SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from ________ to ________
Commission file number 001-40963
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
730 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of registrant’s principal executive offices)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading Symbol||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Class A Common Stock, $0.0001 par value per share||BIRD||The Nasdaq Global Select Market|
Securities registered pursuant to section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes o No x
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes o No x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes o No x
The registrant was not a public company as of June 30, 2021, the last business day of its most recently completed second fiscal quarter, and therefore cannot calculate the aggregate market value of its common equity held by non-affiliates as of such date. The registrant’s Class A common stock began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on November 3, 2021.
As of February 28, 2022, the number of shares of the registrant’s Class A common stock outstanding was 80,530,561 and the number of shares of the registrant’s Class B common stock outstanding was 66,834,087.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant's definitive proxy statement relating to the 2022 annual meeting of stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K where indicated. Such definitive proxy statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the end of the registrant's fiscal year ended December 31, 2021.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, which statements involve substantial risk and uncertainties. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including statements regarding our future results of operations, financial condition, business strategy and plans, and objectives of management for future operations, such as statements regarding the benefits and timing of the roll-out of new technology, are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements because they contain words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “contemplate,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” “target,” “will,” or “would” or the negative of these words or other similar terms or expressions. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning the following:
•our expectations regarding our net revenue, expenses, gross margin, adjusted EBITDA, payback period, and other results of operations;
•our ability to acquire new customers and successfully retain existing customers;
•our ability to gauge and adapt to fashion trends and changing consumer preferences in products, sustainability, price-points, and in-store and digital shopping experiences;
•our ability to achieve or sustain profitability;
•future investments in our business, our anticipated capital expenditures, and our estimates regarding our capital requirements;
•our ability to effectively develop and launch new, innovative, and updated products;
•our ability to effectively manage our inventory and supply chain, including with respect to environmental, social, and governance, or ESG, matters;
•our ability to effectively increase the number of and management of our retail locations;
•the costs and success of our sales and marketing efforts, and our ability to promote our brand;
•our reliance on key personnel and our ability to identify, recruit, and retain skilled personnel;
•our ability to achieve the sustainability targets and goals that we have announced;
•our commitments to meeting certain threshold ESG criteria and reporting ESG practices in connection with the Sustainability Principles and Objectives Framework, or the SPO Framework, as well as aligning our ESG reporting with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure frameworks;
•our expectations regarding ESG initiatives;
•our ability to effectively manage our growth, including any international expansion;
•our ability to protect our intellectual property rights and any costs associated therewith;
•our dependence on key suppliers and manufacturers;
•the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic or other public health crises;
•our focus on a specific public benefit purpose and potential resulting negative effects on our financial performance;
•our ability to compete effectively with existing competitors and new market entrants; and
•our total addressable market and the growth rates of the markets in which we compete.
You should not rely on forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. We have based the forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K primarily on our current expectations and projections about future events and trends that we believe may affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. The outcome of the events described in these forward-looking statements is subject to risks and uncertainties, including the factors described in “Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment. New risks and uncertainties emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for us to predict all risks and uncertainties that could have an impact on the forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The results, events, and circumstances reflected in the forward-looking statements may not be achieved or occur, and actual results, events, or circumstances could differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements.
In addition, statements that “we believe” and similar statements reflect our beliefs and opinions on the relevant subject. These statements are based on information available to us as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. While we believe that such information provides a reasonable basis for these statements, that information may be limited or incomplete. Our statements should not be read to indicate that we have conducted an exhaustive inquiry into, or review of, all relevant information. These statements are inherently uncertain, and investors are cautioned not to unduly rely on these statements.
The forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K or to reflect new information or the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as required by law. We may not actually achieve the plans, intentions, or expectations disclosed in or expressed by, and you should not place undue reliance on, our forward-looking statements. Our forward-looking statements do not reflect the potential impact of any future acquisitions, mergers, dispositions, joint ventures, or investments.
Unless the context otherwise requires, all references in this Annual Report on Form 10-K to “we,” “us,” “our,” “our company,” and “Allbirds” refer to Allbirds, Inc. and its subsidiaries. The Allbirds design logo, “Allbirds,” and our other registered or common law trademarks, service marks, or trade names appearing in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are the property of Allbirds, Inc. Other trade names, trademarks, and service marks used in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are the property of their respective owners. Solely for convenience, we have omitted the ® and ™ designations, as applicable, for the trademarks we name in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We announce material information to the public through a variety of means, including filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, press releases, public conference calls, our website (allbirds.com), the investor relations section of our website (ir.allbirds.com), our Instagram account (@allbirds), our Twitter account (@allbirds), our LinkedIn account (linkedin.com/company/allbirds), our Facebook page (@weareallbirds), and our blog on Medium (allbirdsblog.medium.com). We use these channels to communicate with investors and the public about our company, our products, and other matters. Therefore, we encourage investors, the media, and others interested in our company to review the information we make public in these locations, as such information could be deemed to be material information.
RISK FACTORS SUMMARY
Investing in our Class A common stock involves a high degree of risk because our business is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, as more fully described in “Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Below are some of these risks, any one of which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects:
•The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and may in the future continue to have, a material adverse impact on our business.
•Economic uncertainty in our key markets may affect consumer purchases of discretionary items, which may adversely affect demand for our products.
•If we are unable to maintain and enhance the value and reputation of our brand and/or counter any negative publicity, we may be unable to sell our products, which would harm our business and could materially adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
•We have incurred significant net losses since inception, and anticipate that we will continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future.
•We operate in a highly competitive market; the size and resources of some of our competitors may allow them to compete more effectively than we can, which could result in a loss of our market share and a decrease in our net revenue and profitability.
•Our focus on using sustainable materials and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes and supply chain practices may increase our cost of revenue and hinder our growth.
•Climate change and increased focus by governments, organizations, customers, and investors on sustainability issues, including those related to climate change and socially responsible activities, may adversely affect our reputation, business, and financial results.
•If we are unable to anticipate product trends and consumer preferences, or we fail in our technical and materials innovation to successfully develop and introduce new high-quality products, we may not be able to maintain or increase our revenue and profits.
•We utilize a range of marketing, advertising, and other initiatives to increase existing customers’ spend and to acquire new customers; if the costs of advertising or marketing increase, or if our initiatives fail to achieve their desired impact, we may be unable to grow the business profitably.
•As a company that operates retail stores, we are subject to various risks, including commercial real estate and labor and employment risks; additionally, we may be unable to successfully open new store locations in existing or new geographies in a timely manner, if at all, which could harm our results of operations.
•Our business depends on our ability to maintain a strong community of engaged customers and Allgood Collective Ambassadors, including through the use of social media. We may be unable to maintain and enhance our brand if we experience negative publicity related to our marketing efforts or use of social media, we fail to maintain and grow our community of Allgood Collective Ambassadors, or otherwise fail to meet our customers’ expectations.
•We are subject to risks related to our ESG activities and disclosures, and our reputation and brand could be harmed if we fail to meet our public sustainability targets and goals.
•We are subject to risks related to our commitment to certain ESG criteria, which we call the SPO Framework.
•We have a limited operating history, which makes it difficult to predict our future results of operations, particularly in newer geographies.
•Our reliance on suppliers and manufacturers to provide materials for and to produce our products could cause problems in our supply chain.
•Failure of our contractors or our licensees’ contractors to comply with our supplier code of conduct, contractual obligations, local laws, and other standards could harm our business.
•The fluctuating cost of raw materials could increase our cost of revenue and cause our results of operations and financial condition to suffer.
•We may fail to protect our intellectual property rights, our trademark and other proprietary rights may conflict with the rights of others, and we may not be able to acquire, use, or maintain our marks and domain names, any of which could harm our brand, business, financial condition, and results of operations.
•If the technology-based systems that give our customers the ability to shop with us online do not function effectively, or we fail to comply with government regulations relating to the internet and eCommerce, our results of operations, as well as our ability to grow our digital business globally, could be materially adversely affected.
•Our international operations expose us to various risks from foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations, tariffs or global trade wars, trade restrictions, and changing tax laws in the United States and elsewhere, among others.
•We are subject to several unique risks as a result of our status as a Delaware public benefit corporation, or PBC, and certified B Corporation, or B Corp, including that our board of directors’ duty to balance various interests and our public benefit purpose may result in actions that do not maximize stockholder value.
•The dual class structure of our common stock has the effect of concentrating voting control with our co-founders and co-Chief Executive Officers, Timothy Brown and Joseph Zwillinger, our other executive officers and directors, our principal stockholders, and their respective affiliates, which limits or precludes the ability of our other stockholders to influence corporate matters, including the election of directors and the approval of any change of control transaction.
If we are unable to adequately address these and other risks we face, our business may be harmed.
Item 1. Business
Who We Are
Allbirds is a global lifestyle brand that innovates with naturally derived materials to make better footwear and apparel products in a better way, while treading lighter on our planet.
We began our journey in 2015 with three fundamental beliefs about the emerging generation of consumers: first, these consumers recognize that climate change is an existential threat to the human race; second, these consumers connect their purchase decisions with their impact on the planet, demanding more from businesses; and third, these consumers do not want to compromise between looking good, feeling good, and doing good. We became a public benefit corporation, or PBC, under Delaware law and earned our B Corporation, or B Corp, certification in 2016, codifying how we take into account the impact our actions have on all of our stakeholders, including the environment, our flock of employees, communities, consumers, and investors. Today, we are a high-growth company with a loyal and expanding customer base that has earned our brand the permission to expand beyond our casual footwear origins and enter adjacent categories such as performance running shoes and apparel. Our strong brand equity is fueled by our differentiated products created by sustainability-driven innovation.
Why We’ve Been Successful So Far
Allbirds has developed five core strengths that have enabled our success and given us a durable, competitive advantage. Using these core strengths outlined below, we created something new: an industry-redefining global lifestyle brand built around sustainability with best-in-class materials innovation capabilities and a unique approach to bringing our products to consumers around the globe.
•Product Innovation Based on Materials Research and Development, or R&D, and Simple, Purposeful Design
Innovation is built into our culture, and our product innovation platform starts with natural materials. With meticulous attention, we have examined every component that goes into our products to ensure we deliver design, comfort, and performance. We have a track record of nature-based innovations, including materials made from wool, tree, sugar cane, crab shells, and more. As we have scaled and built our commercialization capabilities, our innovation has created a virtuous cycle of research and development that translates to partners seeking us out to utilize their novel developments, and allows us to extend our advantage in sourcing and commercializing differentiated materials that reduce our impact on the planet.
With materials at our product platform’s core, we are able to extend into new categories and develop new innovations across the body leveraging our versatile, distinctly simple design, and a focus on performance and comfort. Our emphasis on design that removes unnecessary details to highlight our “Hero” materials allows us to capitalize on existing designs. Between our major materials innovations, we deliver product newness and brand excitement from incremental launches across color, pattern, exclusive partnerships, and additional features.
•Purpose-Driven Lifestyle Brand with an Inspirational Voice
Our brand inspires consumers to live life in better balance, which creates deep affinity and loyalty with our growing base of customers. For our customers, balance is not having to compromise between looking good, feeling good, and doing good for the planet. We spent years developing high-quality products while also pioneering sustainable practices in product development. Our commitment to environmental conservation and sustainability is built into our DNA as both a PBC under Delaware law and a certified B Corp. Through these efforts, we have been able to cultivate an authentic brand supported by a community that loves our products because they fit perfectly into their everyday lives.
•Deep Connection with Our Community of Customers
As a brand with a digitally-led vertical retail distribution strategy, we are able to own the customer experience, which allows us to use data to determine who our customers are, what is important to them, and what products are most relevant and when, allowing us to create a strong connection with our customers. We have learned that our customers live an active and curious lifestyle, care about health and well-being, prioritize quality over price, frequently purchase products online, live in urban center settings, and appreciate socially conscious brands. In
addition to communicating more effectively with our customers, these insights allow us to meet customers’ needs through the creation of new products and enhancements to our existing line.
•Global Vertical Retail Distribution Strategy that Melds Digital with Physical
Our digitally-led vertical retail distribution strategy combines our digital offerings with our stores so we can meet consumers where they are, delivering value and convenience. Our direct distribution to customers in 35 countries and across our 35 store locations as of December 31, 2021 enables us to own the customer experience, driving deeper brand engagement and loyalty, and effectively managing inventory, while also realizing better margins. Vertical retail not only allows us to better understand our customers, but also enables us to cut out the layers of costs associated with traditional wholesalers, creating a more efficient cost structure. Ultimately, we believe this provides unmatched value to customers, enabling us to deliver better products and a better experience to customers, one that competitors relying on wholesale distribution cannot afford to deliver at our price point.
•Unique and Agile Infrastructure with Key Investments in Place to Scale
Our vision from day one has been to be a global lifestyle brand that makes and delivers better products in a better way. Through careful investments and strategic partnerships, we have built a robust infrastructure with key investments in place across several functional areas that will enable our company to profitably scale, including supply chain, technology, and localized teams with market expertise.
Why We Will Continue to be Successful
Our intention is to be a high-growth, profitable business that consistently delivers great outcomes for our stakeholders. To do this, we believe it is vital to have a clear long-term growth strategy that translates into near-term growth initiatives.
Our long-term strategy to fulfill this vision has five strategic pillars:
•Make the world’s most comfortable shoes and apparel, powered by world-leading sustainable materials innovation and design;
•Build a global brand that attracts a large, loyal community of customers who love our products;
•Inspire that community of customers to keep coming back and to serve as our biggest advocates;
•Serve that community through a digitally-enabled and seamless cross-channel experience; and
•Deliver the highest quality products on time at a great value to our customers through a low-carbon, technology-enabled, consumer-focused supply chain.
Threading through these five strategic pillars is our commitment to tread lighter and have a positive impact on all stakeholders, including the environment, our flock of employees, communities, consumers, and investors.
In the near term, this strategy will manifest itself in the following five growth initiatives:
•Innovate and make great new products with natural, sustainable materials in the following ways: introducing new materials, expanding footwear offerings, and broadening our apparel offerings.
•Raise awareness and grow our customer community with thought leadership moments, community, expanding our brand beacon through physical touchpoints, and full-funnel marketing.
•Deepen engagement with our community of customers with an emphasis on product, personalization, and proximity.
•Expand vertical retail distribution to meet our customers where they are by increasing our store fleet, growing within our existing international markets, further personalizing and growing our digital channels.
•Optimize infrastructure for profitable growth with an innovation-focused partner network and technology-led efficiency improvements.
Commitment to Profitable Growth
Our commitment to tread lighter and have a large positive impact on all of our stakeholders requires financial discipline and a focus on profitable growth. Our expectation is that the combination of our strategy and growth initiatives will result in both topline expansion and operational leverage, leading to a strong margin profile and a robust bottom line. If executed as we anticipate, the impact of the growth drivers should manifest in:
•gross margin improvement due to lower costs related to scale and favorable product, channel, and geographic mixes;
•marketing efficiency improvement, as a percentage of sales, due to favorable channel mix, greater awareness, and less reliance on new customer acquisition as a driver of revenue growth; and
•operating expense improvement, as a percentage of sales, due to scale and leveraging historical infrastructure investments as we grow.
Our core strengths work in unison to allow us to make better things in a better way, tread lighter, and help our consumers to live life in better balance. Our core strengths also create a competitive moat that sets us apart from competitors. Starting from our materials science innovation and versatile, distinctly simple designs, we have built a powerful product innovation platform that allows us to continue to create new and differentiated products and grow closet share. Our superior products are backed by a global lifestyle brand and a vertical distribution strategy that offer our repeat customers value, convenience, and peace of mind. Underlying our business are our dedicated employees, supply chain capabilities, and technology that allow us to profitably grow our business and have a positive impact on the world.
Allbirds started in 2016 with a single offering, the Wool Runner, which TIME Magazine named “The World’s Most Comfortable Shoe.” Since our initial launch, we have methodically built our product development engine through a fully-integrated team across strategy, sustainability, design, sourcing, development, and production, both in our U.S. headquarters and within our manufacturing and supply chain innovation partners, combining to deliver the same product philosophy and design principles that created our iconic Wool Runner: sustainability at the core with distinctly simple design and performance comfort in mind.
Today, we offer more than 60 products across Footwear and Apparel within our Lifestyle and Perform categories. Each product adheres to our three product design principles, creating an evergreen, fad-resistant product that never goes out of style.
Footwear has historically represented the vast majority of our revenue and has been the foundation of our brand. We think of each new style launch as a franchise where each new design can be leveraged across new materials innovations, colors, partnerships, and adjacent stylings to create freshness for the brand and our customers.
Our unique technical expertise in footwear and materials research and development has provided us consumer credibility for our entry into apparel. Our apparel offerings currently include lifestyle tees, sweatpants, sweatshirts, as well as performance tanks, tees, leggings, and shorts, plus basics including socks and underwear. Our apparel offerings leverage our leading naturally derived materials innovation to re-imagine products in a category that has been historically reliant on synthetics and poor environmentally performing products and supply chains.
Materials and Innovation
Our innovation approach is to leverage materials that are both more sustainable than synthetic alternatives and also have real, tangible performance benefits that can easily be experienced and appreciated by customers, such as comfort, temperature regulation, and odor control. We have developed a unique, systemized approach to using natural materials R&D to create differentiated products that unlock value for our customer and are measurably better for the planet. This authenticity stands in contrast to legacy companies that claim sustainability by inserting a small amount of natural or recycled materials in their products.
Materials research and development is led by our Innovation team, which draws on its deep expertise in biomaterials commercialization and polymer science. Additionally, we collaborate with experts in the fields of biomechanics, polymer development, green chemistry, biotechnology, and sustainable venture investment to extend the innovation ecosystem beyond our employees and supply base. Our process of bringing these materials to market is executed in close coordination with our Product Development team to ensure that products utilizing these novel materials meet or exceed our customers’
quality and performance standards before it is ready for commercialization. In the five years since our initial launch, we have already built a palette of distinctive “Hero” materials platforms that provide the foundation for our product innovation.
We continuously refine our “Hero” materials to further enhance the customer experience, with each iteration seeking to improve upon the comfort, versatility, and performance of the previous materials.
Marketing Strategy and Brand
From the start, our goal to inspire people to live life in better balance has been central to our marketing. Our customers associate our brand with our mission and sustainability, supported by high-quality product experiences powered by our materials innovation, and our track record of striving to do what is right for all of our stakeholders. As a vertically integrated company that has a direct relationship with our customers, we couple an organic marketing approach with our vast data ecosystem to construct a well-balanced and diversified marketing funnel that consistently drives return on advertising spend that works well for our financial model today and as we scale.
We are focused on increasing brand awareness and consumer touchpoints through the following marketing initiatives:
•Spreading our message through word-of-mouth, thought leadership and PR, partnerships, and community.
•Extending our reach and connecting with our customers through digital and performance marketing, TV and other media, stores as physical brand beacons, and customer experience.
Digitally-Led Vertical Retail
We reach our customers directly through our digitally-led vertical retail distribution strategy, which combines our digital offerings with our stores so we can meet consumers where they are, delivering value and convenience. Our digital channel includes our website, which supports seven languages and showcases the entire breadth of our product portfolio, the materials that create our portfolio, and our branded content. The seamless online experience from search to order to fulfillment creates the convenient shopping experience that our customers desire. In addition, our digital platform allows us to educate our customers on both our products and our mission, leveraging content from our research on sustainability innovation and our commitment to reversing climate change through better business. Complementary to our online presence, our mobile app allows customers to virtually try on footwear, purchase exclusive product drops, and gain early access to our new product launches, creating further engagement between our brand and our customer.
As of December 31, 2021, our physical retail channel includes our 35 company-operated stores spread across eight countries and 22 cities and areas. In addition to performing well as standalone entities, our locations serve as brand beacons, increasing brand awareness and site traffic, and driving an overall lift in the business within the regions they operate. Our physical retail channel also enables us to offer cross-platform shopping which fulfills customer needs. Endless aisle allows us to fulfill a customers’ request for items that are not available in store, minimizing lost sales and optimizing a store’s footprint while still being able to provide the full product breadth to our customers.
Since our inception, we have aspired to leverage modern technology across physical and digital channels. Our current technology infrastructure is nimble and enables us to scale globally at a lower cost than large incumbents. We have married tried-and-true enterprise systems with custom-built technology stacks tailored to our needs. Because we started our business with a modern technology stack, we are able to rely on partners such as Shopify to more effectively scale. We have benefited from investments in digital customer experience, data analytics and science, back office business applications, and data security. We have grown our business with a Cloud-First approach, allowing us to execute and innovate with speed and agility. To create our digital customer experience, we leverage a common core set of APIs and tools that enable localization and speed-to-market. We have a sophisticated data infrastructure and toolset that allows our global teams to make informed decisions across key aspects of the business. Our data is vast and growing rapidly, giving us deeper understanding to continuously optimize our business. This data, coupled with advanced data science and analytics, powers many areas of our business including marketing, customer relationship management, personalization, inventory planning, logistics, and product investment decisions.
We made early investments in back office business applications to scale globally. This enabled us to build reusable technology and business processes such as procure-to-pay and order-to-cash that are leveraged across geographies, allowing us to rapidly grow our global footprint. In 2021, we completed the rollout of new technology that standardizes procure-to-pay and store replenishment business processes across our supply chain. This new technology gives us the
ability to track inventory more accurately and efficiently, thereby helping to improve our inventory planning and logistics decisions.
Protecting our customer data, employee data, and intellectual property is a responsibility we take very seriously and is essential to keep the confidence and trust of all our stakeholders. We employ multi-factor authentication, a suite of security tools, systems monitoring and alerting, audit logs, and controls across our major systems, corporate devices, and business processes to protect and secure sensitive data.
Our Supply Chain and Operations
Our unique combination of sourcing, manufacturing, and distribution capabilities create a foundation from which we can continue to innovate and scale across the globe. We work hard to keep our relationships with our suppliers robust, respectful, and resilient so that our relatively small supply chain can make a real difference in the drive toward innovation and lighter impact on the environment. Our distribution network, comprised of nine distribution centers across eight countries (the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, China, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand), puts us close to the customer, allowing us to reach 35 countries in a matter of days with quick, reliable service.
•Responsible sourcing program and small, tight-knight supply chain. Unlike most footwear and apparel brands that pick from a set of predetermined, off-the-shelf materials, we have approached materials sourcing from the fiber and molecular level up, beginning with the farms and a greater focus towards the inputs to the materials we use through our direct supplier relationships. This process generates higher quality inputs, while also providing greater traceability, helping ensure that our supply chain remains aligned with our brand values. Because of the high standards we promise our consumers, we both partner with certification bodies and do our own work to ensure our suppliers are meeting standards for quality, ethical practices, and environmental sustainability. This often means that we develop relationships with producers of base resins for soles, and with the farmers of our base fibers used in both shoes and apparel. For example, we’ve built a deep relationship with the New Zealand Merino Company, or NZM, which has been our wool supplier since the beginning. NZM’s direct sourcing model allows us to develop relationships directly with farmers (who we visit regularly), creating the ability to choose sourcing partners who have aligned values with our brand. We also rely on a carefully selected set of leading standards and certifications such as NZM’s ZQ certified wool (which is the highest standard in sheep welfare) and Forest Stewardship Council, or FSC-certified (which is the world’s leading standard in responsible forest management), fiber, rubber, and paper, which we pull through our supply chain.
