Allbirds set to go public in Wall Street’s very first “sustainable” IPO

(Martin Sanchez/Unsplash)

Sustainable footwear brand Allbirds Inc. announced its decision to go public on Tuesday via an “SPO”, the first of its kind. 

Under the sustainable public listing, the California-based shoemaker will be listed under the premise that it will be accountable to maintain its ESG (environmental and social governance) rating.

According to the filing, this means Allbirds will be making “commitments to make meaningful progress on important ESG matters”, which typically entail causes like climate change and social equity.

The first-of-its-kind listing creates an exciting new precedent for companies going public that wish to dedicate themselves to environmental and social standards.

“We hope to help pioneer a framework for companies to conduct what we are calling a sustainable public equity offering… Our vision is that Allbirds’ initial public offering will lay the groundwork that can be used by other companies for future SPOs,” the company said in the filing.

The company’s decision to make an environmental impact through its public listing isn’t the first time the company has dedicated itself to climate-conscious business practices. Allbird’s shoes are made using naturally derived materials and the company’s carbon-neutral supply chain. 

“We estimate that a standard pair of sneakers results in a carbon footprint of 14.1 kg of CO2e. Today, through our use of renewable, natural materials and responsible manufacturing, the average pair of Allbirds shoes has a carbon footprint that is 30 percent less than our estimated carbon footprint for a standard pair of sneakers, and we offset the entirety of the rest to provide our customers with carbon-neutral products.” 

Although the company’s decision to go public is big news, investors should be cautious of the fact that the Allbirds is predicted to remain unprofitable past its public debut. 

Despite significant growth in revenue, with online sales jumping 74% from $126 million in 2018 to $219.3 million in 2020, and earnings bouncing from $1.3 million in 2019 to $15.4 million in 2020, the company still hasn’t been profitable. Its net losses were up to $40.4 million between 2019 and 2020.

Allbirds will be listed on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker BIRD.

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