey.

ON THE JOURNEY TO SUSTAINABILITY:  “We started small just trying to find more eco-friendly materials to use in our shoes, and then we realized that this would be a journey much bigger than material choice. We care about what the manufacturers of these materials are doing, how we can consolidate our supply chain to reduce CO2 emissions—every choice we make matters.”

ON WHAT MOVES HER:  "The most exciting thing to me was when I brought back these little rice husks so that other people could actually see the rice product that goes into our new outsoles. It puts what we're doing in perspective. When we say that if we make the outsoles 20% rice husks, we’re removing five football fields of petroleum, you really understand the impact."

ON DESIGNING HER FIRST SUSTAINABLE SHOE:  "Designing a shoe for The Lab collection, we were given free rein to create the most sustainable shoe possible. There’s rice husk in the outsole instead of petroleum that makes the rubber. The midsole has an algae-based EVA, and the cool thing about that is we’re taking the algae from environments where the algae is suffocating the land. The fabric and laces are made of 100% recycled bottles, the eyelets are recyclable, the leather is repurposed leather, and all the linings are 100% cotton, which is decomposable, unlike polyester. This shoe is our beacon of light."

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ON THE IMPACT OF SUSTAINABILITY:  “It’s easy to say that it’s just one person, just one shoe, but when that one shoe goes out to 10,000 people, you realize how big the impact can be.”

Andee designing shoes

ON WHAT KEEPS HER PUSHING FORWARD:  “I would rather do something rather than nothing. If I can be a small piece of 7 billion people, that one person who tried to go down this path and helped encourage others to do the same, that’s a good feeling and I sleep better at night.”

ON HER VISION FOR THE FUTURE:  “We started with one sustainable shoe, and now our sustainability efforts are extending to every product in our brand. We have big goals that we’re committed to reaching. In 10 years, I would love to see every shoe we make have some sustainable component.”

15 MINUTES WITH ANDEE | RANDOM THINGS WE WANTED TO KNOW  Secret to your craft:  I think the secret is that I truly care.  Typical start to your day:  Kitty snuggles and coffee. I’m not a morning person, but my husband making me a fresh cup and my two little ones sure make it better.  Best way to get inspired:  Documentaries and yoga  Three words that describe you:  Love, energy, growth  Your vision for Dr. Scholls’ sustainability efforts:  I want Dr. Scholl’s to do the right thing for the planet and execute a more conscious way of making shoes.  Thing you are most looking forward to:  My honeymoon to Japan in May  Place on your travel bucket list:  I would say Japan, but since that’s almost crossed off, Italy.  Three words to describe your personal style:  Easy, movable, neutral  How you stay on the move:  Water. It’s the answer to everything in life.  Your happy place:  Dancing on a beach with a mojito and my husband and friends  The greatest influence in your life:  My dad. He showed me the power of hard work, following your dreams, and never giving up.  Your favorite part of the creative process:  Getting lost in “your work.”   So many people don’t love what they do, and I feel very lucky to have a job where I enjoy it so much that I lose track of time and get to flow with it.  Your favorite Instagram account:  @thedodo. Who doesn’t love stories about animals?  How you live sustainably:  I try to not use single use plastics as much as possible.  We have fabric shopping bags, reusable silicone zip bags, washable shower curtain liners. I also try not to choose meat at every meal. And since I’ve been doing all this research, I’m trying to buy from brands that are also doing the right thing and that I want to support.  The biggest challenge to living sustainably:  The way our society is set up, there’s still so much garbage: food waste, food containers, packaging, etc.  One piece of advice you would give to someone who’s trying to live more sustainably:  You don’t have to do it all at once. One thing can make a difference. It’s not all or nothing.

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