•Manufacturing. Due to our thoughtfully-curated product offering, we have carefully selected a tight group of Tier 1 factories as our partners to help us make world-class products, helping to develop the technical expertise needed to work with our sustainable materials via an extensive iteration process. We have established deep long-standing relationships by directly partnering with their development, commercialization, manufacturing, and quality teams from ideation through production, and have embedded our employees within some key factories to oversee the product process. Our relationship-based approach has helped us be nimble and drive flexibility and agility to react to changes in macroeconomic conditions, customer demand, or internal priorities, as evident during the COVID-19 pandemic when we experienced minimal disruptions to our manufacturing effectiveness across our entire factory base.
We require that all partners sign our Supplier Code of Conduct, or Supplier Code, which requires that suppliers operate in full compliance with the laws, rules and regulations of the countries in which they operate. Our Supplier Code goes further, drawing upon ILO Core Labor Standards, in order to advance social and environmental responsibility. We also expect supplier factories to undertake an onsite social assessment by an independent, third-party social assessment firm. These social assessments ensure suppliers meet our minimum expectations with regards to working conditions as specified in our Supplier Code. In addition to conducting our own audits when necessary, we accept third-party, mutually recognized standards to reduce audit fatigue at factories and ensure safe, lawful, humane, and ethical manufacturing practices.
Our footwear products are primarily manufactured in Korea and Vietnam across four vendors, with the ability to scale up manufacturing in China as a potential alternative. Our apparel and other non-footwear products are primarily manufactured in Vietnam and Peru, with China, the United States, and Indonesia supporting a smaller subset across six vendors.
•Logistics and distribution. From the beginning, we prioritized the customer experience by establishing distribution centers in all of our key markets. We have nine distribution centers in eight countries, giving us the ability to reach
35 countries. Each region has its own distribution center to manage pick, pack, and ship activities, including retail fulfillment and returns management. We rely solely on third-party logistics providers for these distribution centers, as well as last-mile carriers to distribute finished products from our warehouse locations to our stores and individual orders directly to consumers. Our U.S. business is serviced through two different locations in Kentucky and California that enable digital click-to-home of three to five business days on average while minimizing transportation cost and carbon impact. Having two distribution centers in the United States allows us to reduce shipping distance, costs, delivery, and our carbon footprint. Our entire supply chain has been carbon neutral since 2019. In almost all of our major markets, we directly interface with major parcel and freight carriers to drive cost and process efficiencies.
The market in which we primarily operate in is highly competitive. Our competitors include athletic and leisure footwear companies, and athletic and leisure apparel companies. While this market is highly fragmented, many of our competitors are larger, with strong worldwide brand recognition, and have substantially greater resources than us. In addition, access to offshore manufacturing and the growth of digital have made it easier for new companies to enter the markets in which we compete, further increasing competition in the footwear and apparel industry.
We believe we are well-positioned to compete in this industry given our unique combination of innovative materials and products, purpose-driven lifestyle brand, deep connection with our community of customers, global vertical retail distribution offering, and infrastructure ready for scale.
Public Benefit Corporation Status
As a demonstration of our long-term commitment to environmental conservation, our board of directors and stockholders elected in February 2016 to amend our certificate of incorporation to become a PBC under Delaware law. Under Delaware law, a PBC is required to identify in its certificate of incorporation the public benefit or benefits it will promote and its directors have a duty to manage the affairs of the corporation in a manner that balances the pecuniary interests of the corporation’s stockholders, the best interests of those materially affected by the corporation’s conduct, and the specific public benefit or public benefits identified in the corporation’s certificate of incorporation. A PBC is also required to assess its benefit performance internally and to disclose to its stockholders at least biennially a report detailing the corporation’s success in meeting its public benefit objectives.
As provided in our certificate of incorporation, the public benefit that we promote, and pursuant to which we manage our company, is environmental conservation.
Certified B Corporation
While not required by Delaware law or our PBC status, we have elected to have our social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency assessed against the proprietary criteria established by B Lab, Inc., or B Lab, an independent non-profit organization. We were first designated as a B Corp in 2016. The term “B Corp” does not refer to a particular form of legal entity, but instead refers to a company that has been certified as meeting the social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency standards set by B Lab.
In order to be designated as a B Corp, companies are required to undertake a comprehensive and objective assessment of their positive impact on society and the environment. The assessment evaluates how a company’s operations and business model impacts its workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment using a 200-point scale. While the assessment varies depending on a company’s size (number of employees), sector, and location, representative indicators in the assessment include payment above a living wage, employee benefits, stakeholder engagement, supporting underserved suppliers, and environmental benefits from a company’s products or services. After completing the assessment, B Lab will evaluate the company’s score to determine if it meets the requirements for certification using a process described on B Lab’s website. Historically, the median score for companies evaluated by B Lab has been 50.9, compared to our latest recertification score of 89.4 in 2019/2020, which increased from our initial score of 81.9 in 2016 despite the growing size and complexity of our business during those years. Our next B Lab recertification will occur at the end of 2022.
Acceptance as a B Corp and continued certification is at the sole discretion of B Lab. To maintain our certification, we are required to update our assessment and provide documentation supporting our updated score with B Lab every three years. To maintain our status as a B Corp, we will need to update our current certification no later than January 2023.
Environmental, Social, and Governance
Our intention is to help reverse climate change through better business. We believe that climate change is an existential threat and the number one issue facing humanity and the global economy. Climate change is a complex issue that can be summarized simply: the climate is changing because humans are releasing too many greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. According to a 2020 McKinsey and Global Fashion Agenda report, the global fashion industry accounted for approximately 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, or 2.1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, or CO2e, and over 70% of those emissions were related to upstream activities like materials production, preparation, and processing. The 2015 Paris Agreement set the goal to limit global warming to well below 2° Celsius, preferably to 1.5° Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. Under its current trajectory, the fashion industry is expected to fall short of meeting the 1.5° Celsius target by 50%, according to a 2020 McKinsey and Global Fashion Agenda report. The pace of change must accelerate in order for the industry to be compatible with planetary boundaries, and Allbirds offers a blueprint for how to get there. Our approach to addressing the climate impact of our business is scientific and data driven—we first measure, then reduce, and finally offset the entirety of our emissions.
Allbirds measures CO2e produced in making our products and running our business—because you can’t reduce what you don’t measure. The information we gather not only informs product design and development, but enables us to identify hotspots in our value chain with the highest emissions and prioritize efforts in areas we can have the most impact.
We use a Life Cycle Assessment, or LCA, methodology to measure the emissions created across the lifetime of our products, including raw materials production, manufacturing, transportation, product use, and end of life. Our LCA methodology has been built in partnership with external experts, and has been third-party verified to meet ISO 14067 standards, the international standard for quantifying, monitoring, reporting, and validating greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2020, we began labeling each of our products with its carbon footprint. We did this for two reasons: to hold ourselves accountable to reducing our impact over time, and to help our customers develop a sense for the climate impact of the things they buy. According to a survey we conducted of 1,300 U.S. customers in 2020, 92% of our customers trust us to deliver reliable information, tools, and advice around sustainability. We empower people to make better decisions for the planet by providing them with objective and quantitative information about the impact of the product they’re buying.
Our goal is to inspire other brands to follow suit, so that one day customers can compare carbon footprints of products just like they compare nutrition labels on food. This would create a productive “race to the top” where brands compete to have the lowest carbon footprint products. In service of this future, we have published our LCA methodology, detailed methodology, and our labeling system for anyone to download and implement in their own business, and have specifically shared these resources with the 15 largest fashion brands to invite them along on our journey. Several large companies have announced commitments to label products with carbon footprints, and we’re eager for more organizations to do the same.
By using natural, renewable materials in place of petroleum-based synthetics and responsible manufacturing practices, Allbirds produces footwear today with approximately 30% less emissions than our estimated carbon footprint for a standard sneaker. If we assume all 24 billion pairs of shoes produced by the industry in 2019 had a 30% lower carbon footprint relative to our estimate of the carbon footprint of a standard sneaker, the industry would have saved 98 million tonnes of CO2e, which is equivalent to taking 21 million cars off the road in the same timeframe. Using our product carbon footprint methodology, our internal estimates are that we reduced the weighted average carbon footprint of our top 10 products in 2021 by approximately 13.8%, as compared to 2020. In 2021, we teamed up with adidas to create a pair of performance running shoes with a carbon footprint of 2.94kg of CO2e—about ¼ the carbon footprint of standard sneakers.
We are able to produce lower-impact products because sustainability is a key design principle woven throughout the product development process, not an add-on at the end. At the very beginning of the product creation process, we integrate key sustainability constraints like target carbon footprint and preferred materials composition in addition to standard practices like establishing target profit margins. Our Sustainability Team also ensures that sustainability is considered at every key milestone of creating a product. We believe that great products must be sustainable, which does not require a compromise between looking good, feeling good, and doing good.
To continue to lead the industry, and to build a business that is compatible with less than 1.5° Celsius warming, we have an ambitious plan to dramatically reduce the per unit carbon footprint for each of our products by 50% by the end of 2025 and by 95% by 2030, in each case, relative to a baseline of what our average carbon emissions would be per unit in 2025 without any further action to limit emissions. Our plan to help reverse climate change has three strategic priorities: Regenerative Agriculture, Renewable Materials, and Responsible Energy. These initiatives are underpinned by five foundational areas: Fair Labor, Water, Chemistry, Animal Welfare, and Traceability and Transparency. These priorities have been defined through a materiality process informed by input from various stakeholder groups including employees, investors, customers, and suppliers.
Within our three priorities, we have outlined ten measurable commitments that collectively can yield a 50% reduction in the per unit carbon footprint for each of our products by the end of 2025, relative to what our average carbon emissions would be per unit in 2025 without any further action to limit emissions. Our strategy is aligned to the United Nations’
Sustainable Development Goals, including affordable and clean energy, responsible consumption and production, climate action, and life on land, among others.
We believe that near term goals and progress must be coupled with long term ambition. We have outlined an extension of our 2025 goals to align with the scientific community’s focus on achieving significant climate progress by 2030. To that end we established a target to achieve a 95% reduction in our per unit carbon footprint by 2030, relative to a baseline of what our average carbon emissions would be per unit in 2025 without any further action to limit emissions. This is equivalent to a 44% reduction (or a 42% reduction excluding product use) in our absolute carbon footprint against a 2020 baseline across Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, despite ambitious growth goals for units sold. Our target has been externally validated as compliant with all the requirements of the Science Based Targets initiative, or SBTi, including a path to a 1.5° Celsius reduction, and we received formal validation by the SBTi in 2021.
Our sustainability plan is not just better for the planet; it is better for our business. We have conducted a rigorous feasibility assessment for each of our targets, including the investment required. We have targets to reduce raw materials use by 25%, relative to a baseline of what our average materials use would be per unit in 2025 without any further action to limit emissions, and to achieve a steady state of greater than 95% of shipments by ocean freight. We expect that these two targets would both reduce costs and positively impact gross margin such that we can achieve all of our targets at a cost
savings to the business. By proactively creating a climate-resilient business, we believe we are well-positioned to profitably grow and lead a new age of sustainable manufacturing.
While we’ve been a carbon neutral business through the use of offsets since 2019, our ultimate goal is to reach net zero carbon emissions across our entire footprint (Scopes 1, 2, and 3) by 2030—meaning on average our products have a carbon footprint of less than one kg of CO2e, before offsetting the rest. To do that, we are building the cost of carbon emissions into our business by implementing an internal carbon tax across all of our sourcing and business decisions today. Offsets are only a credible tool if you also have a robust plan to reduce emissions. We are taking steps, through regenerative agriculture, materials innovation, and clean energy, to reduce emissions within our direct footprint and within our supply chain. For those emissions that we are not able to abate today, we have invested in high quality carbon offset projects, and have purchased renewable electricity, to neutralize our remaining emissions. Allbirds has been a carbon-neutral business on an annual basis across Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions since 2019.
We know all carbon offsets are not created equal, so we work with trusted partners to source projects we believe in. All of our offset projects must be certified to an internationally recognized offset standard such as Gold Standard and Verified Carbon Standard, and are screened against criteria like permanence, additionality, leakage, and vintage year. Finally, our calculations and offset purchases are reviewed by Climate Neutral, a non-profit organization of which we are a founding member that helps brands decrease their emissions, in order to achieve Climate Neutral certification.
People (Our Flock)
Our thriving culture and talented employees, also known as our “flock,” have been a critical factor in our success to date and will be critical to our success in the future. Further, as a PBC, employees are an important stakeholder in our business as are the communities that extend beyond our walls.
As of December 31, 2021, we employed approximately 710 ’birds, 514 of whom were located in the United States. 258 of our ’birds work in one of our corporate offices, 410 work in retail, and 32 work in customer experience. We also hire seasonal employees in retail and customer experience, primarily during the peak holiday selling season. None of our employees are represented by a labor union with respect to his or her employment. In certain countries in which we operate, we are subject to, and comply with, local labor law requirements, which include works councils and industry-wide collective bargaining agreements. We have not experienced any work stoppages, and we consider our relations with our employees to be good.
•Culture and Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
We are committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and believe our success as a company is dependent upon our ability to integrate tangible, measurable practices to ensure all voices are heard. We have seven employee resource groups, or ERGs, supporting various communities, including Women, LGBTQ+, AAPI, Black, Latinx, parents/caregivers, and international inclusion. These ERGs encourage employees to come together and support our business and each other through programming, education, and community engagement. We track and measure our diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging progress and representation quarterly. As of December 31, 2021, people of color and women made up 48% and 53%, respectively, of our U.S. workforce.
•Global Talent Development and Engagement
We enable the flock to operate at their highest potential by building critical skills and leadership capabilities across all levels. We train our global retail and customer support teams to deliver incredible customer experiences and drive sales, while maintaining our vision globally and localizing content through collaborative review processes.
As Allbirds scales to a global organization, we have implemented critical organizational structures and managerial capabilities, including building an executive leadership team with deep expertise across retail, consumer, and eCommerce, and intentionally implementing a structure appropriate for our scale. We conduct bi-annual surveys to collect feedback and understand employee sentiment and engagement, and host inclusive leadership training sessions.
•Our Response to COVID
Since March 2020, we have been closely monitoring the volatile COVID-19 landscape, with the health and safety of our flock top of mind. We acted swiftly in response to the crisis by temporarily closing most of our facilities, including the majority of our stores, and worked to implement various pay protection frameworks for retail employees.
We also offer a variety of resources to support our flock’s emotional and physical well-being during the pandemic, including helpful internal tools and resources, free access to telehealth therapists, and a wellness program with a variety of virtual classes. We will continue to prioritize the safety of our flock through the pandemic and are closely monitoring the situation in every market which we serve. We will temporarily close stores and restrict operations as necessary, based upon information from government and health officials.
Our total rewards strategy is designed to encourage employees to live our values while helping us to achieve company sustainability goals. For example, we provide our full-time employees with 16 hours of paid time off each year specifically for volunteer activities performed during working hours, as well as charitable donation matching up to $500 per year. Furthermore, our executive compensation for director level and above is explicitly tied to a target reduction in company-wide emissions.
For too long the footwear and apparel industry has offered customers a false trade-off between sustainable products and great products. We offer great products that are also sustainable, and make it easy for our customers to understand the impact of the products they buy through our carbon footprint labels. In this way, as well as through our generous 30-day return policy, we believe we empower our customers to make purchasing decisions that make sense to them. We designed our vertical retail business strategy in order to provide more value to customers and to make our products more accessible, removing the cost, friction, and barriers of wholesale distribution.
A core tenet of our B Corp status is supporting the communities in which we operate. We are always looking for opportunities to uplift local communities where we are uniquely suited to lend a helping hand. To name a few examples:
•Allgood Collective. The Allgood Collective is a growing global community of individuals who promote the power of collective action as a force for good and who act as brand ambassadors for us. As of December 31, 2021, we had over 177 ambassadors who were part of our Allgood Collective. We offer our social media platforms to amplify their work and our retail spaces as community hubs.
•Soles4Souls. Our generous 30-day return policy means that a lot of gently worn shoes get sent back to us. When shoes are returned to Allbirds, those that can’t go back onto the shelf are donated to Soles4Souls. Soles4Souls works with partner organizations in developing countries. Since our first sale in 2016, we have donated more than 267,000 pairs of shoes to Soles4Souls.
•Pensole. In 2021, we teamed up with Pensole Academy, a footwear design academy, to launch the Better Responsible Design Program, an eight week online course that challenges aspiring product designers to redefine the category of sustainable footwear. At the end of the course, we selected two students for a fully paid internship at Allbirds.
•Fam 1st Family Foundation. In 2021, we partnered with Marshawn Lynch, a Bay Area native and former NFL player, and EARTHseed Farm, a 14-acre solar-powered organic farm in Sonoma County, California, to promote environmental education and expand access to nature for Bay Area youth. As part of this partnership, we donated $50,000 to the Fam 1st Family Foundation, an Oakland, California-based nonprofit founded by Mr. Lynch. The organization is dedicated to empowering underserved youth and fostering a new generation of innovative thinkers, leaders, and problem solvers.
In addition to our status as a PBC and certification as a B Corp, we also focus on the following areas of governance:
Oversight and Our Board of Directors
We regularly require that ESG issues are represented at the highest level of decision making (including through a Head of Sustainability). We have a gender-diverse board of directors, with 38% of our directors identifying as women. Management reports on ESG issues to our board of directors on a quarterly basis. The sustainability, nomination, and governance committee of our board of directors is responsible for overseeing ESG matters.
Sustainability Advisory Committee
In 2021, we formally established a Sustainability Advisory Committee composed of external and independent third-party ESG experts. The committee is co-chaired by our Head of Sustainability and aims to advise management on ESG strategy and reporting.
Dual Class Common Stock Structure
Since the beginning of our history, our founders have been singularly focused on building a sustainable business that demonstrates profitable growth because it is sustainable. This is also true for the stockholders who have partnered with us since the early stages of our journey. We have prioritized protecting the ability of our founders and our early financial partners to continue driving toward that vision by implementing a dual class common stock structure that is designed to allow for a thoughtful calibration of long-term objectives with short-term demands.
In accordance with our PBC status, we publish a biennial report to stockholders that assesses our progress towards our stated public benefit of environmental conservation and general PBC objectives. In 2021, we made this report publicly available on our website. Before publication, each report is reviewed by a cross-functional group of internal stakeholders including Legal, Finance, Marketing, and Employee Experience with final signoff from our Co-Chief Executive Officers. We have worked with external experts to align our ESG reporting with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure frameworks, which are included below in the sections titled “Sustainability Accounting Standards Board Disclosures” and “The Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures”.
The SPO framework1 laid out in our final prospectus filed with the SEC on November 4, 2021 pursuant to Rule 424(b)(4) is a set of ESG criteria that we call the Sustainability Principles and Objectives Framework, or the SPO Framework. The SPO Framework is designed to ensure that Allbirds takes into consideration positive ESG outcomes, as well as the need to mitigate negative ESG factors, and is committed to meeting a high standard of ESG criteria across its business.
We believe that stakeholders will benefit from knowing that we have been assessed by one or more independent third parties as having satisfied objective, clearly defined ESG criteria and that we are committed to meeting high ESG standards across our business. We also believe we are leading by example through our commitment to establishing a rigorous, objective, and clearly defined SPO Framework and holding ourselves accountable to meeting those criteria. Finally, we believe the establishment and public disclosure of our SPO Framework will help investors better understand and assess our commitment to sustainability and positive outcomes for all stakeholders.
Sustainalytics ESG Risk Rating
We believe it is important to seek external evaluation of the work we are doing to validate progress and identify areas for improvement. In a world where climate change is an existential threat, supply chains are increasingly complex, and
1 The Sustainability Principles and Objectives Framework, or the SPO Framework, is a new and untested framework, which was not developed solely by disinterested third parties but rather was developed with input from Allbirds and other partners. There is no basis for investors to, or track record by which investors can, assess the impact of the SPO Framework on our operations, financial condition, and the market price of our Class A common stock. The SPO Framework was created in conjunction with, and supported by, an Advisory Council coordinated by BSR, a global non-profit business network focused on sustainability, and consisting of two individuals employed by Allbirds, two individuals employed by one of our stockholders, Baillie Gifford, which is a beneficial owner of less than two percent of our outstanding shares of capital stock, and several cross-sector thought-leaders, market participants, and stakeholders from the private and public sectors.
human capital management is more important than ever, it is important for Allbirds to analyze and manage ESG risks to our business. In 2021, we engaged Sustainalytics, a globally recognized independent ESG assessment provider, to perform a broad-based Corporate ESG Assessment of Allbirds covering seven distinct ESG categories, including Human Capital, Supply Chain, Resource Use, Emission & Waste, and Corporate Governance. Sustainalytics assessed us as having an overall indicative Corporate ESG Assessment score of 14.7, which places Allbirds in the “low risk” category as of August 2021. Our indicative score would place us in both the top 10% of Footwear companies assessed by Sustainalytics and in the top 10% of all companies assessed by Sustainalytics2.
Sustainability Accounting Standards Disclosures
The mission of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, or SASB, is to develop sustainability metrics for public corporations to disclose material, decision-useful information to investors. Our disclosures are designed to provide comparable and consistent data. We have included metrics from the SASB’s Consumer Goods Sector – Apparel, Accessories and Footwear industry standard and Consumer Goods Sector – ECommerce industry standard that are relevant to our business below. Although we include all the disclosures for the SASB Apparel, Accessories, and Footwear industry standard, our primary standard, in the tables below, we do not currently satisfy all of the requirements for that standard. In addition, we have included select disclosures from the SASB eCommerce industry standard in the tables below that we believe are relevant for our business. We will continue to build out our disclosures in alignment with these standards over time.
|Description of Disclosure||2021 Response||SASB Standard|
|Raw Materials Sourcing|
2 The report is available at https://www.sustainalytics.com/corporate-solutions/sustainable-finance-and-lending/published-projects. Information contained on, or that can be accessed through, this website is not incorporated by reference in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and you should not consider information on this website to be part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. See the section titled “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business, Brand, Products, and Industry—We are subject to risks related to our ESG activities and disclosures, and our reputation and brand could be harmed if we fail to meet our public sustainability targets and goals.”
|Description of Disclosure||2021 Response||SASB Standard|
|Strategic approach to managing environmental and social risks that arise from sourcing priority raw materials, and approach to managing risks associated with the use of raw materials in products, including physical limits on availability, access, price, and reputational risks|
Allbirds relies on stringent material certifications to be sure we are buying high quality, natural materials. We work to trace our primary natural materials all the way back to the source, and certifications are an important part of ensuring that responsible practices are in place throughout our supply chain.
In 2021, our main raw material certifications were ZQ for Wool and FSC for Tree-based products (TENCEL™ Lyocell, natural rubber, packaging). As we incorporate more natural materials into our products, we will continue to seek out the most stringent certifications available.
Our 2025 Flight Plan goals include continuing to replace petroleum-based materials with natural ones such that 75% of our materials are sustainably sourced natural or recycled, reducing the carbon footprint of key raw materials by 25%, and reducing raw material use by 25% across footwear & apparel products.
We calculate the carbon footprint of each of our products including emissions from materials, manufacturing, transportation, product use, and end of life using our LCA tool. We have published detailed information about our LCA tool on our website.
|Priority raw materials that comprise products and the method of identifying priority raw materials|
In 2021, the top raw materials in our products, by weight, were wool, TENCEL™ Lyocell (tree-based fiber), recycled polyester, and SweetFoam®, our midsole blend that is made with ethylene-vinyl acetate, or EVA, and sugarcane-based Green EVA.
|Third Party Environmental and Social Standards|
|Percentage of raw materials that are third-party certified to an environmental or social sustainability standard||In 2021, 56% of raw materials by weight were third-party certified to an environmental or social sustainability standard (including ZQ certified wool and FSC certified fiber).3||CG-AA-440a.2.|
|Percentage of raw materials third-party certified to an environmental or social sustainability standard, by standard|
In 2021, the following raw materials were third-party certified, by weight:
•100% of Wool is ZQ certified
•100% of Tree source material is FSC certified
•100% of natural rubber is FSC certified
•96% of packaging is FSC certified4
3 Represents percentage of all raw materials by weight in product and packaging that were third-party certified to FSC and ZQ; excludes Global Recycling Standard certification, which we expect will be incorporated in future reporting.
