Portugal's shoemakers pledge to go 'green'

STORY: Portugal's footwear industry is taking a big step towards going greener,

with 120 Portuguese shoemakers signing an agreement to cut the sector's emissions by half by 2030.

One firm who signed up was Bolflex.

The company takes worn-out shoes and transforms them into so-called 'eco-rubber'.

Pedro Saraiva is Head of Sales at Bolflex.

"Before we were throwing away, burying, sending to landfill about 300 tons (of waste), which is a very serious environmental problem."

The new "shoe green pact" was drawn up by the Portuguese Footwear Association,

representing companies in Europe's third largest footwear producer after Italy and Spain.

Participating companies signed up to 10 commitments, which cover energy efficiency, product design and packaging.

Paulo Goncalves is Communications Director at the Footwear Association.

"To begin with, the Portuguese industry stands out because it is the first to do sign a pact. I would say that we have effectively gone from words to actions."

Shoemaker Ambitious also signed the agreement.

The firm says it plans to put recycled material into around half of its shoes by 2025.

But there is still the challenge of getting customers to buy the greener products.

Both Bolflex and Ambitious say the new products and technologies often cost more than older, non-sustainable products.

And Bolflex warns consumer and companies might not change their behavior anytime soon.

"In the future, with the legislation and all the processes being developed, a lot will change. But it's a 5 to 10-year process. We all have to be prepared for that."