Evoco brings the power of plants to shoes

In many ways, moving towards a sustainable world involves challenging the status quo. This is precisely at the heart of the mission of evoco, a sustainable materials company for consumer goods that leads the change towards responsible business. According to its founder and CEO, Jason Robinson, a thriving economy can and should be environmentally friendly.

“I have spent my career in cleantech with the idea that companies can do better for the planet and people,” said Jason Robinson, Founder and CEO of evoco.

Evoco is a private cleantech innovation company that develops plant-based and carbon reduction technologies for sustainable materials. FATES™, one of evoco’s flagship brands, provides the footwear industry with durable, eco-friendly foam insoles and midsoles. Based in Toronto, the company has partnered with world leaders in active footwear, including Kodiak, Timberland and Vans, to create USDA and GreenCircle certified natural products that don’t sacrifice durability for performance.

Robinson holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from McMaster University and an MBA from Ivey Business School. Finding a clear purpose early on, Robinson provided sustainable solutions to shoe companies right out of college, enabling him to quickly develop and commercialize evoco’s technologies.

Today, the company claims to have helped save 948,900 kg of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to planting 95,000 trees.

“It’s a big and widespread problem that we just don’t understand the impact of materials on the environment and climate change,” Robinson said.

McKinsey & Company’s 2020 Fashion on climate report, in partnership with Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), found that the global fashion industry, including footwear, was responsible for 2.1 billion metric tons of emissions of greenhouse gases in 2018, i.e. about 4% of the global sum. More than 70% of these emissions come from upstream production, in particular the production, preparation and processing of energy-intensive raw materials.

“We’re driving more cars, we’re wearing more shoes, more clothes, and we’re buying more beds,” Robinson said. “It’s an impact not only from a carbon perspective, but also from a pollution and waste perspective.”

“Some of the materials you find in furniture or mattresses can’t be recycled and are often thrown into landfills,” he continued. ” We create [organic] materials that can be biodegraded in industrial composting environments. This is the idea of ​​natural circularity.

For him, business growth involves the expansion of an “entrepreneurial mentality and innovation towards bigger goals”.

In October 2021, evoco raised C$5 million from Forage Capital Partners to drive business growth, including the development of new plant-based innovations to bring sustainable solutions to other consumer goods markets. consumer and industrial.

“We have new technologies coming out that can replace faux leather with 85% to 95% plant-based material, and [we] can apply it to anything from adhesives to bedding or even possibly automotive,” Robinson said.

The company is determined to translate its innovative and patented technologies into other industry supply chains to make a lasting difference. Its ambitious mission is to replace petrochemicals in everything we wear, walk, sit and drive, and ultimately “close the loop on soft goods, for good.”

“We have to take responsibility for making a change,” Robinson said. “As more and more materials become environmentally friendly, consumers will begin to understand that even something as simple as buying a shoe can have a dramatic impact on the environment.”

Stephanie Ricci contributed to this story.

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