4 75% of all Tree material (includes TencelTM Lyocell and natural rubber) in final products had full FSC chain of custody certification.
|Description of Disclosure||2021 Response||SASB Standard|
|The total amount of energy consumed as an aggregate figure, in gigajoules (GJ)||The total energy consumed in 2021 was 14,639 GJ.5||CG-EC-130a.1|
|The percentage of energy consumed that was supplied from grid electricity||Of 14,639 GJ of energy consumed in 2021, 57% was supplied from grid electricity. We do not have onsite generation.6|
|The percentage of energy consumed that is renewable energy||Of 14,639 GJ of energy consumed in 2021, 44% was from renewable sources.7|
|Environmental Impacts of Suppliers|
|Percentage of (1) Tier 1 supplier facilities and (2) supplier facilities beyond Tier 1 that have completed the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) assessment or an equivalent environmental data assessment||For 2021, we expect that 99.6% of our Tier 1 suppliers, by volume, will complete the Higg FEM. This represents 89% of our Tier 1 suppliers by factory count. We do not yet track the completion of the Higg FEM beyond our Tier 1 suppliers, but our goal is to achieve 100% Higg FEM completion from Tier 1 and strategic Tier 2 suppliers by the end of 2025.||CG-AA-430a.2.|
|Product Packaging & Distribution|
|Strategies to reduce the environmental impact of fulfillment and delivery of products, including impacts associated with packaging materials and those associated with product transportation including logistics selection, packaging choices, fuel and vehicle choices, route efficiency, etc.||We strive to minimize packaging and source packaging materials with the lowest environmental impact possible, while meeting functional requirements and delivering a best-in-class customer experience. We prioritize packaging that is made from traceable recycled materials that can be recycled at end of life. Practically, this means using FSC-certified recycled cardboard, printing with soy-based inks, limiting adhesives to enable recycling, and avoiding single-use polybags or bioplastics. During 2021, 100% of our packaging was made from recycled/renewable materials and 100% of our packaging was recyclable, renewable, or compostable, by weight.|
Moreover, we prioritize ocean transportation whenever possible. In 2021, we achieved 84% ocean shipping for inbound shipments by weight. Our goal is to achieve a steady state of over 95% ocean shipping by the end of 2025.
|The tank-to-wheels greenhouse gas, or GHG, footprint, in metric tons of CO2-e, associated with outbound shipment of products|
We are currently in the process of a third-party verification for our 2021 Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions and we plan to disclose the tank-to-wheels GHG footprint associated with outbound shipment of products emissions once the verification is complete.
5 Represents total energy consumed in retail stores and offices (which contributes to Scope 1 and 2 emissions); excludes energy consumed in warehouses (which contributes to Scope 3 emissions).
6 Represents total electricity consumed in retail stores and offices (which contributes to Scope 2 emissions); excludes electricity consumed in warehouses (which contributes to Scope 3 emissions). Represents total electricity other than onsite generation, as we do not currently generate electricity onsite.
7 Represents total renewable electricity consumed in retail stores and offices; includes, but is not limited to, utility renewable programs and purchased renewable energy credits, or RECs.
|Description of Disclosure||2021 Response||SASB Standard|
|Approach to Wastewater Management & Discharge||To date we have focused on increasing the number of our Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers to complete the Higg FEM assessment, which includes a module on wastewater discharge. We are currently defining the parameters of our wastewater quality program in alignment with Sustainable Apparel Coalition and Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals guidelines and have set a goal to reach 100% compliance with wastewater discharge requirements from our Tier 1 suppliers and Tier 2 fabric mills and dyehouses by the end of 2025.|
We prioritize selection of more sustainable alternatives for water proofing and textile dyeing that minimize the impact of wastewater discharge whenever possible.
|Description of water withdrawal, water risks, and water withdrawn or consumed in locations of high water stress||Our 2025 goals commit us to measure water consumption at Tier 1 and strategic Tier 2 suppliers, audit how our current supply chain impacts water scarce regions, and work with suppliers to identify conservation opportunities and set goals to reduce water consumption.||CG-EC-130a.2.|
|Data Center Design/ Selection|
|Environmental considerations integrated into siting, design, construction, refurbishment, and operational specifications for data centers||We currently outsource all of our data center needs and have no physical services (including no racks). We primarily rely on SaaS providers, which allow for resiliency if one data center we use has an interruption of service for any reason.||CG-EC-130a.3.|
|Description of Disclosure||2021 Response||SASB Standard|
|Raw Materials Sourcing and Third Party Environmental and Social Standards|
|The social impacts are addressed in the raw materials sourcing and third party environmental and social standard disclosures discussed above in the environment section of the table.|
|Processes to maintain compliance with restricted substances regulations|
|Processes used to verify that products are in compliance with restricted substances regulations|
In our Flight Plan, we set forth our goal to reach a clean chemistry standard (OEKO-TEX® 100 or higher) for 100% of our apparel products, by the end of 2025. We also require all weather proofing treatments have OEKO-TEX® Passport or bluesign® certification.
Vendors are required to avoid materials listed in our Restricted Substance List, or RSL, which is based on globally recognized standards (e.g., REACH, AFIRM). All material developments are required to follow our Allbirds Testing Manuals, which include chemical testing and are validated by our Materials team. We have set a target to verify that 100% of Tier 1 suppliers comply with our RSL and Manufacturing Restricted Substance List.
|Processes to assess and manage risks and/or hazards associated with chemicals in products|
|Description of Disclosure||2021 Response||SASB Standard|
|Process to manage risks and/or hazards associated with chemicals in products||In addition to the above, we require that all of our apparel and footwear products undergo GB 18401-2010 testing, covering chemicals, performance, and correct product labeling. We are developing a more robust testing program to coincide with our chemicals management program, which we plan to roll out to both Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers by 2025.||CG-AA-250a.2|
|Labor Conditions in the Supply Chain|
|Standards to which labor code of conduct compliance is measured||We are committed to ensuring that working conditions in our supply chain are safe, that workers are treated with respect and dignity, and that manufacturing processes are environmentally responsible. We require our suppliers to implement our Supplier Code of Conduct, which includes, but is not limited to, Occupational Health and Safety, Freely Chosen Employment, No Child Labor, Harassment or Abuse, No Discrimination, Freedom of Association, Working Hours, Wages and Benefits, Environmental Practices, and Animal Welfare. Allbirds adheres to recognized standards built from local law and internally accepted norms, including guidance from the International Labor Organization, to help ensure safe, lawful, humane, and ethical manufacturing practices.||CG-AA-430b.1|
|Publicly available policy ensuring freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining||Our Supplier Code of Conduct stipulates that suppliers shall recognize and respect the right of workers to form and join trade unions and other worker organizations and participate in collective bargaining without fear of harassment, interference, or retaliation. Suppliers shall also develop effective, respectful, and transparent grievance mechanisms to resolve disputes and complaints, and ensure effective communication between employees, employee representatives, and management.|
|Measures to ensure freedom of association and facilitate collective bargaining (i.e., communication of rights, grievance procedures)||Allbirds’ initiatives include ensuring workers in our supply chain have channels to voice concerns, suggestions, or advocate for their rights through Worker Voice programs. We are aiming for 100% of our Tier 1 factory workers to have access to Worker Voice programs by the end of 2025.|
Our grievance procedures for employees in our flock include formalized feedback and complaint mechanisms beyond direct reporting lines (including reporting directly to Employee Experience, Legal or anonymously through a whistleblower hotline) to address concerns and improve our company practices.
|Description of Disclosure||2021 Response||SASB Standard|
|Additional context around supply chain auditing, including Audit methodologies and criteria (e.g., management system investigation, worker interviews, management interviews, document review, visual observations), efforts to increase transparency, etc.|
We only source from a select number of Tier 1 suppliers that commit to protecting the rights of workers and the environment by signing our Supplier Code of Conduct. We also expect full transparency of our partners’ own supply chains and sub-suppliers.
Before a factory is approved to produce for Allbirds, it must pass a social and environmental audit as part of its evaluation. To assess factories’ compliance with our Responsible Sourcing expectations, we use independent, third-party, expert auditors. These audits, which may or may not be announced, include confidential worker interviews, review of documentation and records, and visual inspection of safety conditions. Audits are conducted against international labor standards and local law. Where there are discrepancies between the two, the more stringent requirement will be applied. Audit cadence is determined based on risk level from identified in previous audits.
In the middle of 2021, we updated our audit scoring system so that we could better track factory performance to enable future reporting. Audits are scored and factories are rated as Green (Low Risk), Yellow (Medium Risk), Red (High Risk), or ZT (Zero Tolerance), based on the highest risk level of non-compliance found in the audit. A passing audit is either Green or Yellow. Factories rated as Red or ZT after the initial audit will not be approved. Key metrics including risks identified and remediation efforts are expected to be published annually, once we have a full year of audit data.
Allbirds believes in continuous improvement and will partner with the factory to develop a Corrective Action plan, based on the audit findings. We require our suppliers to follow-up and improve upon any identified deficiencies in a realistic but timely manner, emphasizing root-cause-analysis and effective management to ensure long-term performance and accountability.
Whenever Allbirds starts working with a new factory, the factory will undergo the Allbirds Responsible Sourcing Audit. Once a compliance level is established, we will accept mutual recognition programs in order to reduce audit fatigue and collaborate with other brands.
|Percentage of (1) Tier 1 supplier facilities and (2) supplier facilities beyond Tier 1 that have been audited to a labor code of conduct, (3) percentage of total audits conducted by a third-party auditor||As of January 31, 2022, 100% of Tier 1 supplier facilities, by facility count, had social audits completed by a third-party in the previous 12 months. Two of our Tier 1 supplier facility audits were postponed from December 2021 to January 2022 due to COVID-related auditor availability. 100% of these audits were conducted by a third-party auditor. We are not yet able to report on labor code of conduct audits for suppliers beyond Tier 1, but plan to expand our audit program to all strategic Tier 2 suppliers by the end of 2025.||CG-AA-430b.1|
|Description of Disclosure||2021 Response||SASB Standard|
|Priority non-conformance rate and associated corrective action rate for suppliers’ labor code of conduct audits|
In 2021, we developed a comprehensive audit scoring system so that we could better track factory performance and corrective action rate to enable future reporting. As we do not yet have a full year of data, we are not ready to report on this disclosure but expect to do so in 2022.
|Corrective action rate for priority non-conformances with external labor code of conduct audit standards or internally developed supplier code(s) of conduct||CG-AA-430b.2.|
|Supply Chain Labor, Environment, Health & Safety Risks|
|The three labor conditions issues and the three environmental health and safety issues that pose the greatest potential risk in Allbirds’ supply chain|
Based on the materiality assessment we conducted in late 2020, the following topics were deemed to be ESG priorities to manage across the business, including in our supply chain.
Labor Conditions Issues:
•Diversity & social inclusion
•Economic inclusion & wage systems
Environmental Health and Safety Issues:
•GHG emissions and energy management
•Materials sourcing (includes health and safety aspects as well as environmental factors)
|Health and Safety|
|Health and safety policy and management system, and coverage of programs, employee training, data compilation, emergency response, and audits||Allbirds has policies and procedures in place to address the health, safety, and wellness of our employees, including applicable occupational health and safety principles. The company has a Retail Health & Safety Task Force comprised of cross functional leaders that meets weekly to discuss and share workplace health and safety matters and developments. Moreover, we conduct quarterly operational audits within retail stores to ensure that working areas are safe.|
Our Supplier Code of Conduct outlines Allbirds’ occupational health and safety requirements for suppliers within our supply chain. Specifically, we require our suppliers to provide their employees with a safe and healthy working environment to prevent accidents and injury to health arising out of, linked with, or occurring in the course of work or because of the operation of the supplier. Suppliers are expected to regularly assess the workplace for hazards and implement appropriate safety systems, controls, and training.
|Employee Recruitment, Retention, Inclusion and Performance|
|Description of Disclosure||2021 Response||SASB Standard|
|Policies and practices to foster an inclusive and diverse culture||Our commitment to building and cultivating a culture that incorporates diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging has never been stronger. We intentionally seek diversity in race, gender, background, cultures, socioeconomic status, age, and sexual orientation. We track and measure our diversity and representation quarterly.|
We conduct and have committed to conducting annual reviews of pay equity. Our 2021 pay equity review, which considered job level, performance, and experience across gender globally and ethnicity in the U.S., did not find statistically significant pay differences across gender or ethnicity.
|Gender representation for all employees and racial/ethnic group representation for its U.S. employees by employee category.|
Ethnic group representation by employee category as of December 31, 2021 (United States only):
•2% Black or African American
•6% Hispanic or Latino
•1% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
•8% Two or more races
•6% Hispanic or Latino
•9% Two or more races
All Other Flock Employees
•11% Black or African American
•18% Hispanic or Latino
•1% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
•8% Two or more races
Gender representation by employee category:
All Other Flock Employees
Employee categorizations are based on SASB and EEO-1 guidance.
|Description of Disclosure||2021 Response||SASB Standard|
|Source of the survey, methodology used to calculate the percentage, and a summary of questions or statements included in the survey or study (e.g., those related to goal setting, support to achieve goals, training and development, work processes, and commitment to the organization)||In 2021, we ran our annual engagement survey using an employee engagement and performance management software. The survey covered key indicators of employee engagement such as performance drive, career growth, culture of feedback, work environment/culture health, performance management, leadership, and direct managers. All 30 survey questions were translated into local languages to accurately capture the sentiments of our global team. The overall response was favorable.||CG-EC-330a.1.|
|Employee engagement as a percentage||In May 2021, Allbirds conducted an engagement survey of all global employees. Of all employees surveyed across different locations, 90% submitted a response. 73% of respondents reported favorable employee engagement.||CG-EC-330a.1.|
|Turnover as a percentage, including voluntary and involuntary departures||Our overall turnover rate in 2021 was 46%. Approximately 85% of turnover in 2021 was voluntary, and 15% was involuntary.||CG-EC-330a.2.|
|Work life balance|
|Options of workplace flexibility and working time reduction to support work life balance||Our Flexible Time Off Policy provides U.S. corporate, full-time employees in our flock with the ability to take as much time off as they need to reach their performance targets and achieve their goals for work-life balance. Outside of the United States, time off policies vary by country and depend on a variety of factors, including market practice and statutory benefits. Globally, our time-off policies are around or above market.|
|Pay and Benefits|
|Description of Disclosure||2021 Response||SASB Standard|
|Discussion of salaries above minimum wage or a living wage that allows workers and their families to maintain a safe, decent standard of living (minimum resources for physical well-being plus healthcare, utilities, transportation, education and small savings) and extent the company provides relevant healthcare benefits (e.g., financial contributions or company-paid medical facilities/services)||In the United States, our benefits include health and wellness, paid time off, competitive pay, career growth opportunities, paid volunteer time, product discounts, and a culture of recognition. Specific health and safety benefits for U.S. employees include employer-sponsored health insurance, dental insurance, vision care insurance, flexible spending accounts, and commuter benefits. We also offer wellness and technology reimbursements. Outside of the United States, benefits vary by country and depend on a variety of factors, including market practice and statutory benefits.|
Globally, we offer compensation that is competitive and linked to the skills, knowledge, and experience required in each position. We have also banned the practice of inquiring about salary history in the interview process, in line with local laws.
We are committed to establishing and implementing a living wage requirement for all direct employees globally within 24 months of our initial public offering in November 2021 (i.e., by November 2023), using a credible third-party framework.
|Extent the company provides relevant retirement benefits|
All permanent employees (including full-time and part-time) in the U.S. are eligible to participate in our 401(k) plan. We provide for employee pre-tax deferral contributions and after-tax Roth contributions and also provide a match on 100% of the first three percent of employee contributions and 50% on the next two percent, to a maximum match of four percent. All U.S. employees are also eligible for financial wellness benefits through Origin where they can speak with certified financial planners about retirement planning. We also provide life insurance to all regular full-time employees in the United States.
|Training & Development|
|Description of training programs to develop staff and enable personal and professional growth|
We have the following training and career development initiatives in place:
•Formal onboarding process for new flock members
•Ongoing training on core job responsibilities
•Manager training for all people managers
•Executive coaching for senior leaders
•Internal promotion of eligible employees
•Employees in the flock are able to make lateral moves or change career direction or pace when possible
|Disclosure of average training time/expenses per employee by employee category||In 2021, the average training time was 14.5 hours for individual contributors, 28.5 hours for line managers, 34.5 hours for directors, and 52.5 hours of training and coaching for senior leaders.|
|Technical Employees who are Visa Holders|
|Description of Disclosure||2021 Response||SASB Standard|
|Percentage of technical employees that held valid H-1B visas as of the close of the reporting period.||We believe this is immaterial to our business as it reflects less than 5% of our total workforce.||CG-EC-330a.4.|
|Description of Disclosure||2021 Response||SASB Standard|
|Good Governance Practices|
|Overview of our corporate governance policies and procedures, including how we assess and manage ESG risks and opportunities, engage with external stakeholders on ESG topics, and link remuneration with ESG performance.|
Public Benefit Corporation Status
Because we are a PBC under Delaware law, our board of directors must manage our business and affairs in a manner that balances the pecuniary interest of our stockholders, the best interest of those materially affected by our conduct, and the specific public benefit of environmental conservation that is identified in our certificate of incorporation. As a result, in operating our business we are required to consider environmental conservation and the well-being of our flock and other stakeholders affected by our conduct alongside the financial interests of our stockholders. We are also obligated to report to our stockholders every two years on our progress as a PBC. In 2021, we published our 2020 Sustainability Report, which fulfils the requirements of the Public Benefit Report, on our website, making it available to all stakeholders.
Certified B Corp Status
In addition to our PBC status, we have also achieved B Corp certification since 2016. Every three years, we must recertify through a process and set of expectations that have become more rigorous over time. According to B Lab, the median score of all businesses that have completed the B Impact Assessment is 50.9; our latest recertification score was 89.4 in 2019, up from our initial (2016) score of 81.9.
Management and employees at or above the Director level are incentivized, in part, through our bonus program, where bonuses are linked to sustainability outcomes, including specific metrics related to carbon reduction targets.
Oversight and our Board of Directors
We regularly require that ESG issues are represented at the highest level of decision making (including through our Head of Sustainability). Management reports on ESG issues to our board of directors on a quarterly basis. The Sustainability, Nomination, and Governance Committee of our board of directors is responsible for overseeing ESG matters. We have a gender diverse board, with 38% of our directors identifying as women.
Sustainability Advisory Committee
In 2021, we developed an external Sustainability Advisory Committee to provide an additional review of our sustainability strategy, progress, and insights into potential business risks and opportunities.
Multiple points of contact are provided through which customers may initiate inquiries and raise concerns to us regarding our collection, sharing, and use of their personal data.
|Data security risks & data breaches|
Data security is built into our company’s technology strategy since first launching our e-commerce site. We focus on a 360-degree approach designed to mitigate risks of data loss and protect ourselves against damages to our reputation. We utilize a wide range of tools as part of our cybersecurity program. Some examples include:
•Least Privilege Principle: We limit access to company resources based on user roles and real-time access needs.
•End User training: We require security training for all new employees as well as run frequent phishing simulations and additional training for those at high risk.
•Internal Audits: We regularly review all security programs, policies, and audit for any controls that need to be re-evaluated.
Our Chief Technology Officer and IT team provide regular presentations to the Audit Committee. No material breaches occurred in 2021.
|Discussion of measures that have been implemented to increase customer awareness on sustainability impacts of products during their life cycle and to help customers reduce the environmental footprint of products||We understand the value customers place on authenticity and transparency, and since our inception, have run extensive campaigns to educate consumers about the sustainability impacts of footwear and apparel in general, and how we are working to address those impacts through our manufacturing processes and our products themselves. We share information on the social and environmental attributes of our products in our stores, in our social media channels, on our website, and in our Sustainability Report. Examples of Allbirds marketing campaigns with a sustainability focus include labeling all products with their carbon footprint and freethefootprint.com.|
In 2020, we began labelling all of our products with their carbon footprint. We did this for two reasons: to hold ourselves accountable to reducing our impact over time and to help our customers make informed purchasing decisions with climate impacts in mind. Providing a product’s planetary cost front and center empowers people to make intentional choices.
According to a survey we conducted of 1,300 U.S. customers in 2020, 92% of our customers trust us to deliver reliable information, tools, and advice around sustainability.
|SASB Activity Metrics|
|Number of shipments||Our global e-commerce shipments in 2021 were approximately 3.6 million.8||CG-EC-000.C|
|Entity-defined measure of user activity||In 2021, we fulfilled approximately 2.5 million orders globally.||CG-EC-000.A|
|Data processing capacity, percentage outsourced||100% of our data processing is outsourced.9||CG-EC-000.B|
|Number of (1) Tier 1 suppliers and (2) suppliers beyond Tier 1||1) We had 11 Tier 1 suppliers in 2021.|
2) We had 320 suppliers beyond Tier 1 in 2021.10
The Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures
The Financial Stability Board established the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, or TCFD, which is committed to market transparency and stability, to develop recommendations for more effective climate-related disclosures. Allbirds supports the mission of the TCFD to improve and increase reporting of climate-related financial information. We believe our initial TCFD climate-related financial disclosures align with the TCFD recommendations, and we intend to continue to refine our strategy and reporting in this framework going forward. In the table below, we look at existing governance structures and strategy that fit within the TCFD framework, what was done in the year ended December 31, 2021, and indicate our aspirations for the future to make this disclosure more robust. TCFD provides a framework with four thematic areas—Governance, Strategy, Risk Management, and Metrics and Targets—and 11 recommended disclosures. The following table provides information intended to address each recommendation.
|Description of Disclosure||Notes and Location|
Governance: Disclose the organization’s governance around climate-related risks and opportunities.
8 We define number of shipments as number of global E-commerce shipments to customers; excludes returns and shipments to retail stores.
9 Due to our engagement with cloud computing, data analytics, and digital platforms.
10 “Tier 1” refers to the primary production facility to which an Allbirds purchase order is issued.
|Description of Disclosure||Notes and Location|
a.Describe the board’s oversight of climate-related risks and opportunities.
Our board of directors considers sustainability risks and opportunities as part of its overall strategic decision-making process through review and approval of our annual operating plan and our sustainability strategy.
Our Sustainability, Nomination, and Governance Committee has oversight of ESG topics; both the committee and the full board of directors receive quarterly reports from management on significant sustainability actions, goals, and progress.
Annually, the board of directors reviews and approves our Annual Report on Form 10-K, which includes disclosures regarding climate-related risks and opportunities.
b. Describe management’s role in assessing and managing climate-related risks and opportunities.
In 2021, we developed an external Sustainability Advisory Committee to provide a review of our sustainability strategy, progress, and insights into potential business risks and opportunities. The Sustainability Advisory Committee is composed of external ESG leaders who bring diverse experience and industry expertise. Management meets with the Sustainability Advisory Committee regularly to update and align on climate-related risks and opportunities.
Our sustainability strategy, or the Allbirds Flight Plan, centers on three strategic priorities: Regenerative Agriculture, Renewable Materials, and Responsible Energy, which are underpinned by ten specific, quantitative targets. These climate-related strategic priorities are operationalized through our Sustainability team, which is led by our Head of Sustainability. These strategic priorities have oversight from our Chief Operating Officer who reports directly to our co-CEO.
