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i4n The Earthshot Prize 2023

Meet David and Jeremy Even, from PRIMAL Soles. They are on a quest to shake the footwear industry with circular and nature-positive shoe insoles and hotel slippers. It is the Portuguese cork-oak forest, and its incredible generosity, that inspired them to take the first step of their entrepreneurial journey. Today, they want to give back to this endemic ecosystem as much as it is giving them.

Watch their encredible story: 

Annually, billions of synthetic shoe insoles find their way into landfills, reflecting the linear approach of the footwear industry that often neglects responsibility for the end of a product’s life cycle. David and Jeremy aimed to disrupt this pattern with PRIMAL Soles, introducing a fully circular shoe insole crafted from cork. This innovative product not only provides comfort but also contributes to diverting waste from landfills, uplifting biodiversity, exhibiting a negative CO2 impact, and offering infinite recyclability.

Aware of the modest scale of their startup within the vast footwear industry, David and Jeremy remained undeterred, aspiring to demonstrate an alternative approach. They envisioned a scenario where nature conservation, biodiversity enhancement, and profitability coexist harmoniously. In January 2023, InTent encountered David and Jeremy at the Financial Times Responsible Business Education award ceremony, where their genuine can-do attitude left a lasting impression on us. Their commitment to transforming a polluting industry into a nature-positive one, starting with seemingly insignificant elements like shoe insoles, showcased a unique perspective in a technology-driven world.

A year later, as we revisited their journey, we found that they had expanded their product line with the introduction of the PRIMAL Hotel Slipper. Concurrently, they initiated fundraising efforts to support the replanting of 1000 hectares of cork oak forest. Today, we are thrilled to present their inspiring story in the form of a short documentary, demonstrating how a small initiative can make strides toward creating a more environmentally conscious and sustainable future.

We are proud to be a partner in this venture!

Further reading

Find out more about the company’s presence at a number of I4N events:

Relevant I4N ventures: Primal Soles

Sibylle Grass