Allbirds Changes Sustainability IPO Framework Before Public Debut – Footwear News


When it filed for an IPO in late August, Allbirds outlined an ambitious new structure for a sustainability-focused process for going public. Now, it appears the footwear maker has taken a step back from some of these plans, according to updated filing documents.

In its late August filing, Allbirds said it wanted to lead the way for a “Sustainable Public Equity Offering, or SPO,” which works with third-party organizations to make sure companies have well-defined environmental and social goals as they go public.

At the time, Allbirds said a framework like this would help “prioritize positive outcomes” for stockholders as well as stakeholders such as “employees, customers, the community and the environment.”

In an Oct. 4 update to the original document, Allbirds amended this guideline to be called the “SPO framework” and eliminated almost half of the references to it in the filing.

Allbirds also removed a warning that this framework might increase the cost of the IPO. Additionally, while the initial filing claimed that the company wanted this framework to “lay the groundwork that can be used by other companies for future SPOs,” this goal was not explicitly mentioned in the amendment.

Allbirds declined to comment.

Across the board, a focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) is becoming more important for companies from an investor perspective. In its S-1 filing with the SEC on Monday, Rent the Runway noted its crucial role in “the circular economy” and the importance of sustainability.

“ESG is highly being looked at,” Jessica Ramirez, retail research analyst at investment research firm Jane Hali and Associates, told FN last month. “And I think from the investor side, there are just a lot of firms focusing on ESG and how to make that better.”

Amid its push to go public, Allbirds’ August filing also gave a closer glimpse at the brand’s financials — notably a net loss of $25.9 million in 2020, despite the fact that revenue grew from $126 million in 2018 to $219.3 million in 2020.

In a lawsuit filed against Allbirds earlier this summer in a New York federal court, plaintiff Patricia Dwyer claimed that the company’s sustainability-focused marketing was misleading. The complaint alleged that Allbirds’ marketing is “false, deceptive and misleading” compared to the reality of its operations, The Fashion Law reported.

Allbirds was founded in 2015 with a goal to create footwear and apparel that is better for the planet. The eco-friendly brand has become notable in recent years for its focus on footwear made from sustainably sourced materials, such as tree fiber, sugarcane and crab shells. Since 2015, Allbirds has sold more than 8 million pairs of shoes to over 4 million customers across the globe, including 3.3 million customers in the U.S.



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