Executive bonuses are linked to sustainability outcomes, including specific metrics related to carbon reduction targets.
Our Sustainability team collaborates on an ongoing basis with cross-functional teams to monitor climate-related issues, and promote sustainability initiatives across our value chain, including product development, supply chain sourcing, and broader business operations, and reporting through a consolidated sustainability scorecard that is shared with our board of directors and management on a quarterly basis.
At the end of each fiscal year, the Sustainability team also engages with each business area to collect specific data to prepare the greenhouse gas inventory analysis. This process includes cross-functional and leadership reviews, as well as third-party verification of the data.
|Description of Disclosure||Notes and Location|
Strategy: Disclose the actual and potential impacts of climate-related risks and opportunities on the organization’s businesses, strategy, and financial planning.
a.Describe the climate-related risks and opportunities the organization has identified over the short, medium, and long term.
According to the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures’ 2020 Status Report, when companies choose to disclose on TCFD, only 7% globally fully disclose on the strategy pillar. Allbirds decided to pursue an analysis of climate-related risks in our strategy and our approach to risk management.
In 2021, management began the process of identifying, assessing, and quantifying Allbirds’ climate-related transition and physical risks, as well as corresponding opportunities, through a hot spot analysis. This assessment was supported by Anthesis, a global sustainability consulting leader, to help us better understand our risk exposure, create a roadmap for scenario analysis and resiliency planning, develop strategies for leveraging opportunities, and meet our reporting and disclosure commitments.
The first step in our climate-risk and opportunity analysis was to conduct climate risk and opportunity workshops with key business areas, including Sustainability & Innovation, Supply Chain, Product Development, Legal, Finance, Workplace, Marketing, Technology, and Retail. These workshops were intended to 1) identify a preliminary list of potential climate-related business risks and opportunities; 2) understand the potential scale of such risk or opportunity should it occur; and 3) identify substantive social, regional, or financial risk and opportunity thresholds that would designate a risk or opportunity as material to our business.
Once we had a preliminary list of risks and opportunities, we identified the anticipated effect (the impact that a risk or opportunity will have on that key business area) and vulnerability (any management plans we have to mitigate against those risks or capitalize on those opportunities) to understand the potential scale. The exercise analyzed both effect and vulnerability of transition and physical risks across the short- (five years), medium- (ten years), and long-term (30 years). At the conclusion of these workshops, we evaluated the effect and vulnerability of each physical and transition risk associated with climate change, which informs the list of risks and opportunities provided below.
The following risks have been identified through the workshops with the key business areas but have not been assessed for their materiality to our business. This will be completed through the upcoming scenario analyses.
Transition - the risks associated with the transition to a low-carbon economy over the next decade:
•Pricing on greenhouse gas, or GHG, emissions
•Energy and fuel price increase
Physical - the chronic and acute risks associated with the physical impacts of a changing climate may affect Allbirds’ ability to source natural materials and move them through a global supply chain. These physical climate risks include:
•Increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events including extreme precipitation and drought
•Increased mean temperatures including extreme heat and cooling degree days
•Wildfires brought on by droughts and extreme temperature
•Rising sea levels
•Changes in precipitation patterns
|Description of Disclosure||Notes and Location|
Efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change also present opportunities for our business:
•Energy Sources: Conventional fuel prices are projected to increase. Our goal is to use 100% renewable electricity to manufacture all Allbirds products at owned and operated facilities and finished goods manufacturers by the end of 2025. By procuring renewable energy, Allbirds will help mitigate additional costs to our business, helping preserve our competitive pricing structure.
•Products & Services: We believe Allbirds’ corporate mission and increasingly sustainable products provide a competitive position within the landscape of shifting consumer preferences for environmentally and socially responsible products.
•Resource Efficiency: Partnerships with manufacturing facilities on environmental initiatives may decrease costs. This could improve energy efficiency and indoor air quality, as well as improve employee attraction and retention through a commitment to sustainability and better working conditions.
•Resilience: Allbirds has developed tools and strategies to quantify and manage emissions, which will help to respond to climate change.
b. Describe the impact of climate-related risks and opportunities on the organization’s businesses, strategy and financial planning.
|To support our bold ambition on climate change, our sustainability strategy, or |
the Allbirds Flight Plan, centers on three strategic priorities: Regenerative Agriculture, Renewable Materials, and Responsible Energy, which are underpinned by ten specific, quantitative targets.
With these targets, we set a goal to cut our carbon emissions per unit of product produced in half by the end of 2025, relative to a baseline of what we expect our per-unit carbon emissions would be in 2025 without any further action to limit emissions. We will continue to be a carbon neutral business, as we have been since 2019 through the use of offsets.
We believe in the importance of demonstrating near-term progress and laying out a clear path to achieve our goals. We expect that achieving these ten targets as a whole ultimately improves gross margin and business resiliency.
c. Describe the potential impacts of different scenarios, including a 2°C scenario, on the organization’s businesses, strategy and financial planning.
|In 2021, we conducted a hotspot mapping exercise to prioritize our key climate-related risks and opportunities. Building off this exercise, we plan to conduct scenario analyses of the key transition and physical risks and opportunities. The analysis will quantify the financial implications associated with these climate-related risks and opportunities, enable us to gather the quantitative information necessary to assess our adaptive capacity, and further invest in opportunities to enhance resilience across our value chain.|
|Description of Disclosure||Notes and Location|
Risk Management Disclose how the organization identifies, assesses, and manages climate-related risks.
a.Describe the organization’s processes for identifying and assessing climate-related risks.
Our Sustainability team collaborates on an ongoing basis with cross-functional teams to monitor climate-related issues, and promote sustainability initiatives across our value chain, including product development, supply chain sourcing, and broader business operations, reporting through a consolidated sustainability scorecard that is shared with our board of directors and management quarterly.
Additional enterprise risk functions include climate-related risks as part of their analysis, which is presented to the Audit Committee of our board of directors and management annually.
Allbirds evaluates climate risks based on their likelihood, significance, and scope of impact across the business. The 2021 climate risk and opportunity identification workshops also established the key business areas’ substantive risk thresholds. Revenue, cost, and adjusted EBITDA are metrics used by the key business areas to evaluate climate-related risks.
Aggregating these data points allows Allbirds to establish company-wide substantive risk thresholds. These established substantive risk thresholds will serve as a basis for us to identify future climate-related risks posed to our operations. Allbirds will use these established thresholds to evaluate climate risks annually at a minimum, and more often as needed.
b. Describe the organization’s processes for managing climate-related risks.
Our Head of Sustainability and other subject-matter experts actively engage with Allbirds’ key business areas to manage climate risks and opportunities on an ongoing basis.
We categorize risks according to four distinct management methods, based on enterprise risk management methodology: avoid, reduce, share, and accept. For example, we manage risks using the ‘reduce’ method through our strategic vendor partnerships, based on our partners’ willingness to implement and uphold best practices, decreasing the inherent vulnerability associated with vendor-based manufacturing. Once we identify a best practice for mitigating climate risk through vendor management, we proactively update our existing vendor agreements to align with improved internal standards.
c. Describe how processes for identifying, assessing and managing climate-related risks are integrated into the organization’s overall risk management.
As part of our standard Enterprise Risk Management, or ERM, process, our cross-functional risk management team evaluates enterprise risks based on their likelihood, significance, and scope of impact across the business, including climate-related risks.
The four climate risk management methods outlined above reflect the same methodology used to manage all enterprise-wide risks. Risks are evaluated at least annually and reported to management and the board of directors.
Substantive risk findings from our climate risk identification and assessment process and scenario analysis established by the Sustainability team in 2021 will be integrated into our company-wide risk management process moving forward.
Metrics & Targets Disclose the metrics and targets used to assess and manage relevant climate-related risks and opportunities.
a.Disclose the metrics used by the organization to assess climate-related risks and opportunities in line with its strategy and risk management process.
In 2020, we began the annual practice of measuring our carbon footprint across Scope 1, 2, and 3 categories, as defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. This includes calculating the carbon footprints for all products produced in a given year.
We have adopted an internal price on carbon to incentivize emissions reductions. We use the proceeds from this internal tax to purchase renewable energy credits and high-quality carbon offsets against our Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. As a result, we are Climate Neutral certified. All carbon offset projects are third-party verified to the highest standards, such as Gold Standard, Verified Carbon Standard, or Climate Action Reserve.
|Description of Disclosure||Notes and Location|
b. Disclose Scope 1, Scope 2 and if appropriate, Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions and the related risks.
Since 2020, we have focused on calculating and disclosing the carbon footprint of each of our products, working with a LCA tool to estimate the cradle-to-grave carbon footprint of products, identify hotspots, and drive emission reductions. This LCA tool was developed by our Sustainability team in partnership with external LCA experts and has been third-party verified against the requirements of ISO 14067:2018. It enables our teams to make informed decisions in design and development, tracking both product-level and company-wide carbon impact. As a result, in April 2020, we published the carbon footprint for every product in our permanent collection.
In 2021, we disclosed the absolute emissions across our direct and indirect operations for 2020, following the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, with additional third-party verification by SCS Global Services. Scope 1 and 2 emissions are driven by retail stores and corporate offices, and the majority of our Scope 3 emissions are from the materials, manufacturing, and transportation associated with our products.
2020 Estimates of Allbirds’ Market-based Emissions (tonnes CO2e)
a.Scope 1: 223
b.Scope 2: 588
c.Scope 3: 37,629
We are currently in the process of a third-party verification for our 2021 Scope 1,
2, and 3 emissions and we plan to disclose our 2021 emissions once the verification is complete.
c. Describe the targets used by the organization to manage climate-related risks and opportunities and performance against targets.
The Allbirds Flight Plan centers on three strategic priorities: Regenerative Agriculture, Renewable Materials, and Responsible Energy, which are underpinned by ten specific, quantitative targets. The Allbirds Flight Plan drives our targets for climate-related risk mitigation.
By the end of 2025, we aim to reduce our per-unit emissions by 50% relative to a baseline of what we expect our per-unit carbon emissions would be in 2025 without any further action to limit emissions, driving our average carbon emissions to around 7 kg CO2e per product. We aim to achieve this by sourcing zero carbon wool, replacing petroleum-based materials with natural ones, and using less and cleaner fuel and electricity. Specifically, our goal is that 75% of our materials will be sustainably sourced natural or recycled materials, and we are committed to reducing raw materials use and the impact of key raw materials by 25% across footwear and apparel products.
In addition, our goal is to source 100% renewable electricity for all owned and operated facilities, including offices, retail stores, and distribution centers, as well as finished goods manufacturers, by the end of 2025. We are committed to achieve a steady state of more than 95% ocean shipping, reducing the amount of higher emission modes of transport, like air shipping. We also aim to encourage our customers to machine wash our products on cold and hang-dry Allbirds apparel.
By 2030, we aim to reduce our per-unit emissions by 95%, driving our carbon emissions to less than 1 kg CO₂e per product. This ambitious goal is necessary to reduce our absolute carbon emissions in alignment with a science-based 1.5°C reduction pathway.
We have set a science-based target to reduce absolute scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions 42% by 2030 from a 2020 baseline. Our target is aligned with all the requirements of The Science Based Targets initiative, or SBTi, including alignment with a 1.5°C reduction pathway, and was approved by SBTi in 2021.
We rely on a combination of trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, design and utility patents, license agreements, confidentiality procedures, non-disclosure agreements, employee non-disclosure and invention assignment agreements, and other legal and contractual rights to establish and protect our proprietary rights.
We have trademark rights in our name and other brand indicia and have trademark registrations for select marks in the United States and other jurisdictions around the world. We also have registered domain names for websites that we use in our business, such as allbirds.com and similar variations. Further, we have developed internal practices around ongoing trademark and design patent registration pursuant to which we register brand names and product names, product designs, taglines, and logos to the extent we determine appropriate and cost-effective.
We control access to and use of our proprietary and other confidential information through the use of internal and external controls, including contractual protections with employees, contractors, customers, and partners. It is our practice to enter into confidentiality and invention assignment agreements (or similar agreements) with our employees, consultants, and contractors involved in the development of intellectual property on our behalf. We also enter into confidentiality agreements with other third parties in order to limit access to, and disclosure and use of, our confidential information and proprietary information.
We intend to pursue additional intellectual property protection to the extent we believe it would be beneficial and cost effective. Despite our efforts to protect our intellectual property rights, they may not be respected in the future or may be invalidated, circumvented, or challenged. For additional information, see the section titled “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Intellectual Property, Information Technology, and Data Security and Privacy—Our failure or inability to protect or enforce our intellectual property rights could diminish the value of our brand and weaken our competitive position.”
In the United States and the other jurisdictions in which we operate, we are subject to labor and employment laws, laws governing advertising, privacy and data security, product labeling and compliance, safety regulations, and other laws, including consumer protection regulations that apply to retailers and/or the promotion and sale of merchandise and the operation of our retail stores, manufacturing-related facilities and distribution centers. Our products, which are predominantly manufactured in countries other than the United States and which are sold in 35 countries across the world, may be subject to tariffs, treaties, and various trade agreements, as well as laws affecting the importation of consumer goods. We monitor changes in these laws and believe we are in material compliance with applicable laws.
Our business is affected by general seasonal trends common to the retail footwear and apparel industry, with sales peaking during the end-of-year holiday period that typically falls within our fourth quarter. In 2021 and 2020, we generated 35% and 36% of our full year net revenue in the fourth quarter, respectively.
We were incorporated in Delaware in May 2015 as Bozz, Inc. In December 2015, we changed our name to Allbirds, Inc., and we became a Delaware PBC in February 2016. Our principal executive offices are located at 730 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, California 94111. Our telephone number is (628) 225-4848. Our U.S. website address is allbirds.com. Information contained on, or that can be accessed through, our website is not incorporated by reference in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We file annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to reports filed or furnished pursuant to Sections 13(a) and 15(d) of the Exchange Act. The Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, maintains a website at www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information that we file with the SEC electronically. Copies of our reports on Form 10-K, Forms 10-Q, Forms 8-K, and amendments to those reports may also be obtained, free of charge, electronically through our investor relations website located at ir.allbirds.com as soon as reasonably practical after we file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
A description of the risks and uncertainties associated with our business is set forth below. You should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all of the other information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including our consolidated financial statements and related notes included in Part II, Item 8, and the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included in Part II, Item 7. The occurrence of any of the events or developments described below could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and growth prospects. In such an event, the market price of our Class A common stock could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently believe are not material may also impair our business, financial condition, results of operations, and growth prospects.
Risks Related to Our Business, Brand, Products, and Industry
The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and may in the future continue to have, a material adverse impact on our business.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the travel restrictions, quarantines, and other related public health measures and actions taken by governments and the private sector have adversely affected global economies, financial markets, and the overall environment for our business, and the extent to which it may continue to impact our results of operations and overall financial performance remains uncertain. The global macroeconomic effects of the pandemic may persist indefinitely, even after the pandemic has subsided.
The pandemic created significant disruptions for our physical stores, with the majority of our stores closed between late March 2020 through July 2020 (with the exception of a limited number of locations in the Asia Pacific region), as well as reduced operating hours and restricted guest occupancy levels. Across all of 2020, our stores were closed for approximately 20% of the total number of days we expected to operate. In 2021, a majority of our stores were open throughout the year, with certain regions experiencing closures on a periodic basis, such as Europe, where some of our stores were closed for a portion of the quarter ended March 31, 2021, and New Zealand, where our store was closed for a portion of the quarter ended December 31, 2021. In locations where there are specific local restrictions, our stores continue to have reduced operating hours and restricted guest occupancy levels. We have also occasionally closed stores for a few days at a time when an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, our decision to support our employees through the pandemic and store closures created significant strains on our operating margins during the period.
The performance of our retail stores in 2020 significantly lagged behind 2019 performance. We began reopening those stores to the public through a phased approach commencing in June 2020 and successfully completed the reopening process over the course of several months, as local conditions and regulations permitted. The re-openings of our stores have improved our retail performance to date, but the possible sustained spread or resurgence of the pandemic, and any government response thereto, increases the uncertainty regarding future economic conditions that will impact our business in the future. As a digitally-native brand, we have been able to avoid massive disruptions to our business performance through the pandemic due to the strength of our digitally-led vertical retail strategy however, the performance of our retail stores in 2021, while improved over 2020, still remains below 2019 performance on a same-store basis.
In March 2020, we also closed the majority of our corporate offices and other facilities, including our corporate headquarters in San Francisco, and implemented a work from home policy for many of our corporate employees. This policy may negatively impact productivity and cause other disruptions to our business. We gradually reopened our closed corporate offices in a phased approach over the course of 2020 and into 2021, and are continuing to evaluate and update our “return to office” policies in light of our concern for the health and safety of our team members and the recommendations of government and health authorities. As of December 31, 2021, a majority of our corporate employees continue to work from home.
COVID-19 and related governmental reactions have had and may continue to have a negative impact on our financial condition, business, and results of operations due to the occurrence of some or all of the following events or circumstances, among others:
•our and our third-party suppliers’, contract manufacturers’, logistics providers’, and other business partners’ inability to operate worksites at full capacity or at all, including manufacturing facilities and shipping and fulfillment centers as well as our retail stores, whether due to employee illness, reluctance to appear at work, or “stay-at-home” regulations;
•our inability to meet consumer demand and delays in the delivery of our products to our customers, resulting in reputational harm and damaged customer relationships;
•inventory shortages caused by a combination of increased demand that has been difficult to predict with accuracy, and longer lead-times and materials shortages in the manufacturing of our products, due to work restrictions related to COVID-19, shut-down or disruption of international suppliers, import/export conditions such as port congestion, and local government orders;
•interruptions in manufacturing (including the sourcing of key materials) and shipment and delivery of our products (including due to material delays with the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, UPS, and other shipping and delivery providers);
•our inability to manage our business effectively due to employees (including key employees and retail staff) becoming ill;
•increased hiring challenges with respect to recruiting retail employees due to the risks posed by COVID-19 (including increased potential exposure to the virus);
•limitations preventing our executives and other key personnel from traveling for business purposes;
•disruptions of the operations of our third-party suppliers, which could impact our ability to purchase materials at favorable prices and in sufficient amounts;
•increases in administrative and compliance costs resulting from dynamic and rapidly changing governmental rules, regulations, and guidance regarding workplace health and safety;
•longer wait times and delayed responses to customer support inquiries and requests;
•increased rates of post-purchase order cancellation as a result of longer delivery lead times and delivery reschedules;
•decreased revenue and increased return rates due to a decrease in consumer discretionary spending;
•our commitment to our employees, or our “flock,” which led us to continue employing and paying wages and providing benefits to our retail store employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, even when our retail stores were closed;
•increases in shipping, logistics, freight, labor, and/or storage costs; and
•significant increases to employee health care and benefits costs.
The scope and duration of the pandemic, including resurgences in various regions in the United States and globally, the pace at which government restrictions are lifted, the pace, availability, and effectiveness of vaccinations in various regions in the United States and globally, or whether additional actions may be taken to contain the virus, the impact on our customers and suppliers, the speed and extent to which markets fully recover from the disruptions caused by the pandemic, and the impact of these factors on our business will depend on future developments that are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence. It is possible that changes in economic conditions and steps taken by the federal government and the Federal Reserve in response to the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to higher inflation than we had anticipated, which could in turn lead to an increase in our cost of revenue and other operating expenses. In addition, to the extent COVID-19 adversely affects our operations and global economic conditions more generally, it may also have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described herein.
While we believe that the long-term fundamentals of our business are largely unchanged and anticipate that our results of operations in future years will begin to reflect a more normal operating environment, the current economic and public health climate has created a high degree of uncertainty. As such, we continue to closely monitor this global health crisis and will continue to reassess our strategy and operational structure on a regular, ongoing basis as the situation evolves. See Part II, Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Position and Results of Operations” for more details on the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic disruptions, and the actual operational and financial impacts that we have experienced to date.
Economic uncertainty in our key markets may affect consumer purchases of discretionary items, which may adversely affect demand for our products.
Our products may be considered discretionary items for consumers. Factors affecting the level of consumer spending for such discretionary items include general economic conditions and other factors such as consumer confidence in future economic conditions, fears of recession and trade wars, the availability and cost of consumer credit, the availability and timing of government stimulus programs, levels of unemployment, inflation, and tax rates. As global economic conditions continue to be volatile or economic uncertainty remains, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with increasing inflation, trends in consumer discretionary spending also remain unpredictable and subject to reductions as a result of significant increases in employment, financial market instability, and uncertainties about the future. Unfavorable economic conditions may lead consumers to delay or reduce purchases of our products. Consumer demand for our products may decline as a result of store closures, an economic downturn, or economic uncertainty in our key markets, particularly in North America, Europe, and Asia. Our sensitivity to economic cycles and any related fluctuation in consumer demand may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
One factor in our success is the strength of our brand; if we are unable to maintain and enhance the value and reputation of our brand and/or counter any negative publicity, we may be unable to sell our products, which would harm our business and could materially adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
The Allbirds brand is integral to our business strategy and our ability to attract and engage customers. As a result, our success depends on our ability to maintain and enhance the value and reputation of the Allbirds brand. Maintaining, promoting, and positioning our brand will depend largely on the success of our design and marketing efforts, including advertising and consumer campaigns, as well as our product innovation, product quality, and sustainability initiatives. Our commitment to product innovation, quality, and sustainability and our continuing investment in design (including materials) and marketing efforts may not have the desired impact on our brand image and reputation.
We rely on social media, as one of our marketing strategies, to have a positive impact on both our brand value and reputation. Our brand also depends on our ability to maintain a positive consumer perception of our corporate integrity, culture, mission, vision, and values, including our status as a Delaware public benefit corporation, or PBC, and our commitment to environmental conservation and sustainability. Any actions or any public statements or social media posts about Allbirds or our products by our customers, consumers who have not yet bought our products, our current or former employees, current or former Allgood Collective Ambassadors (which is what we call the community of influencers whom we engage to help promote our brand), celebrities, or other public figures, whether authorized or not, that are contrary to our values may negatively affect consumer perception of our brand. Any incidents involving our company, our suppliers or manufacturers, our Allgood Collective Ambassadors or others, or the products we sell, could erode the trust and confidence of our customers, and damage the strength of our brand, especially if such incidents result in adverse publicity, governmental investigations, product recalls, or litigation.
Our brand and reputation could be adversely affected by any number of factors or events, including if our public image is tarnished by negative publicity due to our actions or those of persons associated with us or formerly associated with us (including employees, Allgood Collective Ambassadors, celebrities, or others who speak publicly or post on social media about our brand or our products, whether authorized or not), if we fail to deliver innovative and high quality products, if we face or mishandle a product recall, or if we are subject to claims of “greenwashing” (e.g., if the carbon footprint of one or more of our products is alleged to be greater than what we claim, or if we fail or are alleged to have failed to achieve our sustainability goals). Our brand and reputation could also be negatively impacted by adverse publicity, whether or not valid, regarding allegations that we, or persons associated with us or formerly associated with us, have violated applicable laws or regulations, including but not limited to those related to product labeling and safety, marketing, employment, discrimination, harassment, whistle-blowing, privacy, corporate citizenship, improper business practices, or cybersecurity. Negative publicity regarding our suppliers or manufacturers could adversely affect our reputation and sales and could force us to identify and engage alternative suppliers or manufacturers. Additionally, while we devote considerable efforts and resources to protecting our intellectual property, if these efforts are not successful, the value of our brand may be harmed. Any harm to our brand and reputation could adversely affect our ability to attract and engage customers and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
In addition, the importance of our brand may increase to the extent we experience increased competition, which could require additional expenditures on our brand promotion activities. Maintaining and enhancing our brand image also may require us to make additional investments in areas such as merchandising, marketing, and online operations. These investments may be substantial and may not ultimately be successful.
