Advisory: Activists to protest Lululemon’s first-ever running shoe debut over climate change concerns

March 24, 2022

1-2 p.m. on Saturday, March 26, in Vancouver: New Blissfeel women’s running shoe adds to Lululemon’s climate problem due to company’s factories in China relying heavily on coal to power manufacturing

VANCOUVER, BC — As popular athleisure brand Lululemon debuts its new line of running shoes this week, climate activists concerned about the company’s contribution to climate change from its coal-powered factories plan to take to the streets in protest on Saturday, March 26, outside the company’s Kitsilano neighbourhood store in its hometown of Vancouver, BC.

WHO: Local climate activists and representatives of climate advocacy organization Stand.earth. 

For more than a year, Stand.earth has called on Lululemon — one of the biggest, most profitable, and fastest growing sportswear brands in the world — to do better on climate change. In February 2022, Stand.earth criticized the company’s Team Canada Olympics gear for contributing to climate change and threatening the very future of winter sports (See photos). In November 2021, Stand.earth released an analysis revealing that despite Luluemon’s participation in fashion industry climate initiatives, the company’s supply chain emissions actually increased in 2020.

WHAT: Protest against Lululemon’s new line of running shoes, Blissfeel, over concerns about the company’s contribution to climate change. Most countries where Lululemon’s factories are located rely heavily on a coal-powered electricity grid, which not only causes extreme air pollution that harms the health of people living nearby, but also contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions that worsen the effects of climate change. Stand.earth’s analysis finds that Lululemon’s Blissfeel women’s running shoes are made in factories in China where 66% of the power used for manufacturing comes from coal, and only 9% comes from renewable energy.

Activists will host a running workshop on Lululemon’s climate failures. Participants will do group stretching exercises, trace human footprints on the sidewalk, and spread fake coal in front of the store. There will be banners reading “Feel Bliss?” with an image of coal pouring out of the shoes, and one of Lululemon’s Blissfeel shoes filled with “coal” placed atop a white pedestal.

SPOKESPEOPLE: Local activist Barbara Shuman, a retired UBC English professor, and Stand.earth spokesperson Erdene Batzorig will be available on site for interviews. (Read more about Batzorig’s firsthand experience growing up with coal pollution in this Georgia Straight op-ed.) Stand.earth Fossil Free Fashion campaign lead Muhannad Malas will also be available for interviews by phone.

WHEN: Saturday, March 26, 1-2 p.m. PT

WHERE: Lululemon’s store in the Kitsilano neighborhood, 2101 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, B.C.

PHOTOS & VIDEO: Photos and video will be available later in the day at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1uRwBVVIoYuAXjsY2em2PyvUTFyYGgVXO?usp=sharing 

WHY: In the coming decades, the multi-trillion dollar fashion industry’s greenhouse gas emissions are expected to increase drastically, surpassing other polluting industries such as aviation and shipping. Despite painting itself as a “healthy lifestyle” brand and sustainability leader, Lululemon has yet to commit to eliminating coal from its supply chains, and has done very little to advocate for the transition from coal to renewable energy in the countries where its factories are located — including Vietnam, Cambodia, and China. Lululemon is notably missing from joint efforts signed by other fashion brands, including competitor Nike, to encourage fashion-producing countries to increase renewable energy. 

Stand.earth’s Fossil-Free Fashion Scorecard released in August 2021 benchmarked 47 top fashion companies on their efforts to tackle climate change. The report broadly failed the fashion industry on its efforts to address climate change, and gave Lululemon a D- for failing to take meaningful action to work with suppliers to increase renewable energy use in its supply chain, phase out coal usage, or advocate for or sourcing renewable energy for its factories. 

Learn more about Stand.earth’s Fossil Free Fashion Campaign at lulucoal.com.

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Media contacts: 

Virginia Cleaveland, Media Director, virginia@stand.earth, +1 510 858 9902 (Pacific Time)
Muhannad Malas, Senior Fashion Campaigner, , +1 604 757 7246 (Eastern Time)