We have incurred significant net losses since inception and anticipate that we will continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future.
We incurred net losses of $45.4 million and $25.9 million in 2021 and 2020, respectively, and we had an accumulated deficit of $137.4 million as of December 31, 2021. We expect to continue to incur significant losses in the future. We will need to generate and sustain increased revenue levels in future periods to achieve profitability, and even if we achieve profitability, we may not be able to maintain or increase our level of profitability. We anticipate that our operating expenses will increase substantially for the foreseeable future as we continue to, among other things:
•expand our product and style mix;
•invest in new materials innovation and technology;
•focus on sustainable and environmentally friendly practices in our supply chain (which are often more expensive than traditional alternatives);
•invest in advertising and marketing initiatives to engage existing and new customers, enhance awareness of our brand, and grow market share;
•extend our retail store fleet;
•invest in the overall health and well-being of our employees;
•address increased competition;
•recruit and retain talent; and
•incur significant accounting, legal, and other expenses as a public company that we did not incur as a private company.
These expenditures will make it more difficult for us to achieve and maintain profitability. Our efforts to grow our business may be more costly than we expect or may not result in the returns we anticipate, and we may not be able to increase our revenue enough to offset our higher operating expenses. If we are forced to reduce our expenses, it could negatively impact our growth and growth strategy. As a result, we can provide no assurance as to whether or when we will achieve profitability. If we are not able to achieve and maintain profitability, the value of our company and our Class A common stock could decline significantly.
We operate in a highly competitive market and the size and resources of some of our competitors may allow them to compete more effectively than we can, which could result in a loss of our market share and a decrease in our net revenue and profitability.
The market for footwear and apparel is highly competitive. Our competitors include athletic and leisure footwear companies, as well as athletic and leisure apparel companies. We also compete directly against wholesalers and direct retailers of footwear and apparel, including large, diversified apparel companies with substantial market share and established companies expanding their production and marketing of technical footwear, as well as against retailers specifically focused on footwear. Competition may result in pricing pressures, reduced profit margins, lost market share, or a failure to grow or maintain our market share, any of which could substantially harm our business and results of operations. Many of our competitors are large apparel companies with strong worldwide brand recognition, while others are new market participants with low barriers to entry. Because of the fragmented nature of the industry, we also compete with other apparel sellers, including those specializing in athletic footwear and other casual footwear. Many of our competitors have significant competitive advantages, including longer operating histories, larger and broader customer bases, more established relationships with a broader set of suppliers, greater brand recognition, and greater financial, research and development, store development, marketing, distribution, and other resources than we do.
We rely on technical and materials innovation to offer high-quality products.
Technical and materials innovation and quality control in the design and manufacturing process of our footwear and apparel is essential to the commercial success of our products. Research and development play a key role in technical innovation. We rely upon specialists in the fields of materials sciences, sustainability, and related fields. While we strive to produce products that are comfortable and environmentally sustainable, if we fail to introduce technical and materials innovation in our products, then consumer demand for our products could decline and we may be unable to meet our
sustainability goals, which could harm our brand and reputation, and if we experience problems with the quality of our products, we may incur substantial expense to remedy the problems.
Our focus on using sustainable materials and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes and supply chain practices may increase our cost of revenue and hinder our growth.
We are dedicated to prioritizing sustainable materials, an environmentally friendly supply chain, and manufacturing processes that collectively limit our carbon footprint. As our business expands, it may be increasingly challenging to cost-effectively secure enough sustainably sourced materials to support our growth and achieve our sustainability goals while also achieving and maintaining profitability. In addition, our ability to expand into new product categories depends in part on our ability to identify new sustainable materials that are suitable for our products. Our inability to source materials that meet our sustainability requirements in sufficient volumes could result in slower growth, increased costs, and/or lower net profits. Additionally, as our business expands, we may not be able to identify suppliers and manufacturers with business practices that reflect our commitment to sustainability, which may harm our ability to expand our supply chain to meet the expected growth of our business. If any of these factors prevent us from meeting our sustainability goals or increase the carbon footprint of any our products, then it could have an adverse effect on our brand, reputation, results of operations, and financial condition.
If we fail to attract new customers, retain existing customers, or maintain or increase sales to customers, our business, financial condition, results of operations, and growth prospects will be harmed.
Our success depends in large part upon widespread adoption of our products by our customers. In order to attract new customers and continue to expand our customer base, we must appeal to and attract customers who identify with our sustainable footwear and apparel products. If the number of people who are willing to purchase our products does not continue to increase, if we fail to deliver a high quality shopping experience, or if our current or potential future customers are not convinced that our products are superior to alternatives, then our ability to retain existing customers, acquire new customers, and grow our business may be harmed. We have made significant investments in enhancing our brand and attracting new customers, and we expect to continue to make significant investments to promote our products. Such campaigns can be expensive and may not result in new customers or increased sales of our products. Further, as our brand becomes more widely known, we may not attract new customers or increase our net revenue at the same rates as we have in the past. If we are unable to acquire new customers who purchase products in numbers sufficient to grow our business, we may not be able to generate the scale necessary to drive beneficial network effects with our suppliers, our net revenue may decrease, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be materially adversely affected.
In addition, our future success depends in part on our ability to increase sales to our existing customers over time, as a significant portion of our net revenue is generated from sales to existing customers, particularly those existing customers who are highly engaged and make frequent and/or large purchases of the products we offer. If existing customers no longer find our products appealing or are not satisfied with our customer service, or if we are unable to timely update our products to meet current trends and customer demands, our existing customers may not make purchases, or if they do, they may make fewer or smaller purchases in the future.
If we are unable to continue to attract new customers or our existing customers decrease their spending on the products we offer or fail to make repeat purchases of our products, our business, financial condition, results of operations, and growth prospects will be harmed.
Climate change and increased focus by governments, organizations, customers, and investors on sustainability issues, including those related to climate change and socially responsible activities, may adversely affect our reputation, business, and financial results.
Climate change is occurring around the world and may impact our business in numerous ways. Such change could lead to an increase in prices of raw materials, commodities, and/or packaging, as well as reduced availability of key manufacturing components. Increased frequency of extreme weather, such as storms, hurricanes, and floods, could cause increased disruption to the production and distribution of our products and have an adverse impact on consumer demand and spending.
Investor advocacy groups, certain institutional investors, investment funds, other market participants, stockholders, and stakeholders have focused increasingly on the environmental, social, and governance, or ESG, and related sustainability practices of companies. These parties have placed increased importance on the implications of the social cost of their investments. In addition to our status as a PBC and certified B Corporation, or B Corp, we are focused on being an ESG leader in our industry. If our ESG practices do not meet investor or other stakeholder expectations and standards (which are
continually evolving and may emphasize different priorities than the ones we choose to focus on), or if our ESG practices do not live up to our own values or ESG- and sustainability-related goals, then our brand, reputation, and employee retention may be negatively impacted. It is possible that stakeholders may not be satisfied with our ESG practices or the speed of their adoption. We could also incur additional costs and require additional resources to monitor, report, and comply with various ESG practices and regulations and to achieve our sustainability goals. Also, our failure, or perceived failure, to manage reputational threats and meet expectations with respect to socially responsible activities and sustainability commitments could negatively impact our brand credibility, employee retention, and the willingness of our customers and suppliers to do business with us.
If we are unable to anticipate product trends and consumer preferences and successfully develop and introduce new products, we may not be able to maintain or increase our revenue and profits.
Our success depends on our ability to identify, originate, and define product trends within the footwear and apparel industry, as well as to anticipate, gauge, and react to changing consumer preferences in a timely manner. However, lead times for many of our products may make it more difficult for us to respond rapidly to new or changing product trends or consumer preferences. For example, our lead times may be longer due to our preference for ocean shipping and other more sustainable supply chain practices to reduce carbon emissions, which may take longer and be more expensive than less sustainable alternatives. If we are unable to introduce new products in a timely manner, or our new products are not accepted by our customers, our competitors may introduce similar products in a more timely fashion, which could hurt our goal to be viewed as a leader in comfortable and sustainable footwear and apparel. All of our products are subject to changing consumer preferences regarding footwear and apparel, generally, and sustainable footwear and apparel, specifically, that cannot be predicted with certainty. Our new products may not receive consumer acceptance as consumer preferences could shift rapidly to different types of styles and our future success depends in part on our ability to anticipate and respond to these changes. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a shift of consumer preferences to more casual and informal apparel and footwear as greater numbers of consumers have shifted to working remotely from home. In addition, our experience in anticipating consumer preferences in one category, such as footwear, may not help us predict or anticipate consumer preferences in other new categories, such as apparel. If we fail to anticipate accurately and respond to trends and shifts in consumer preferences, we could experience lower sales, excess inventories, or lower profit margins, any of which could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
We utilize a range of marketing, advertising, and other initiatives to increase existing customers’ spend and to acquire new customers; if the costs of advertising or marketing increase, or if our initiatives fail to achieve their desired impact, we may be unable to grow the business profitably.
We create differentiated brand marketing content and utilize performance marketing to drive customers from awareness to consideration to conversion, and promoting awareness of our brand and products is important to our ability to grow our business, drive customer engagement, and attract new customers. Our marketing strategy includes brand marketing campaigns across platforms, including email, digital, display, site, direct-mail, streaming audio, television, social media, and our Allgood Collective, as well as performance marketing efforts, including retargeting, paid search and product listing advertisements, paid social media advertisements, search engine optimization, personalized emails, and mobile push notifications through our app. In addition, our marketing strategy is global in scale, reaching consumers in the 35 countries where we sell our products.
We seek to engage with our customers and build awareness of our brands through sponsoring unique events and experiences. If our marketing efforts and messaging are not appropriately tailored to and accepted by our target customers, we may fail to attract customers, and our brand and reputation may be harmed. In addition, our marketing initiatives may become increasingly expensive as competition increases, and generating a meaningful return on those initiatives may be difficult. Our future growth and profitability and the success of our brand will depend in part upon the effectiveness and efficiency of these marketing efforts.
We receive a significant amount of visits to our digital platform via social media or other channels used by our existing and prospective customers. As eCommerce and social media continue to rapidly evolve, we must continue to establish relationships with these channels and may be unable to develop or maintain these relationships on acceptable economic and other terms. In addition, we currently receive a significant number of visits to our website and mobile app via search engine results. Search engines frequently change the algorithms that determine the ranking and display of results of a user’s search, which could reduce the number of visits to our website, in turn reducing new customer acquisition and adversely affecting our results of operations. If we are unable to cost-effectively drive traffic to our digital platform, our ability to acquire new customers and our financial condition would suffer. Email marketing efforts are also important to our marketing efforts. If we are unable to successfully deliver emails to our customers or if customers do not engage with our
emails, whether out of choice, because those emails are marked as low priority or spam, or for other reasons, our business could be adversely affected. Our marketing initiatives may become increasingly expensive, and generating a meaningful return on those initiatives may be difficult or unpredictable. Even if we successfully increase net revenue as a result of our marketing efforts, it may not offset the additional marketing expenses we incur.
If our marketing efforts are not successful in promoting awareness of our products, driving customer engagement, or attracting new customers, or if we are not able to cost-effectively manage our marketing expenses, our results of operations could be adversely affected.
Failure to accurately forecast consumer demand could lead to excess inventories or inventory shortages, which could result in decreased operating margins, reduced cash flows, and harm to our business.
To meet anticipated demand for our products, we must forecast inventory needs and place orders with our manufacturers based on our estimates of future demand for particular products. Our ability to accurately forecast demand for our products could be affected by many factors, including an increase or decrease in customer demand for our products or for products of our competitors, changing consumer preferences, changing product trends, our failure to accurately forecast consumer acceptance of new products, product introductions by competitors, unanticipated changes in general market conditions, store closures (including, for example, due to the COVID-19 pandemic), and weakening of economic conditions or consumer confidence in future economic conditions. If we fail to accurately forecast consumer demand, we may experience excess inventory levels or a shortage of products available for sale in our stores or for delivery to customers.
Inventory levels in excess of customer demand may result in inventory write-offs, donations by us of our unsold products, inventory write-downs, and/or the sale of excess inventory at discounted prices, any of which could cause our gross margin to suffer, impair the strength and exclusivity of our brand, and have an adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows. For example, we have in the past donated excess unsold products to third parties and sold certain of our products at discounted prices at our outlet store in Northern California.
Conversely, if we underestimate customer demand for our products and fail to place sufficient orders with our manufacturers in advance, then our manufacturers may not be able to deliver products to meet our requirements and we may experience inventory shortages. Inventory shortages in our stores or third-party distribution centers could result in delayed shipments to customers, lost sales, a negative customer experience, lower brand loyalty, and damage to our reputation and customer relationships, any of which could have an adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows.
As a company that operates retail stores, we are subject to various risks, including commercial real estate and labor and employment risks.
As of December 31, 2021, we operated approximately 35 retail store locations across eight countries. We lease our stores under operating leases. We expect to significantly increase the total number of stores we operate over the next few years, domestically and internationally.
Our ability to effectively obtain real estate to open new retail stores, both domestically and internationally, depends on the availability of real estate that meets our criteria for traffic, square footage, co-tenancies, lease economics, demographics, and other factors. We also must be able to effectively renew our existing real estate leases. In addition, from time to time, we seek to downsize, consolidate, reposition, or close some of our real estate locations, which may require modification of an existing lease. We generally cannot cancel these leases at our option. For example, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, across all of 2020, our stores were closed for approximately 20% of the total number of days we expected to operate. During this period, our stores were not generating any revenue, but we were generally required to continue paying rent. Similarly, if an existing or new store is not profitable, and we decide to close it, we may nonetheless be committed to perform our obligations under the applicable lease including, among other things, paying the base rent for the balance of the lease term. Similarly, we may be committed to perform our obligations under the applicable leases even if current locations of our stores become unattractive as demographic patterns change. Failure to secure adequate new locations or successfully modify leases for existing locations, or failure to effectively manage the profitability of our existing fleet of retail stores, could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
Additionally, the economic environment may make it difficult to determine the fair market rent of real estate properties domestically and internationally. This could impact the quality of our decisions to exercise lease options at previously negotiated rents and to renew expiring leases at negotiated rents. Any adverse effect on the quality of these decisions could
impact our ability to retain real estate locations adequate to meet our targets or efficiently manage the profitability of our existing fleet of stores, which could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
As of December 31, 2021, we had approximately 424 employees in our retail store operations. As a result, we are subject to costs and risks related to compliance with labor and employment laws and regulations, which could cause our business, financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows to suffer.
We have significant exposure to changes in domestic and foreign laws governing our relationships with our workforce, including wage and hour laws and regulations, fair labor standards, minimum wage requirements, overtime pay, unemployment tax rates, workers’ compensation rates, pension contributions, citizenship requirements, and payroll taxes, which could have a direct impact on our operating costs. These laws change frequently, exist at multiple levels with respect to a single physical location (e.g., federal, state, and local) and may be difficult to interpret and apply.
A significant increase in minimum wage or overtime rates in countries where we have employees could have a significant impact on our operating costs and may require that we take steps to mitigate such increases, all of which may cause us to incur additional costs. There is also a risk of potential claims related to discrimination and harassment, health and safety, wage and hour laws, criminal activity, personal injury, and other claims. In addition, if a large portion of our workforce were to become members of labor organizations or parties to collective bargaining agreements, we could be vulnerable to a strike, work stoppage, or other labor action, which could have an adverse effect on our business. Our business operations and financial performance could be adversely affected by changes in our relationship with our workforce or changes to U.S. or foreign labor and employment laws and regulations.
We may be unable to successfully open new store locations in existing or new geographies in a timely manner, if at all, which could harm our results of operations.
Our growth will largely depend on our ability to successfully open and operate new stores, which depends on many factors, including, among others, our ability to:
•identify suitable store locations, the availability of which is outside of our control and may require expensive and long-term lease obligations;
•gain brand recognition and acceptance, particularly in geographies or regions that are new to us;
•negotiate acceptable lease terms;
•hire, train, and retain store personnel and field management who possess the required customer service and other skills and who share our commitment to sustainability;
•invest sufficient capital in store build-out and opening;
•immerse new store personnel and field management into our corporate culture and shared values;
•source sufficient inventory levels; and
•successfully integrate new stores into our existing operations and information technology systems.
We may be unsuccessful in identifying new markets where our sustainable footwear and apparel products and brand image will be accepted. In addition, we may not be able to open or profitably operate new stores in existing, adjacent, or new locations due to market saturation and/or other macro conditions (e.g., the impact of COVID-19).
Our business depends on our ability to maintain a strong community of engaged customers and Allgood Collective Ambassadors, including through the use of social media. We may be unable to maintain and enhance our brand if we experience negative publicity related to our marketing efforts or use of social media, we fail to maintain and grow our network of Allgood Collective Ambassadors, or otherwise fail to meet our customers’ expectations.
As of December 31, 2021, we partnered with over 177 Ambassadors who were members of our Allgood Collective, which is intended to help raise awareness of our brand and engage with our community. Our ability to maintain relationships with our existing Allgood Collective Ambassadors and to identify new Ambassadors is critical to expanding and maintaining our customer base. As our market becomes increasingly competitive or as we expand internationally, recruiting, and maintaining new Ambassadors to join our Allgood Collective may become increasingly difficult. If we are not able to develop and maintain strong relationships with our Ambassador network, our ability to promote and maintain
awareness of our brand may be adversely affected. Further, if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be adversely affected.
We and our Allgood Collective Ambassadors use third-party social media platforms to raise awareness of our brand and engage with our community. As existing social media platforms evolve and new platforms develop, we and our Allgood Collective Ambassadors must continue to maintain a presence on these platforms and establish a presence on emerging popular social media platforms. If we are unable to cost-effectively use social media platforms as marketing tools, our ability to acquire new customers and our financial condition may suffer. Furthermore, as laws and regulations governing the use of these platforms evolve, any failure by us, our Allgood Collective Ambassadors, or third parties acting at our direction to abide by applicable laws and regulations in the use of these platforms could subject us to regulatory investigations, class action lawsuits, liability, fines, or other penalties and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. In addition, an increase in the use of social media for product promotion and marketing may cause an increase in the burden on us to monitor compliance of such content and increase the risk that such content could contain problematic product or marketing claims in violation of applicable regulations.
Allgood Collective Ambassadors may engage in behavior or use their online presence or personal image in a manner that reflects poorly on our brand or is in violation of applicable regulations or platform terms of service, and that may be attributed to us. Negative commentary regarding us, our products, or Allgood Collective Ambassadors and other third parties who are affiliated with us, whether accurate or not, may be posted on social media platforms at any time and may adversely affect our reputation, brand, and business. The harm may be immediate, without affording us an opportunity for redress or correction, and could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
In addition, customer complaints or negative publicity related to our website, mobile app, products, product delivery times, customer data handling, marketing efforts, security practices, or customer support, especially on blogs and social media websites, could diminish customer loyalty and community engagement and harm our brand and business.
If we continue to grow at a rapid pace, we may be unable to effectively manage our growth and the increased complexity of our business and, as a result, our brand, business, and financial performance may suffer.
We have expanded our operations rapidly since our inception in 2015, and our net revenue has increased from $126.0 million in 2018 to $277.5 million in 2021. If our operations continue to grow at a rapid pace, we may experience difficulties in obtaining sufficient raw materials and manufacturing capacity to produce our products, as well as delays in production and shipments, as our products are subject to risks associated with overseas sourcing and manufacturing. We could be required to continue to expand our sales and marketing, product development, and distribution functions, invest in opening and operating a greater number of retail stores in our existing jurisdictions and/or in new jurisdictions, upgrade our management information systems and other processes and technology, and obtain more space for our expanding workforce. This expansion could increase the strain on our resources, expose us to legal and compliance risk across new jurisdictions, and cause us to experience operating difficulties, including difficulties in hiring, training, and managing an increasing number of employees, especially to the extent the growth in our “flock” exposes us to a greater number of jurisdictions’ employment, health, and safety and other regulatory and compliance requirements. Any of these or other difficulties in effectively managing our growth and the increased complexity of our business could result in the erosion of our brand image which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.
Our financial results may be adversely affected if substantial investments in businesses and operations, including in our retail stores, fail to produce expected returns.
From time to time, we may invest in technology, business infrastructure, new businesses, product offering, and manufacturing innovation and expansion of existing businesses, such as our recent expansion of sales outside of the United States, which require substantial cash investments and management attention. We expect to invest substantially in expanding the number and geographic reach of our retail stores in the short- and mid-term. We believe cost-effective investments are essential to business growth and profitability; however, significant investments are subject to typical risks and uncertainties inherent in developing a new business or expanding an existing business. The failure of any significant investment to provide expected returns or profitability could have a material adverse effect on our financial results and divert management attention from more profitable business operations.
We are subject to risks related to our ESG activities and disclosures, and our reputation and brand could be harmed if we fail to meet our public sustainability targets and goals.
In 2020, we began making our carbon footprint calculations available for our products. In 2021, we announced a highly ambitious sustainability strategy in service of our aim to help to reverse climate change through better business. Our
sustainability strategy has three strategic priorities: (1) Regenerative Agriculture, (2) Renewable Materials, and (3) Responsible Energy. These priorities are underpinned by 10 targets, which we intend to achieve by the end of 2025, or the 2025 Targets. In addition, we have announced a goal to reduce our per-unit carbon emissions to less than 1 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 2030, or the 2030 Goal. We are aligning our ESG disclosures with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure frameworks, and we anticipate continuing to make ESG disclosures and expanding the number of disclosures we make over time.
While our sustainability strategy and practices and the level of transparency with which we are approaching them are foundational to our business, they expose us to several risks, including:
•that we may fail or be unable to fully achieve one or more of the 2025 Targets or the 2030 Goal due to a range of factors within or beyond our control (including a failure for governments and other third parties to make the investments that are required to make infrastructure improvements, such as greater availability of cleaner energy grids), or that we may adjust or modify our stated goals in light of new information, adjusted projections, or a change in business strategy, any of which could negatively impact our brand, reputation, and business;
•that achieving the 2025 Targets and/or 2030 Goal may require us to expend significant resources, which could divert the attention of our senior management and key personnel, delay the time by which we can achieve profitability, harm us competitively, or otherwise limit our ability to make investments in our growth;
•that our disclosures related to ESG may result in heightened scrutiny from stakeholders or other third parties of our ESG performance, activities, and decisions;
•that a failure to or perception of a failure to disclose metrics and set goals that are rigorous enough or in an acceptable format, a failure to appropriately manage selection of goals, a failure to or perception of a failure to make appropriate disclosures, stakeholder perception of a failure to prioritize the “correct” ESG goals, or an unfavorable ESG-related rating by a third party could negatively impact our brand, reputation, and business;
•that certain metrics we utilize receive limited assurance from and/or verification by third parties, may involve a less rigorous review process than assurance sought in connection with more traditional audits, such a review process may not identify errors and may not protect us from potential liability under the securities laws, and, if we were to seek more extensive assurance or attestation with respect to such ESG metrics, we may be unable to obtain such assurance or attestation or may face increased costs related to obtaining and/or maintaining such assurance or attestation;
•that the third-party data used in our carbon footprint calculations are determined to be wrong or become unavailable to us for whatever reason, which would require us to find a new source of quality third-party data or develop our own, either of which could require significant resources, a temporary suspension of sharing a carbon footprint for each product, or an adjustment to carbon footprint numbers because of variations in the underlying data, and if our stakeholders react unfavorably to any such situation or we fail to adequately manage any transition, it could negatively impact our brand, reputation, and business;
•that the ESG or sustainability standards, norms, or metrics, which are constantly evolving, change in a manner that impacts us negatively or requires us to change the content or manner of our disclosures, and our stakeholders or third parties view such change(s) negatively, we are unable to adequately explain such changes, or we are required to expend significant resources to update our disclosures, any of which could negatively impact our brand, reputation, and business; and
•that our brand, reputation, and business could be negatively impacted if any of our disclosures, including our carbon footprint numbers, reporting to third-party ESG standards, or reporting against our 2025 Targets, 2030 Goal, or other goals, are inaccurate, perceived to be inaccurate, or alleged to be inaccurate.
We are subject to risks related to our commitment to certain ESG criteria, which we call the Sustainability Principles and Objectives Framework, or the SPO Framework.
The SPO Framework, which consists of ESG criteria that we intend to satisfy, is described more fully in the section titled “The Sustainability Principles and Objectives Framework” in our final prospectus filed with the SEC on November 4, 2021 pursuant to Rule 424(b)(4). This is a new and untested framework, which was not developed solely by disinterested third parties but was developed with input from Allbirds and other partners. There is no basis for investors to, or track record by which investors can, assess the impact of the SPO Framework on our operations, financial condition, and the
market price of our Class A common stock. Our adherence to the SPO Framework may result in additional costs to us in operating our business, including, for example, costs of the third-party ESG assessment, costs related to meeting the carbon emissions reduction target, etc. We may not meet all of the SPO Framework (or any part thereof) in the future. Further, any or all elements of the SPO Framework may be considered insufficient and/or unsatisfactory and/or the credibility of the SPO Framework may be disregarded entirely. Because we are committing publicly to the SPO Framework, if we fail to make meaningful progress on ESG practices and matters or to continue to report transparently across ESG practices and matters relating to the SPO Framework, our reputation could be harmed. We could also damage our reputation and the value of our brand if we fail to act responsibly in the areas in which we report or fail to demonstrate that our commitment to ESG principles enhances our overall financial performance. Any harm to our reputation resulting from our failure or perceived failure to meet the SPO Framework could also impact employee engagement and retention, the willingness of our supplier or manufacturers to do business with us, or investors’ willingness to purchase or hold shares of our common stock, any of which could have a material and adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
We have a limited operating history, which makes it difficult to predict our future results of operations, particularly in newer geographies.
We were founded in May 2015 and first sold our products in 2016. As a result of our limited operating history, our ability to accurately forecast our future results of operations is limited and subject to a number of uncertainties, including our ability to plan for and model future growth. Our historical revenue growth has been inconsistent, was derived from a more concentrated number of geographies, and should not be considered indicative of our future performance. Further, in future periods, our revenue growth could slow or our revenue could decline for a number of reasons, including a decline in demand for our products as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic or for other reasons, an increase in competition, a decrease in the growth of our overall market, our entry into new geographies where our prior operating history is less relevant or predictive, or our failure, for any reason, to continue to capitalize on growth opportunities. In addition, we regularly release new products and it is difficult to predict the commercial success of newly released products. We have also encountered, and will continue to encounter, risks and uncertainties frequently experienced by growing companies in rapidly changing industries, such as the risks and uncertainties described herein. If our assumptions regarding these risks and uncertainties (which we use to plan our business) are incorrect or change due to changes in our market or the geographies where we operate and where we sell our products, or if we do not address these risks successfully, our operating and financial results could differ materially from our expectations, and our business could suffer.
Our future success is substantially dependent on the continued service of our co-founders and co-Chief Executive Officers, as well as other senior management, and our ability to attract and retain talent.
We depend on the continued services and performance of our senior management and other key personnel, including Timothy Brown and Joseph Zwillinger, our co-founders and Co-Chief Executive Officers. Mr. Brown’s and Mr. Zwillinger’s employment with us is at-will, which means that they may resign or could be terminated for any reason at any time. Should either of them stop working for us for any reason, it is unlikely that the other co-founder would be able to fulfill the responsibilities of the departing co-founder, nor is it likely that we would be able to immediately find a suitable replacement. Our other senior management and key employees are also employed on an at-will basis, with the exception of one member of our senior management team who resides in the United Kingdom and is entitled to standard statutory rights under local law. We currently do not have “key person” insurance on any of our employees. The loss of key personnel, including members of management, supply chain, innovation and sustainability, product development, marketing, and sales personnel, could disrupt our operations and seriously harm our business.
To successfully grow and operate our business and execute our strategic plans, we must attract and retain highly qualified personnel. Competition for executives and highly skilled personnel is often intense, especially in Northern California, where our headquarters is located. In addition, starting in 2021 there has been a dramatic increase in workers leaving their positions throughout the U.S. economy that is being referred to as the “great resignation,” and the market to build, retain, and replace talent has become even more highly competitive. As we become a more mature company, we may find our recruiting efforts more challenging. Many of the companies with which we compete for experienced personnel have greater resources than we have. The incentives to attract, retain, and motivate employees provided by our equity awards or by future arrangements, such as through cash bonuses, may not be as effective as our past incentive or as the current incentives offered by our competitors. We may not be successful in attracting, integrating, or retaining qualified personnel to fulfill our current or future needs. We may experience difficulty in hiring and retaining highly skilled employees with appropriate qualifications. Our recruiting efforts may also be limited or delayed by laws and regulations, such as restrictive immigration laws, and restrictions on travel or availability of visas (particularly during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic). For example, as we expand into new geographies, we must navigate the recruiting and employment-related aspects of local rules and requirements in each such jurisdiction as part of our hiring plans. Similarly,
our rate of employee attrition could be impacted by the pace and recovery of businesses and the job market once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, the general health of the economy, the rate of unemployment, the perceived or actual mobility of our highly skilled employees who may be recruited away by our competitors, or our existing employees’ preferences with respect to remote or “hybrid” working arrangements based on their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, which preferences may diverge from the nature and conditions of the roles we believe are most appropriate for our business once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. If our employee attrition is higher than expected, we may find it difficult to fill our hiring needs without substantial expense.
Failure to manage our employee base and hiring needs effectively, including successfully recruiting and integrating our new hires, or to retain and motivate our current personnel may adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
If we cannot maintain our culture and values as we grow, our business could be harmed.
We believe that a critical component of our success has been our corporate culture and values. We have invested substantial time and resources in building our culture, which is rooted in innovation, teamwork, and achieving profit with purpose. Relatedly, we believe that our status as a PBC, our commitment to environmental conservation and sustainability, and our certified B Corp status, all of which are foundational aspects of our culture and values, distinguish us from our competitors and promote a relationship among our customers, partners, and employees founded on trust.
However, as we continue to grow, including geographically expanding our presence outside of our headquarters in San Francisco, California, and developing the infrastructure associated with being a public company, we face a number of challenges that may affect our ability to sustain our corporate culture and shared values, including:
•a need to identify, attract, reward, and retain people in key leadership positions in our organization who share and further our culture, values, mission, and public benefit objective;
•the increasing size and geographic diversity of our workforce, which may limit our ability to promote a uniform and consistent culture and set of shared values across all of our offices and employees globally;
•the wider array of alternative working arrangements we now permit or may in the future permit, including part-time or flexible roles, fully remote roles, or “hybrid” roles (where a mix of in-person and remote work is permitted);
•the costs of our employee health and well-being initiatives and other ESG investments, which are required to maintain our corporate culture and live up to our values, but which may be more expensive than those of our competitors;
•the loss of our certified B Corp status;
•competitive pressures that may divert us from our mission, vision, and values, and may cause us to take actions that are contrary to, or that our workforce views as contrary to, our culture or values;
•our rapidly evolving industry; and
•the increasing need to develop expertise in new areas of business that affect us.
Any failure to preserve our corporate culture (or localize it authentically) or any failure to live up to our values as a company, particularly those related to environmental conservation and sustainability, could negatively affect our brand and reputation, harm our business, and limit our future success, including our ability to retain and recruit personnel and to effectively focus on and pursue our corporate objectives.
Merchandise returns could harm our business.
We allow customers to return products under a return policy that we believe is more generous than the industry standard. For example, for footwear, we generally accept merchandise returns for full refund or exchange if returned within 30 days of the original purchase date. Our revenue is reported net of returns, discounts, and any taxes collected from customers and remitted to government authorities. We estimate an allowance for expected product returns based on historical return trends. Revenue is presented net of the sales return allowance, and the expected inventory right of recovery is presented as a reduction of cost of revenue. The introduction of new products, changes in customer confidence or shopping habits or other competitive and general economic conditions could cause actual returns to exceed our estimates. If
actual return costs differ from previous estimates, the amount of the liability and corresponding revenue are adjusted in the period in which such costs occur. In addition, from time to time, our products may be damaged in transit, which can also increase return rates. Returned goods may also be damaged in transit as part of the return process which can impede our ability to resell the returned goods. From time to time, customers have abused our return policy by, for example, returning shoes that have been worn repeatedly for all or most of the 30-day return window and cannot be resold. Competitive pressures could cause us to alter our return policies or our shipping policies, which could result in an increase in damaged products and an increase in product returns. If the rate of product returns increases significantly or if product return economics become less efficient, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be harmed.
Counterfeit or “knock-off” products, as well as products that are “inspired-by-Allbirds,” may siphon off demand we have created for sustainable footwear and apparel, and may result in customer confusion, harm to our brand, a loss of our market share, and/or a decrease in our results of operations.
We face competition from counterfeit or “knock-off” products manufactured and sold by third parties in violation of our intellectual property rights, as well as from products that are inspired by our footwear in terms of sustainability, design, and style, including private label offerings by digital retailers. In the past, third parties have established websites to target users on Facebook or other social media platforms with “look alike” websites intended to trick users into believing that they were purchasing Allbirds shoes at a steep discount. Some individuals who actually made purchases from such “look alike” websites believed they had purchased from our actual website and subsequently submitted complaints to us.
These activities of third parties may result in customer confusion, require us to incur additional administrative costs to manage customer complaints related to counterfeit goods, divert customers from us, cause us to miss out on sales opportunities, and result in a loss of our market share. We could also be required to increase our marketing and advertising spend. If consumers are confused by these other products and believe them to be actual Allbirds, we could be forced to deal with dissatisfied customers who mistakenly blame us for poor service or poor-quality goods.
In addressing these or similar issues in the future, we may also be required to incur substantial expense to protect our brand and enforce our intellectual property rights, including through legal action in the United States or in foreign countries, which could negatively impact our results of operations and financial condition.
These and similar “counterfeit” or “inspired-by-Allbirds” issues could reoccur and could again result in customer confusion, harm to our brand, a loss of our market share, and/or a decrease in our results of operations.
We may seek to grow our business through acquisitions of, or investments in, new or complementary businesses, facilities, technologies, or products, or through strategic alliances; the failure to adequately manage these acquisitions, investments, or alliances, to integrate them with our existing business, or to realize anticipated returns, could adversely affect us.
From time to time, we may consider opportunities to acquire or make investments in new or complementary businesses, facilities, technologies, offerings, or products, or enter into strategic alliances, that may enhance our capabilities, expand our outsourcing and supplier network, complement our current products, or expand the breadth of our markets. Acquisitions, investments and other strategic alliances involve numerous risks, including:
•problems integrating the acquired business, facilities, technologies, or products, including issues maintaining uniform standards, procedures, controls, policies, and culture;
•unanticipated costs associated with acquisitions, investments, or strategic alliances;
•diversion of management’s attention from our existing business;
•adverse effects on existing business relationships with suppliers, outsourced manufacturing partners, and other third parties;
•risks associated with entering new markets in which we may have limited or no experience;
•potential loss of key employees of acquired businesses; and
•increased legal and accounting compliance costs.
We may be unable to identify acquisitions or strategic relationships we deem suitable. Even if we do, we may be unable to successfully complete any such transactions on favorable terms or at all, or to successfully integrate any acquired
business, facilities, technologies, or products into our business or retain any key personnel, suppliers, or customers. Furthermore, even if we complete such transactions and effectively integrate the newly acquired business or strategic alliance into our existing operations, we may fail to realize the anticipated returns and/or fail to capture the expected benefits, such as strategic or operational synergies or cost savings. The efforts required to complete and integrate these transactions could be expensive and time-consuming and may disrupt our ongoing business and prevent management from focusing on our operations. If we are unable to identify suitable acquisitions or strategic relationships, or if we are unable to integrate any acquired businesses, facilities, technologies, and products effectively, or if we fail to realize anticipated returns or capture expected benefits, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected.
Certain of our key operating metrics are subject to inherent challenges in measurement, and any real or perceived inaccuracies in such metrics or the underlying data may cause a loss of investor confidence in such metrics, and the market price of our Class A common stock may decline.
We track certain key operating metrics using internal and/or external data analytics tools, which have certain limitations, including, but not limited to, imperfect data collection (e.g., lack of emails and/or other identifiers for certain customers who purchase via our retail channels and do not supply such information). In addition, we rely on data received from third parties, including third-party platforms, to track certain performance indicators, and we may be limited in our ability to verify such data. In addition, our methodologies for tracking metrics may change over time, which could result in changes to the metrics we report. If we undercount or overcount performance due to the internal data analytics tools we use or issues with the data received from third parties, if our internal data analytics tools contain algorithmic or other technical errors, or if changes in access to third party data or external reporting standards require modifications to how we calculate certain operating metrics, the data we report may not be accurate or comparable with prior periods. In addition, limitations, changes, or errors with respect to how we measure data may affect our understanding of certain details of our business, which could affect our longer-term strategies. If our performance metrics are not, or are not perceived to be, accurate representations of our business, if we discover material inaccuracies in our metrics or the data on which such metrics are based, or if we can no longer calculate any of our key performance metrics with a sufficient degree of accuracy, investors could lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of such metrics, which could cause the price of our Class A common stock to decline.
Our business is affected by seasonality.
Our business is affected by the general seasonal trends common to the retail footwear and apparel industry. As a result, historically, we have generated a higher proportion of net revenue, and incurred higher selling and marketing expenses, during the holiday season in the fourth quarter of the year compared to other quarters, and we expect these trends to continue. This seasonality may adversely affect our business and cause our results of operations to fluctuate.
Risks Related to Our Supply Chain
Our reliance on suppliers and manufacturers to provide materials for and to produce our products could cause problems in our supply chain.
We do not manufacture our products or the raw materials for them and rely instead on suppliers. Many of the materials used in our products are developed and manufactured by third parties and may be available, in the short-term, from only one or a very limited number of sources, some of whom have been or may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our contracts with some suppliers and manufacturers may not adequately meet our production requirements, and we compete with other companies for raw materials and production.
We have experienced, and may in the future experience, a significant disruption in the supply of raw materials from current sources and we may be unable to locate alternative materials suppliers of comparable quality at an acceptable price in time, or at all. These issues and risks have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in travel limitations and stay-at-home orders in most or all parts of the world for much of 2020 and the early part of 2021. In addition, if we experience significant increased demand, or if we need to replace an existing supplier or manufacturer, we may be unable to locate additional supplies of raw materials or additional manufacturing capacity on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all, or we may be unable to locate any supplier or manufacturer with sufficient capacity to meet our requirements or to fill our orders in a timely manner. These issues and risks are increased as a result of our commitments to sustainability, including our use of specific materials and manufacturing processes and the sustainability and ESG-related requirements we impose on our suppliers, which generally limit the number of suppliers who could potentially satisfy our requirements. Identifying a suitable supplier is an involved process that requires us to become satisfied with its quality control, responsiveness and service, financial stability, environmental impact, and labor and other ethical practices. Even if we are able to expand existing or find new manufacturing or materials sources, we may encounter delays in production and
added costs as a result of the time it takes to train our suppliers and manufacturers in our methods, products, and quality control standards. Delays related to supplier changes could also arise due to an increase in shipping times if new suppliers are located farther away from our markets or from other participants in our supply chain or if an alternative shipping and transportation route is required, any of which could increase our overall environmental impact and which could also negatively impact our reputation and the carbon footprint scoring of our products. Any delays, interruption, or increased costs in the supply of materials or manufacture of our products could have an adverse effect on our ability to meet customer demand for our products and result in lower net revenue and income from operations both in the short and long term.
Our business is subject to the risk of manufacturer concentration.
We depend significantly on a limited number of third-party contract manufacturers for the sourcing of the vast majority of our products. As a result of this concentration in our supply chain, our business and operations would be negatively affected if any of our key manufacturers were to experience significant disruption affecting the price, quality, availability, or timely delivery of products. The partial or complete loss of these key manufacturers, or a significant adverse change in our relationship with any of these manufacturers, could result in lost sales, added costs, and distribution delays that could harm our business and customer relationships. In addition, as a result of our commitments to sustainability, including our use of specific materials and manufacturing processes and the sustainability and ESG-related requirements we impose on our contract manufacturers, there are generally fewer manufacturers who could potentially satisfy our requirements without substantial lead time or without requiring us to incur much higher costs, so we may be unable to replace a key manufacturer without substantial time and expense.
Failure of our contractors or our licensees’ contractors to comply with our supplier code of conduct, contractual obligations, local laws, and other standards could harm our business.
We work with contractors, most of which are located outside of the United States, to manufacture our products. We require the contractors that directly manufacture our products as well as those that manufacture the materials used to manufacture our products to comply with our supplier code of conduct and other social, environmental, health, and safety standards for the benefit of workers. We also require these contractors to comply with applicable standards for product safety. Notwithstanding their contractual obligations to comply with our policies and applicable standards, from time to time, contractors may not comply with such standards or applicable local law or our licensees may fail to enforce such standards or applicable local law on their contractors. Significant or continuing noncompliance with such standards and laws by one or more contractors could harm our reputation or result in a product recall and, as a result, could have an adverse effect on our sales and financial condition. Similarly, agreements that we enter into with these contractors generally do not require blanket exclusivity with us; as a result, some contractors may be permitted to work with parties who could be deemed competitive, which could harm our business.
In addition, failure of one or more contractors to comply with applicable laws and regulations and contractual obligations could lead to litigation against us or require us to initiate litigation to enforce our contracts, resulting in increased legal expenses and costs. Furthermore, the failure of any such contractors to provide safe and humane factory conditions and oversight at their facilities could damage our reputation with customers or result in legal claims against us. Furthermore, any such noncompliance by our contractors, product recalls, or negative publicity regarding production methods, alleged practices, or workplace or related conditions of any of our suppliers, manufacturers, or licensees could adversely affect our brand image, result in lost sales, require us to divert resources to address and remediate these issues, expose us to legal claims, and force us to locate alternative suppliers, manufacturers or licensees, any of which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Any of these issues with our contractors could have a greater negative impact on us, due to the importance of ESG and sustainability practices to our brand and business.
Failure of our suppliers or manufacturers to consistently provide high-quality materials and products could adversely affect our brand and reputation and cause our business and results of operations to suffer.
Our success depends on our ability to provide our customers with the sustainable footwear and apparel they seek, which in turn depends on the quantity and quality of the finished products provided by our manufacturing partners, which depends on the quantity and quality of the raw materials they receive from our supply partners. We may be unable to provide customers with the high-quality sustainable footwear and apparel they seek if our supply chain partners do not consistently produce high-quality products for us to sell.
We believe that many of our new customers find us by word of mouth and other non-paid referrals from existing customers. If existing customers are dissatisfied with their product experience due to defects in the materials or manufacturing of our products or other quality related concerns, then they may stop buying our products and may stop
referring others to us, and we could experience an increase in the rate of product returns. If we are unable to retain existing customers and attract new customers due to quality issues that we fail to identify and remedy, our growth prospects would be harmed and our business could be adversely affected. If product quality issues are widespread or result in product recalls, our brand and reputation could be harmed, we could incur substantial costs, and our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.
The fluctuating cost of raw materials could increase our cost of revenue and cause our results of operations and financial condition to suffer.
The raw materials and commodities used by our suppliers and manufacturers include tree fiber, merino wool, sugarcane, castor bean oil, natural rubber, recycled plastic bottles, and paper products. Our suppliers and manufacturers’ costs for raw materials and commodities are affected by, among other things, weather, consumer demand, speculation on the commodities market, the relative valuations and fluctuations of the currencies of producer versus consumer countries, and other factors that are generally unpredictable and beyond our control. In addition, if key suppliers, the footwear and apparel industry, or a group of countries adopt and enforce carbon pricing, then the price of raw materials and commodities could increase. Increases in the cost of raw materials could have a material adverse effect on our cost of revenue, results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows. As a result, this may have an impact on pricing of our products. For example, in August 2021, we implemented a slight price increase in certain of our products, and we expect to have further price increases in 2022. It is uncertain if we will have to consider additional future price increases in our products as a result of increases in the cost of raw materials and supplies, partially due to the current inflationary environment. If we continue increasing the prices of our products, this may adversely impact demand for our products by our customers.
The operations of our suppliers, most of which are located outside of the United States, are subject to additional risks that are beyond our control and that could harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Currently, most of our suppliers are located outside of the United States. As a result of our global suppliers, we are subject to risks associated with doing business abroad, including:
•political unrest, terrorism, labor disputes, and economic instability resulting in the disruption of trade from foreign countries in which our products are manufactured, including China;
•the imposition of new laws and regulations, including those relating to labor conditions, quality, and safety standards, imports, duties, taxes, and other charges on imports, as well as trade restrictions and restrictions on currency exchange or the transfer of funds, particularly new or increased tariffs imposed by the United States on imports from countries where our products are manufactured, including, for example, South Korea, Vietnam, China, and Peru;
•greater challenges and increased costs with enforcing and periodically auditing or reviewing our suppliers and manufacturers’ compliance with our supplier code of conduct, including their labor and sustainability practices, given that their facilities are located outside of the United States and, in many cases, far away from our offices and management;
•reduced protection for intellectual property rights, including trademark protection, in some countries, particularly China;
•disruptions in operations due to global, regional, or local public health crises or other emergencies or natural disasters, including, for example, disruptions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic given the emergence of new variants and disparities in availability of vaccines in different parts of the world;
•disruptions or delays in shipments; and
•changes in local economic conditions in countries where our manufacturers, suppliers, or customers are located.
These and other factors beyond our control, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, could interrupt our suppliers’ production, influence the ability of our suppliers to export our products cost-effectively or at all, and inhibit our suppliers’ ability to procure certain materials, any of which could harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Shipping and delivery are critical parts of our business and any changes in, or disruptions to, our shipping and delivery arrangements could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
We rely on several ocean, air parcel, and “less than truckload” carriers to deliver the products we sell. If we are not able to negotiate acceptable pricing and other terms with these providers, or if these providers experience performance problems or other difficulties in processing our orders or delivering our products to customers, it could negatively impact our results of operations, financial condition, and our customers’ experience. For example, changes to the terms of our shipping arrangements or the imposition of surcharges or surge pricing may adversely impact our margins and profitability. In addition, our ability to receive inbound inventory efficiently and ship merchandise to customers may be negatively affected by factors beyond our and these providers’ control, including pandemic, weather, fire, flood, power loss, earthquakes, acts of war or terrorism, or other events specifically impacting other shipping partners, such as labor disputes, financial difficulties, system failures, and other disruptions to the operations of the shipping companies on which we rely. We have in the past experienced, and may in the future experience, shipping delays for reasons outside of our control. We are also subject to risks of damage or loss during delivery by our shipping vendors. If the products ordered by our customers are not delivered in a timely fashion, including to international customers, or are damaged or lost during the delivery process, our customers could become dissatisfied and cease buying products from us, which would adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
If we do not successfully optimize, operate, and manage our global network of third-party owned and operated logistics and distribution centers, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be harmed.
Our success depends on our global logistics and distribution network. Currently, we rely predominantly on a few third-party logistics providers to store our finished products in, and distribute our products to customers from, their warehouse locations in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, China, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand. Our ability to meet customer expectations, manage inventory, complete sales, and achieve objectives for operating efficiencies and growth, particularly in emerging markets, depends on the proper operation of these third parties’ distribution facilities, the development or expansion of additional distribution capabilities, and the timely performance of services by third parties (including those involved in shipping product to and from our distribution facilities). If we continue to add third-party logistics providers, require them to expand their fulfillment, distribution, and warehouse capabilities, including adding additional locations in new countries, add products categories with different fulfillment requirements, or change the mix of products that we sell, our global logistics and distribution network will become increasingly complex and operating it will become more challenging for us and our third-party logistics providers. The expansion and growth of our logistics and distribution center network may put pressure on our managerial, financial, operational, and other resources. In addition, we may be required to expand our capacity sooner than we anticipate. If we are unable to secure new or expand existing third-party logistics providers to meet our future needs, our order fulfillment and shipping times may be delayed and our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected. The third-party owned and operated logistics and distribution centers we rely on could be interrupted by issues beyond our control, including information technology problems, disasters such as earthquakes or fires, or outbreaks of disease or government actions taken to mitigate their spread. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, several logistics providers we rely on faced staffing shortages, which impacted their businesses and resulted in delayed shipping and delivery times. Any significant failure in our distribution facilities could result in an adverse effect on our business. We maintain business interruption insurance, but it may not adequately protect us from adverse effects caused by significant disruptions in our third-party logistics and distribution centers.
Risks Related to Intellectual Property, Information Technology, and Data Security and Privacy
Our failure or inability to protect or enforce our intellectual property rights could diminish the value of our brand and weaken our competitive position.
We currently rely on a combination of trademark, trade dress, copyright, patent, and unfair competition laws, as well as confidentiality procedures and licensing arrangements, to establish and protect our intellectual property rights. The steps we take to protect our intellectual property rights may not be adequate to prevent infringement of these rights by others. We regularly face the imitation of our products, the manufacture and distribution of “knock-off” and counterfeit products, and the misappropriation of our brand and product names. For instance, we have had to litigate against a third party misappropriating our WOOL RUNNERS trademark and have had to enforce against third parties manufacturing and selling products that violate our design patents.
In addition, intellectual property protection may be unavailable or limited in some foreign countries where laws or law enforcement practices may not protect our intellectual property rights as fully as in the United States, and it may be more
difficult for us to successfully challenge the use of our intellectual property rights by other parties in these countries. For instance, some of our trademark or trade dress applications may not be approved by the applicable governmental authorities because they are determined to lack sufficient distinctiveness, and, even if approved, may be challenged by third parties for this same reason. If we fail to protect and maintain our intellectual property rights, the value of our brand could be diminished, and our competitive position may suffer.
Our trademarks and other proprietary rights could potentially conflict with the rights of others, and we may be prevented from selling some of our products.
Our success depends in large part on our brand image. We believe that our trademarks and other proprietary rights have significant value and are important to identifying and differentiating our products from those of our competitors and creating and sustaining demand for our products. We have applied for and obtained some U.S., E.U., and foreign trademark registrations, and will continue to evaluate the registration of additional trademarks as appropriate. However, some or all of these pending trademark applications may be refused due to prior conflicting trademarks or for other reasons. We may also encounter “squatters” or bad actors that either apply to register or “squat” on previously acquired trademarks that are identical or related to our trademarks (e.g., ALLBIRDS or ALLBIRDSBROWN). In both scenarios, such third parties hope to use their prior rights as leverage to extract a favorable monetary settlement or acquisition of their rights. For instance, we recently became aware of attempts by third parties to register ALLBIRDS in India and Indonesia and have had to expend both financial and internal resources to address such filings.
Moreover, even if our applications are approved, third parties may seek to oppose, invalidate, or otherwise challenge these registrations for these same reasons, particularly as we expand our business and the number of products we offer. For example, currently, we are defending invalidation actions in China against a number of our granted registrations (e.g., for ALLBIRDS (Stylized)).
Our defense of any claim, regardless of its merit, could be expensive and time consuming and could divert management resources. Successful infringement claims against us could result in significant monetary liability or prevent us from selling some of our products. In addition, resolution of claims may require us to redesign our products, license rights from third parties, or cease using those rights altogether. Any of these events could harm our business and cause our results of operations, liquidity, and financial condition to suffer.
The inability to acquire, use, or maintain our marks and domain names for our websites could substantially harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
We currently are the registrant of marks for our products in numerous jurisdictions and are the registrant of the internet domain name for the website allbirds.com, as well as various related domain names. However, we have not registered our marks represented by our domain names in all international jurisdictions. Domain names generally are regulated by internet regulatory bodies and may not be generally protectable as trademarks in and of themselves. We have incurred, and as our business grows, may continue to incur material costs in connection with the registration, maintenance, and protection of our marks. If we do not have or cannot obtain on reasonable terms the ability to use our marks in a particular country, or to use or register our domain name, we could be forced either to incur significant additional expenses to market our products within that country, including the development of a new brand and the creation of new promotional materials and packaging, or to elect not to sell products in that country. Either result could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Furthermore, the regulations governing domain names and laws protecting marks and similar proprietary rights could change in ways that block or interfere with our ability to use relevant domains or the Allbirds brand. Also, we might not be able to prevent third parties from registering, using, or retaining domain names that interfere with our customer communications or infringe or otherwise decrease the value of our marks, domain names, and other proprietary rights. Regulatory bodies also may establish additional generic or country-code top-level domains or may allow modifications of the requirements for registering, holding, or using domain names. As a result, we might not be able to register, use, or maintain the domain names that use the name Allbirds in all of the countries and territories in which we currently or intend to conduct business.
Any material disruption of our information technology systems or unexpected network interruption could disrupt our business and reduce our sales.
We are increasingly dependent on information technology networks and systems, our website, and various third parties to market and sell our products and to manage a variety of business processes and activities and to comply with regulatory, legal, and tax requirements. For example, we depend on information technology systems and third parties to operate our
websites, process transactions online and in our stores, respond to customer inquiries, manage inventory, purchase, sell, and ship goods on a timely basis, and maintain cost-efficient operations. We also depend on our information technology infrastructure for digital marketing activities and for electronic communications among our personnel, customers, manufacturers, and suppliers around the world. Our website, portions of which are run through Shopify, and information technology systems, some of which are managed by third parties, may be susceptible to damage, disruptions, or shutdowns due to failures during the process of upgrading or replacing software, databases, or components, fire, flood, power outages, hardware failures, terrorist attacks, acts of war, break-ins, earthquakes, or catastrophic events.
Our website serves as an effective extension of our marketing strategies by exposing potential new customers to our brand, product offerings, and enhanced content. Due to the importance of our website and internet-related operations, we are vulnerable to website downtime and other technical failures, which may be outside of our control. Further, any slowdown or material disruption of our systems, or the systems of our third-party service providers, or our website could disrupt our ability to track, record, and analyze the products that we sell and could negatively impact our operations, shipment of goods, ability to process financial information and transactions, and our ability to receive and process customer orders or engage in normal business activities. Our third-party technology providers may also change their policies, terms, or offerings from time to time, may fail to introduce new features and offerings that meet our needs as we expand, or may cease to provide services to us on favorable terms, or at all, which could require us to adjust how we use our information technology systems, including our website, or switch to alternative third-party service providers which could be costly, cause interruptions, and could ultimately adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and growth prospects.
If our website or information technology systems, including those run by or those of our third-party providers, suffer damage, disruption, or shutdown and we or our third-party providers do not effectively resolve the issues in a timely manner, our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be adversely affected, we may lose customer data or miss order fulfillment deadlines, and we could experience delays in reporting our financial results.
We use complex custom-built proprietary software in our technology infrastructure. Our proprietary software may contain undetected errors or vulnerabilities, some of which may only be discovered after the software has been implemented in our production environment or released to end users. In addition, we seek to continually update and improve our software, and we may not always be successful in executing these upgrades and improvements, and the operation of our systems may be subject to failure. We may experience slowdowns or interruptions in our website when we are updating it. For example, in the past we have experienced minor slowdowns and/or impaired functionality while updating our website. Moreover, new technologies or infrastructures may not be fully integrated with existing systems on a timely basis, or at all. Any errors or vulnerabilities discovered in our software after commercial implementation or release could result in damage to our reputation, loss of customers, exploitation by bad actors resulting in data breaches or unauthorized modification of our software, disruption to our digital channels, loss of revenue, or liability for damages, any of which could adversely affect our growth prospects and our business.
Additionally, if we expand our use of third-party services, including cloud-based services, our technology infrastructure may be subject to increased risk of slowdown or interruption as a result of integration with or subsequent dependence on such services and/or failures by such third parties, which are out of our control. Our net revenue depends on the number of visitors who shop on our website and the volume of orders we can handle. Unavailability of our website or mobile app or reduced order fulfillment performance would reduce the volume of goods sold and could also adversely affect customer perception of our brand. We may experience periodic system interruptions from time to time. In addition, continued growth in our transaction volume, as well as surges in online traffic and orders associated with promotional activities or seasonal trends in our business, place additional demands on our technology platform, and could cause or exacerbate slowdowns or interruptions. If there is a substantial increase in the volume of traffic on our website or the number of orders placed by customers, we will be required to further expand, scale, and upgrade our technology, transaction processing systems, and network infrastructure. There can be no assurance that we will be able to accurately project the rate or timing of increases, if any, in the use of our website or mobile app or expand, scale, and upgrade our technology, systems, and infrastructure to accommodate such increases on a timely basis. In order to remain competitive, we must continue to enhance and improve the responsiveness, functionality, and features of our website, which is particularly challenging given the rapid rate at which new technologies, customer preferences and expectations, and industry standards and practices are evolving in the eCommerce industry. Our or our third-party vendors’ inability to continue to update, improve, and scale our website or mobile app and the underlying technology infrastructure could harm our reputation and our ability to acquire, retain, and serve our customers, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Further, we endeavor to continually upgrade existing technologies and business applications, and we may be required to implement new technologies or business applications in the future. The implementation of upgrades and changes requires significant investments. Our results of operations may be affected by the timing, effectiveness, and costs associated with the successful implementation of any upgrades or changes to our systems and infrastructure. In the event that it is more difficult for our customers to buy products from us on their mobile devices, or if our customers choose not to buy products from us on their mobile devices or to use mobile products that do not offer access to our websites, our customer growth could be harmed and our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be adversely affected.
If the technology-based systems that give our customers the ability to shop with us online do not function effectively, our results of operations, as well as our ability to grow our digital business globally, could be materially adversely affected.
Many of our customers shop with us through our digital websites and mobile apps. Increasingly, customers are using tablets and smart phones to shop online with us and with our competitors and to do comparison shopping. We are increasingly using social media to interact with our customers and as a means to enhance their shopping experience. Any failure on our part to provide attractive, effective, reliable, user-friendly digital platforms that offer a wide assortment of merchandise with rapid delivery options and that continually meet the changing expectations of online shoppers could place us at a competitive disadvantage, result in the loss of digital and other sales, harm our reputation with customers, have a material adverse impact on the growth of our digital business globally, and could have a material adverse impact on our business and results of operations.
Risks specific to our digital business also include diversion of sales from our company-operated stores, difficulty in recreating the in-store experience through direct channels and liability for online content. Our failure to successfully respond to these risks might adversely affect sales in our digital business, as well as damage our reputation and brand.
We are subject to risks related to online payment methods.
We currently accept payments using a variety of methods, including credit cards and debit cards. As we offer new payment options to consumers, we may be subject to additional regulations, compliance requirements, fraud and other risks. For certain payment methods, we pay interchange and other fees, which may increase over time and raise our operating costs and lower profitability. We are also subject to payment card association operating rules and certification requirements, including the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, or PCI DSS, and rules governing electronic funds transfers, which could change or be reinterpreted to make it difficult or impossible for us to comply. Failure to comply with PCI DSS or to meet other payment card standards may result in the imposition of financial penalties or the allocation by the card brands of the costs of fraudulent charges to us.
We must continue to expand and scale our information technology systems, and our failure to do so could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
We will need to continue to expand and scale our information technology systems and personnel to support recent and expected future growth. As such, we will continue to invest in and implement modifications and upgrades to our information technology systems and procedures, including replacing legacy systems with successor systems, making changes to legacy systems or acquiring new systems with new functionality, hiring employees with information technology expertise, and building new policies, procedures, training programs, and monitoring tools. These types of activities subject us to inherent costs and risks associated with replacing and changing these systems, including impairment of our ability to fulfill customer orders, potential disruption of our internal control structure, capital expenditures, additional administration, and operating expenses, acquisition, and retention of sufficiently skilled personnel to implement and operate the new systems, demands on management time, the introduction of errors or vulnerabilities, and other risks and costs of delays or difficulties in transitioning to or integrating new systems into our current systems. These implementations, modifications, and upgrades may not result in productivity improvements at a level that outweighs the costs of implementation, or at all. Additionally, difficulties with implementing new technology systems, delays in our timeline for planned improvements, significant system failures or our inability to successfully modify our information systems to respond to changes in our business needs may cause disruptions in our business operations and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
If sensitive information about our customers is actually or alleged to have been disclosed, or if we or our third-party providers are subject to real or perceived cyberattacks or misuse, our customers may curtail use of our website or mobile app, we may be exposed to liability, and our reputation could suffer.
Operating our business and platform involves the collection, storage, and transmission of a variety of sensitive information, including proprietary and confidential information, as well as the personal information of our employees and customers. Some of our third-party service providers, such as identity verification and payment processing providers, also regularly have access to our customer data. In an effort to protect sensitive information, we rely on a variety of security measures, including encryption and authentication technology licensed from third parties. However, advances in computer capabilities, increasingly sophisticated tools and methods used by hackers and cyber terrorists, new discoveries in the field of cryptography, or other developments may result in our failure or inability to adequately protect sensitive information.
Like other eCommerce companies, we are also vulnerable to hacking, malware, supply chain attacks, computer viruses, unauthorized access, and various other attacks by computer hackers (such as phishing or social engineering attacks, ransomware attacks, credential stuffing attacks, denial-of-service attacks, exploitation of software vulnerabilities, and other real or perceived cyberattacks) as well as cybersecurity incidents caused by telecommunication failures, user errors, or intentional or accidental actions or inactions by users with authorized access to our systems. Additionally, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, certain functional areas of our workforce remain in a remote work environment, which has heightened the risk of these potential vulnerabilities. Any of these incidents could lead to interruptions or shutdowns of our platform, loss or corruption of data or unauthorized access to, or disclosure of sensitive information. Cyberattacks could also result in the theft of our intellectual property, damage to our IT systems or disruption of our ability to make financial reports, and other public disclosures required of public companies. We have been subject to attempted cyber, phishing, or social engineering attacks in the past and may continue to be subject to such attacks and other cybersecurity incidents in the future. If we gain greater visibility, we may face a higher risk of being targeted by cyberattacks. Advances in computer capabilities, new technological discoveries, or other developments may result in cyberattacks becoming more sophisticated and more difficult to detect. We and our third-party service providers may not have the resources or technical sophistication to anticipate or prevent all such cyberattacks. Moreover, techniques used to obtain unauthorized access to systems change frequently and may not be known until launched against us or our third-party service providers. Security breaches can also occur as a result of non-technical issues, including intentional or inadvertent actions by our employees, our third-party service providers, or their personnel.
We and our third-party service providers may experience cyberattacks aimed at disrupting our and their services. If we or our third-party service providers experience, or are believed to have experienced, security breaches that result in marketplace performance or availability problems or the loss or corruption of, or unauthorized access to or disclosure of, sensitive information, consumers may become unwilling to provide us the information necessary to make purchases on our website. Existing customers may also decrease or stop their purchases altogether. While we maintain cyber errors and omissions insurance coverage that covers certain aspects of cyber risks, these losses may not be adequately covered by insurance or other contractual rights available to us. The successful assertion of one or more large claims against us that exceed or are not covered by our insurance coverage or changes in our insurance policies, including premium increases or the imposition of large deductible or co-insurance requirements, could make us unable to acquire such insurance and may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Furthermore, we may be required to disclose personal data pursuant to demands from individuals, privacy advocates, regulators, government agencies, and law enforcement agencies in various jurisdictions with conflicting privacy and security laws. Any disclosure or refusal to disclose personal data may result in a breach of privacy and data protection policies, notices, laws, rules, court orders, and regulations and could result in proceedings or actions against us in the same or other jurisdictions, damage to our reputation and brand, and inability to provide our products to customers in certain jurisdictions. Additionally, changes in the laws and regulations that govern our collection, use, and disclosure of customer data could impose additional requirements with respect to the retention and security of customer data, could limit our marketing activities, and have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Failure to comply with federal, state, or foreign laws and regulations or our contractual obligations or industry requirements relating to privacy, data protection, and customer protection, or the expansion of current or the enactment of new laws and regulations relating to privacy, data protection, and customer protection, could adversely affect our business and our financial condition.
We collect and maintain significant amounts of data relating to our customers and employees, and we face risks inherent in handling large volumes of data, transferring such data to third parties, processing such data for tracking and marketing purposes (or providing such data to third parties for tracking and marketing purposes), and protecting the
security of such data. Our actual or perceived failure to comply with any federal, state, or foreign laws and regulations, or applicable industry standards that govern or apply to our collection, use, retention, sharing, and security of data, or any failure by any of our third party service providers to protect such data that they may maintain on our behalf, could result in enforcement actions that require us to change our business practices in a manner that may negatively impact our revenue, as well as expose ourselves to litigation, fines, civil, and/or criminal penalties and adverse publicity that could cause our customers to lose trust in us, negatively impacting our reputation and business in a manner that harms our financial position. Laws and regulations in the United States and around the world restrict how information about individuals is collected, processed, stored, used, and disclosed, as well as set standards for its security, implement notice requirements regarding privacy practices, and provide individuals with certain rights regarding the use, disclosure, and sale of their protected personal information. These laws and regulations are still being tested in courts, and they are subject to new and differing interpretations by courts and regulatory officials. We are working to comply with the privacy and data protection laws and regulations that apply to us, and we anticipate needing to devote significant additional resources to complying with these laws and regulations. It is possible that these laws and regulations may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent from jurisdiction to jurisdiction or inconsistent with our current policies and practices.
In the United States, both federal and various state governments have adopted, or are considering, laws, guidelines, or rules for the collection, distribution, use, and storage of information collected from or about consumers or their devices. For example, California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act, or the CCPA, which went into effect on January 1, 2020. The CCPA gives California residents expanded rights to access and delete their personal information, opt out of certain personal information sharing, and receive detailed information about how their personal information is used. The CCPA provides for civil penalties for violations, as well as statutory damages and a private right of action for data breaches that is expected to increase data breach litigation. Further, in November 2020, California voters passed the California Privacy Rights Act, or CPRA. The CPRA, which is expected to take effect on January 1, 2023 and to create obligations with respect to certain data relating to consumers as of January 1, 2022, significantly expands the CCPA, including by introducing additional obligations such as data minimization and storage limitations, granting additional rights to consumers, such as correction of personal information and additional opt-out rights, and creates a new entity, the California Privacy Protection Agency, to implement and enforce the law. Personal information we handle may be subject to the CCPA and CPRA, which may increase our compliance costs and potential liability. Further, on March 2, 2021, Virginia enacted the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act, or CDPA, which becomes effective on January 1, 2023, and on June 8, 2021, Colorado enacted the Colorado Privacy Act, or CPA, which takes effect on July 1, 2023. The CPA and CDPA are similar to the CCPA and CPRA but aspects of these state privacy statutes remain unclear, resulting in further legal uncertainty and potentially requiring us to modify our data practices and policies and to incur substantial additional costs and expenses in an effort to comply. Other states have considered similar bills, which could be enacted in the future. In addition to fines and penalties that may be imposed for failure to comply with state law, some states also provide for private rights of action to customers for misuse of or unauthorized access to personal information. Our compliance with these changing and increasingly burdensome and sometimes conflicting regulations and requirements may cause us to incur substantial costs or require us to change our business practices, which may impact our financial condition. If we fail to comply with these regulations or requirements, we may be exposed to litigation expenses and possible significant liability, fees, or fines. Further, any such claim, proceeding, or action could harm our reputation, brand, and business, force us to incur significant expenses in defense of such proceedings, distract our management, increase our costs of doing business, result in a loss of customers and suppliers or an inability to process credit card payments, and may result in the imposition of monetary penalties. We may also be contractually required to indemnify and hold harmless third parties from the costs or consequences of non-compliance with any laws, regulations, or other legal obligations relating to privacy or consumer protection or any inadvertent or unauthorized use or disclosure of data that we store or handle as part of operating our business.
Certain requirements from our third-party technology and platform providers may also cause us to modify our offerings due to privacy concerns or negatively affect our revenue due to reduced availability of information about consumers. For example, Apple iOS 14.5 requires apps in the Apple App Store to opt in to the tracking of users across apps and websites owned by third parties for advertising and measurement purposes. Changes like this may reduce the quality of the data and related metrics that can be collected or used by us and/or our partners. In addition, such changes could significantly inhibit the effectiveness of our targeted advertising and related activities.
In addition to risks posed by new privacy laws, we could be subject to claims alleging violations of long-established federal and state privacy and consumer protection laws, including those related to telephone and email communications with consumers. As an example, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA, is a federal law that imposes significant restrictions on the ability to make telephone calls or send text messages to mobile telephone numbers without the prior consent of the person being contacted. The TCPA provides for substantial statutory damages for violations, which has generated extensive class action litigation. In addition, class action plaintiffs in the United States are employing novel
legal theories to allege that federal and state eavesdropping/wiretapping laws and state constitutions prohibit the use of analytics technologies widely employed by website and mobile app operators to understand how their users interact with their services. Despite our compliance efforts, our use of text messaging communications or similar analytics technologies could expose us to costly litigation, government enforcement actions, damages, and penalties, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Outside of the United States, certain foreign jurisdictions, including the European Economic Area, or EEA, and the United Kingdom, have laws and regulations which are more restrictive in certain respects than those in the United States. For example, the EEA and the United Kingdom have adopted the GDPR, which may apply to our collection, control, use, sharing, disclosure, and other processing of data relating to an identified or identifiable living individual (personal data). The GDPR, and national implementing legislation in EEA member states and the United Kingdom, impose a strict data protection compliance regime including: providing detailed disclosures about how personal data is collected and processed (in a concise, intelligible and easily accessible form); granting new rights for data subjects in regard to their personal data (including the right to be “forgotten” and the right to data portability), as well as enhancing current rights (e.g., data subject access requests); requirements to have data processing agreements in place to govern the processing of personal data on behalf of other organizations; introducing the obligation to notify data protection regulators or supervisory authorities (and in certain cases, affected individuals) of significant data breaches; maintaining a record of data processing; and complying with the principal of accountability and the obligation to demonstrate compliance through policies, procedures, trainings, and audits.
In addition, we are subject, or may become subject, to various other data privacy and security laws and regulations of other foreign jurisdictions, including those in China and South Korea. On June 10, 2021, the Peoples Republic of China, or the PRC, passed the PRC Data Security Law, or the DSL. The DSL, which became effective on September 1, 2021, imposes data privacy and cybersecurity obligations on entities carrying out processing of personal data and stipulates that entities processing of data outside China will be liable for damages to the interests of PRC citizens. Also, on August 20, 2021, the PRC passed the Personal Information Protection Law, or the PIPL. The PIPL, which took effect in November 2021, puts in place rules for processing personal information of PRC citizens. Like the GDPR and CCPA, the DSL and PIPL apply to processing of personal information outside China but for purpose of providing products or services to PRC citizens.
Since we collect and process personal information on PRC citizens, we are or may become subject to and may be ordered to comply with PRC regulations associated with the DSL and PIPL. In addition, we may be subject to heightened PRC regulatory scrutiny in the future. As there remains significant uncertainty in the interpretation and enforcement of the DSL and the PIPL, we cannot assure you that we will comply with such regulations in all respects. Any non-compliance may subject us to fines, orders to remediate or terminate any actions that are deemed illegal by regulatory authorities, as well as damage to our reputation, or legal proceedings against us, which may affect our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
We also may be subject to European Union rules with respect to cross-border transfers of personal data out of the EEA. Recent legal developments in Europe have created complexity and uncertainty regarding transfers of personal data from the EEA to the United States. We may make use of alternative data transfer mechanisms such as standard contractual clauses approved by the European Commission, or the SCCs. On June 4, 2021, the European Commission adopted new SCCs under the GDPR for personal data transfers outside the EEA, which may require us to expend significant resources to update our contractual arrangements and to comply with such obligations. Further, data protection authorities may require measures to be put in place in addition to SCCs for transfers to countries outside of the EEA, as well as Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Our third-party service providers may also be affected by these changes. In addition to other impacts, we may experience additional costs to comply with these changes, and we and our customers face the potential for regulators in the EEA, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom to apply different standards to the transfer of personal data to the United States and other non-EEA countries, and to block, or require ad hoc verification of measures taken with respect to certain data flows to the United States and other non-EEA countries. We also may be required to engage in new contract negotiations with third parties that aid in processing data on our behalf, to the extent that any of our service providers or consultants have been relying on invalidated or insufficient contractual protections for compliance with evolving interpretations of and guidance for cross-border data transfers pursuant to the GDPR. In such cases, we may not be able to find alternative service providers, which could limit our ability to process personal data from the EEA, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom and increase our costs.
These recent developments may require us to review and amend the legal mechanisms by which we make and/or receive personal data transfers to/in the United States. As supervisory authorities issue further guidance on personal data export mechanisms, including circumstances where the standard contractual clauses cannot be used and/or start taking
enforcement action, we could suffer additional costs, complaints, and/or regulatory investigations or fines, and/or if we are otherwise unable to transfer personal data between and among countries and regions in which we operate, it could affect the manner in which we provide our services, the geographical location or segregation of our relevant systems and operations, and could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
The United Kingdom has implemented legislation similar to the GDPR, including the UK Data Protection Act and legislation similar to the GDPR referred to as the UK GDPR, which provides for fines of up to the greater of 17.5 million British Pounds or 4% of a company’s worldwide turnover, whichever is higher. Additionally, the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union in relation to certain aspects of data protection law remains unclear following the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, including with respect to regulation of data transfers between EU member states and the United Kingdom. On June 28, 2021, the European Commission announced a decision of “adequacy” concluding that the United Kingdom ensures an equivalent level of data protection to the GDPR, which provides some relief regarding the legality of continued personal data flows from the EEA to the United Kingdom. Some uncertainty remains, however, as this adequacy determination must be renewed after four years and may be modified or revoked in the interim. We cannot fully predict how the Data Protection Act, the UK GDPR, and other UK data protection laws or regulations may develop in the medium to longer term nor the effects of divergent laws and guidance regarding how data transfers to and from the United Kingdom will be regulated.
We depend on a number of third parties in relation to the operation of our business, a number of which process personal data on our behalf. Any violation of data or security laws by our third-party processors, or their acts or omissions that cause us to violate our legal obligations, could have an adverse effect on our business and result in the fines and penalties outlined below.
Fines for certain breaches of the GDPR are up to the greater of 20 million euros or 4% of total global annual turnover. In addition to the foregoing, a breach of the GDPR could result in regulatory investigations, reputational damage, orders to cease/change our processing of our data, enforcement notices, and/or assessment notices (for a compulsory audit). We may also face civil claims including representative actions and other class action type litigation (where individuals have suffered harm), potentially amounting to significant compensation or damages liabilities, as well as associated costs, diversion of internal resources, and reputational harm.
We are also subject to evolving E.U. privacy laws on cookies and e-marketing. In the European Union, regulators are increasingly focusing on compliance with requirements in the online behavioral advertising ecosystem, and current national laws that implement the ePrivacy Directive will be replaced by an E.U. regulation known as the ePrivacy Regulation which will significantly increase fines for non-compliance. In the European Union, informed consent is required for the placement of a cookie or similar technologies on a user’s device and for direct electronic marketing. The GDPR also imposes conditions on obtaining valid consent, such as a prohibition on pre-checked consents and a requirement to ensure separate consents are sought for each type of cookie or similar technology. While the text of the ePrivacy Regulation is still under development, a recent European court decision and regulators’ recent guidance are driving increased attention to cookies and tracking technologies. If regulators start to enforce the strict approach in recent guidance, this could lead to substantial costs, require significant systems changes, limit the effectiveness of our marketing activities, divert the attention of our technology personnel, adversely affect our margins, increase costs, and subject us to additional liabilities. Regulation of cookies and similar technologies, and any decline of cookies or similar online tracking technologies as a means to identify and potentially target individuals, may lead to broader restrictions and impairments on our marketing and personalization activities, and may negatively impact our efforts to understand users.
Any actual or perceived non-compliance with these rapidly changing laws, regulations, or standards or our contractual obligations relating to privacy, data protection, and consumer protection by us or the third-party companies we work with could result in litigation and proceedings against us by governmental entities, consumers, or others, fines and civil or criminal penalties for us or company officials, obligations to cease offerings or to substantially modify our business in a manner that makes it less effective in certain jurisdictions, negative publicity, and harm to our brand and reputation, and reduced overall demand for our products, any of which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Use of social media, emails, push notifications, and text messages in ways that do not comply with applicable laws and regulations, lead to the loss or infringement of intellectual property, or result in unintended disclosure may harm our reputation or subject us to fines or other penalties.
We use social media, emails, push notifications, and text messages as part of our omni-channel approach to marketing. As laws and regulations evolve to govern the use of these channels, the failure by us, our employees, or third parties acting at our direction to comply with applicable laws and regulations in the use of these channels could adversely affect our reputation or subject us to fines or other penalties. In addition, our employees or third parties acting at our direction may knowingly or inadvertently make use of social media in ways that could lead to the loss or infringement of intellectual property, as well as the public disclosure of proprietary, confidential, or sensitive personal information of our business, employees, learners, partners, or others. Information concerning us or our customers, whether accurate or not, may be posted on social media platforms at any time and may have an adverse impact on our brand, reputation, or business. The harm may be immediate without affording us an opportunity for redress or correction and could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, results of operations, financial condition, and prospects.
Risks Related to Other Legal, Regulatory, and Taxation Matters
Government regulation of the internet and eCommerce is evolving, and unfavorable changes or failure by us to comply with these regulations could substantially harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
We are subject to general business regulations and laws as well as regulations and laws specifically governing the internet and eCommerce. Existing and future regulations and laws could impede the growth of the internet, eCommerce, or mobile commerce, which could in turn adversely affect our growth. These regulations and laws may involve taxes, tariffs, privacy and data security, anti-spam, content protection, electronic contracts and communications, customer protection, and internet neutrality. It is not clear how existing laws governing issues such as property ownership, sales, and other taxes and customer privacy apply to the internet as the vast majority of these laws were adopted prior to the advent of the internet and do not contemplate or address the unique issues raised by the internet or eCommerce. It is possible that general business regulations and laws, or those specifically governing the internet or eCommerce, may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another and may conflict with other rules or our practices. We cannot be sure that our practices comply fully with all such laws and regulations. Any failure, or perceived failure, by us to comply with any of these laws or regulations could result in damage to our reputation, a loss in business, and proceedings or actions against us by governmental entities, customers, suppliers, or others. Any such proceeding or action could hurt our reputation, force us to spend significant amounts in defense of these proceedings, distract our management, increase our costs of doing business, decrease the use of our website and mobile app by customers and suppliers, and may result in the imposition of monetary liabilities. We may also be contractually liable to indemnify and hold harmless third parties from the costs or consequences of our own non-compliance with any such laws or regulations. As a result, adverse developments with respect to these laws and regulations could substantially harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
We may face exposure to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations.
Certain of our foreign revenue is denominated in currencies of the countries and territories where we sell our products outside of the United States. Similarly, certain of our foreign operating expenses are denominated in the currencies of the countries and territories in which our third-party vendors are located. For example, to acquire the supply of raw materials or commodities such as wool that we expect to require for our business, we may enter into long-term contracts with pricing denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. Accordingly, changes in the value of foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar can affect our net revenue and results of operations. As a result of such foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations, it could be more difficult to detect underlying trends in our business and results of operations. In addition, to the extent that fluctuations in currency exchange rates cause our results of operations to differ from our expectations or the expectations of our investors, the trading price of our Class A common stock could be lowered. We do not currently maintain a program to hedge transactional exposures in foreign currencies. However, in the future, we may use derivative instruments, such as foreign currency forward and option contracts, to hedge certain exposures to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates. The use of such hedging activities may not offset any or more than a portion of the adverse financial effects of unfavorable movements in foreign exchange rates over the limited time the hedges are in place and may introduce additional risks if we are unable to structure effective hedges with such instruments.
Existing and potential tariffs imposed by the United States or other governments or a global trade war could increase the cost of our products, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations; new trade restrictions could prevent us from importing or selling our products profitably.
The United States and the countries in which our products are produced or sold have imposed and may impose additional quotas, duties, tariffs, or other restrictions or regulations, or may adversely adjust prevailing quota, duty, or tariff levels. The results of any audits or related disputes regarding these restrictions or regulations (including, for example, regarding the proper import classification code, or HTS code, for a given product) could have an adverse effect on our financial statements for the period or periods for which the applicable final determinations are made. Countries impose, modify, and remove tariffs and other trade restrictions in response to a diverse array of factors, including global and national economic and political conditions, which make it impossible for us to predict future developments regarding tariffs and other trade restrictions. For example, the U.S. government has in recent years imposed increased tariffs on imports from certain foreign countries, such as China, and any imposition of additional tariffs by the United States could result in the adoption of tariffs by other countries, leading to a global trade war. Any such future tariffs by the United States or other countries could have a significant impact on our business. While we may attempt to renegotiate prices with suppliers or diversify our supply chain in response to tariffs or shift production between manufacturers in different countries, such efforts may not yield immediate results or may be ineffective or not possible in the near-term. For example, starting in 2020, we began shifting production capacity from China to Vietnam, which means that the U.S. government’s tariffs on certain imports from China currently only affect a small portion of our existing production volume. But we may be required to shift production capacity back to China (or other countries for which the U.S. government has imposed higher tariffs) due to the COVID-19 pandemic or lack of manufacturing expertise in relatively lower-tariff countries. We might also consider increasing prices to the end customer; however, this could reduce the competitiveness of our products and adversely affect net revenue.
Trade restrictions, including tariffs, quotas, economic sanctions, embargoes, safeguards, and customs restrictions, could increase the cost or reduce the supply of products available to us, could increase shipping times, or may require us to modify our supply chain organization or other current business practices, any of which could harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
We are also dependent on international trade agreements and regulations. The countries in which we produce and sell our products could impose or increase tariffs, duties, or other similar charges that could negatively affect our results of operations, financial position, or cash flows.
Adverse changes in, or withdrawal from, trade agreements or political relationships between the United States and China, South Korea, Vietnam, or other countries where we sell or source our products, could negatively impact our results of operations or cash flows.
General geopolitical instability and the responses to it, such as the possibility of sanctions, trade restrictions, and changes in tariffs, including tariffs imposed by the United States and China, and the possibility of additional tariffs or other trade restrictions between the United States and other countries where we currently or might in the future manufacture or sell our products, could adversely impact our business. It is possible that further tariffs may be introduced, or increased. Such changes could adversely impact our business and could increase the costs of sourcing our products that are manufactured in countries other than the United States, or could require us to source more of our products from other countries.
If we fail to anticipate and manage any of these dynamics successfully, our gross margin and profitability could be adversely affected.
The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union may have a negative effect on global economic conditions, financial markets, and our business.
Following a national referendum and enactment of legislation by the government of the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom formally withdrew from the European Union and ratified a trade and cooperation agreement governing its future relationship with the European Union. The agreement, which is being applied provisionally from January 1, 2021 until it is ratified by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, addresses trade, economic arrangements, law enforcement, judicial cooperation, and a governance framework including procedures for dispute resolution, among other things. Because the agreement merely sets forth a framework in many respects and will require complex additional bilateral negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union as both parties continue to work on the rules for implementation, significant political and economic uncertainty remains about how the precise terms of the relationship between the parties will differ from the terms before withdrawal.
These developments, or the perception that any related developments could occur, have had and may continue to have an adverse effect on global economic conditions and financial markets, and may significantly reduce global market liquidity, restrict the ability of key market participants to operate in certain financial markets, or restrict our access to capital. Any of these factors could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations and reduce the price of our Class A common stock.
Any failure to comply with trade, anti-corruption, and other regulations could lead to investigations or actions by government regulators and negative publicity.
The labeling, distribution, importation, marketing, and sale of our products are subject to extensive regulation by various federal agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission, as well as by various other federal, state, provincial, local, and international regulatory authorities in the countries in which our products are currently distributed or sold. If we fail to comply with any of these regulations, we could become subject to enforcement actions or the imposition of significant penalties or claims, which could harm our results of operations or our ability to conduct our business. Legal proceedings or any investigations or inquiries by governmental agencies related to these or any other matters, could result in significant settlement amounts, damages, fines, or other penalties, divert financial and management resources, and result in significant legal fees. An unfavorable outcome of any particular proceeding could have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. In addition, the adoption of new regulations or changes in the interpretation of existing regulations may result in significant compliance costs or discontinuation of product sales and could impair the marketing of our products, resulting in significant loss of net revenue.
Most of our products are derived from third-party supply and manufacturing partners in foreign countries and territories, including countries and territories perceived to carry an increased risk of corrupt business practices. We also have subsidiaries and/or employees and other agents working in several foreign countries and territories, including, but not limited to, the People’s Republic of China, South Korea, and Hong Kong. We are subject to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as amended, or FCPA, the U.S. domestic bribery statute contained in 18 U.S.C. § 201, the U.S. Travel Act, the USA PATRIOT Act, the U.K. Bribery Act 2010, and possibly other anti-bribery and anti-money laundering laws in countries in which we conduct activities. These laws prohibit companies and their employees and third-party intermediaries from corruptly promising, authorizing, offering or providing, directly or indirectly, improper payments or anything of value to foreign government officials, political parties and private-sector recipients for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business, directing business to any person or securing any advantage. In addition, U.S. public companies are required to maintain records that accurately and fairly represent their transactions and have an adequate system of internal accounting controls. In many foreign countries, including countries in which we may conduct business, it may be a local custom that businesses engage in practices that are prohibited by the FCPA or other applicable laws and regulations. We face significant risks if we or any of our directors, officers, employees, agents, or other partners or representatives fail to comply with these laws, and governmental authorities in the United States and elsewhere could seek to impose substantial civil and/or criminal fines and penalties, which could adversely affect our reputation, business, financial condition, and results of operations.
While we have implemented policies and procedures relating to anti-bribery and anti-corruption compliance, our employees, contractors, and agents, and companies to which we outsource certain of our business operations, may take actions in violation of our policies and applicable law, for which we may be ultimately held responsible and which could lead to an adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Any violation of the FCPA, other applicable anti-corruption laws, or anti-money laundering laws could result in whistleblower complaints, adverse media coverage, investigations, loss of export privileges, or severe criminal or civil sanctions, any of which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. In addition, responding to any enforcement action may result in a significant diversion of management’s attention and resources and significant defense costs and other professional fees.
Our ability to source and distribute our merchandise profitably or at all could be harmed if new trade restrictions are imposed or existing trade restrictions become more burdensome.
Substantially all of our footwear and apparel products are currently manufactured outside of the United States. The United States and the countries in which our products are produced or sold internationally have imposed and may impose additional quotas, duties, tariffs, or other restrictions or regulations, or may adversely adjust prevailing quota, duty or tariff levels. Countries impose, modify, and remove tariffs and other trade restrictions in response to a diverse array of factors, including global and national economic and political conditions, which make it impossible for us to predict future developments regarding tariffs and other trade restrictions. Trade restrictions, including tariffs, quotas, export controls,
trade sanctions, embargoes, safeguards, and customs restrictions, could increase the cost or reduce the supply of products available to us or may require us to modify our supply chain organization or other current business practices, any of which could harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Changes in tax laws may impact our future financial position and results of operation.
New income, sales, use, or other tax laws, statutes, rules, regulations, or ordinances could be enacted at any time, or interpreted, changed, modified, or applied adversely to us, any of which could adversely affect our business operations and financial performance. In particular, presidential and congressional elections in the United States could result in significant changes in, and uncertainty with respect to, tax legislation, regulation, and government policy directly affecting our business or indirectly affecting us because of impacts on our customers, suppliers, and manufacturers. For example, the U.S. government may enact significant changes to the taxation of business entities including, among others, a permanent increase in the corporate income tax rate and the imposition of minimum taxes or surtaxes on certain types of income. The likelihood of these changes being enacted or implemented is unclear. We are currently unable to predict whether such changes will occur and, if so, the ultimate impact on our business. To the extent that such changes have a negative impact on us, our suppliers, manufacturers, or our customers, including as a result of related uncertainty, these changes may adversely impact our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.
Our international operations may subject us to greater than anticipated tax liabilities.
The amount of taxes we pay in different jurisdictions depends on the application of the tax laws of various jurisdictions, including the United States, to our international business activities, tax rates, new or revised tax laws, or interpretations of tax laws and policies, and our ability to operate our business in a manner consistent with our corporate structure and intercompany arrangements. The taxing authorities of the jurisdictions in which we operate may challenge our methodologies for pricing intercompany transactions pursuant to our intercompany arrangements or disagree with our determinations as to the income and expenses attributable to specific jurisdictions. If such a challenge or disagreement were to occur, and our position was not sustained, we could be required to pay additional taxes, interest, and penalties, which could result in one-time tax charges, higher effective tax rates, reduced cash flows, and lower overall profitability of our operations. Our financial statements could fail to reflect adequate reserves to cover such a contingency. Similarly, a taxing authority could assert that we are subject to tax in a jurisdiction where we believe we have not established a taxable connection, often referred to as a “permanent establishment” under international tax treaties, and such an assertion, if successful, could increase our expected tax liability in one or more jurisdictions.
We could be required to collect additional sales taxes that may increase the costs our customers would have to pay for our products and adversely affect our results of operations.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 2018 in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., a state may impose sales tax collection obligations on certain retailers, including eCommerce companies, that lack any physical presence within such state. The Supreme Court’s Wayfair decision has removed a significant impediment to the enactment of laws imposing sales tax collection obligations on out-of-state eCommerce companies, and an increasing number of states have adopted such laws. Although we believe that we currently collect sales taxes in all states that require us to do so, a successful assertion by one or more states requiring us to collect sales taxes where we currently do not collect sales taxes, or to collect additional sales taxes in a state in which we currently collect sales taxes, could result in substantial tax liabilities (including penalties and interest). In addition, the imposition of additional sales tax collection obligations, whether for prior years or prospectively, could create additional administrative burdens for us, put us at a competitive disadvantage if similar obligations are not imposed on our competitors and decrease our future sales, which could have an adverse impact on our business and results of operations.
Our ability to use our net operating loss carryforwards may be limited.
We have incurred substantial net operating losses during our history. Subject to the limitations described below, unused net operating losses generally may carry forward to offset future taxable income if we achieve profitability in the future, unless such net operating losses expire under applicable tax laws. Under current law, unused U.S. federal net operating losses generated in tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, will not expire and may be carried forward indefinitely, but the deductibility of such federal net operating loss carryforwards in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2020, is limited to 80% of taxable income. It is uncertain if and to what extent various states will conform to current federal tax law. In addition, our ability to utilize our federal net operating carryforwards may be limited under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code. The limitations apply if we experience an “ownership change,” which is generally defined as a greater than 50 percentage point change (by value) in the ownership of our equity by certain stockholders or groups of stockholders over a rolling three-year period. Similar provisions of state tax
law may also apply to limit the use of our state net operating loss carryforwards. We have not yet completed a Section 382 analysis, and therefore, there can be no assurances that any previously experienced ownership changes have not materially limited our utilization of affected net operating loss carryforwards. Past or future changes in our stock ownership, including as a result of our initial public offering, some of which may be outside of our control, may have triggered or may trigger an ownership change that materially impacts our ability to utilize pre-change net operating loss carryforwards. In addition, there may be periods during which the use of net operating loss carryforwards is suspended or otherwise limited. Accordingly, our ability to use our net operating loss carryforwards to offset taxable income may be subject to such limitations or special rules that apply at the state level, which could adversely affect our results of operations.
Risks Related to Our Status as a Public Benefit Corporation and Certified B Corporation
Our status as a public benefit corporation may not result in the benefits that we anticipate.
We are a PBC under Delaware law. As a PBC, we are required to produce a public benefit and to operate in a responsible and sustainable manner, while balancing our stockholders’ pecuniary interests, the best interests of those materially affected by our conduct, and the specific public benefit of environmental conservation that is identified by our certificate of incorporation. While we believe our PBC status is meaningful to customers, brand, employees, and other business partners and that our public benefit of environmental conservation is of vital importance to our planet, there is no assurance that we will achieve our public benefit purpose or that the expected positive impact from being a PBC will be realized. Accordingly, being a PBC and complying with our related obligations could negatively impact our ability to provide the highest possible return to our stockholders.
As a PBC, we are required to provide our stockholders with a report at least biennially assessing our overall public benefit performance and our success in achieving our specific public benefit purpose. To the extent we are unable to provide this report in a timely manner, or if the report is not viewed favorably by our stockholders, parties doing business with us, regulators, or others because we are unable to report sufficient progress toward our public benefit or otherwise, our reputation and status as a PBC may be harmed, which could in turn have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
If our publicly reported certified B Corp score declines, or if we lose our certified B Corp status, our reputation could be harmed and our business could suffer.
While not required by Delaware law or the terms of our certificate of incorporation, we have elected to have our social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency assessed against the criteria established by an independent non-profit organization, B Lab, Inc., or B Lab. As a result of this assessment, we have been designated as a certified B Corp, which refers to a company that has been certified as meeting certain levels of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. The standards set for B Corp certification may change over time. Our continued certification is at the sole discretion of B Lab. We believe that our B Corp status strengthens our credibility and trust among our customers, employees and business partners as well as within our industry. Investors who are focused on ESG- and sustainability-related initiatives may also place importance on our status as a B Corp, as an independent assessment of our social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Any decline in our publicly reported B Corp score or change in our status, whether due to our choice or failure to meet the B Corp certification requirements, could create a perception that we are more focused on financial performance and no longer as committed to the values and standards shared by B Corps. This could harm our reputation and brand among customers, employees or business partners, which could harm our business and results of operations, and cause the stock price of our Class A common stock to decline.
Our directors have a fiduciary duty to consider not only our stockholders’ interests, but also our specific public benefit and the interests of other stakeholders affected by our conduct. If a conflict between such interests arises, there is no guarantee such a conflict would be resolved in favor of our stockholders.
While directors of traditional corporations are required to make decisions they believe to be in the best interests of their stockholders, directors of a PBC have a fiduciary duty to balance the stockholders’ pecuniary interests, the best interests of other stakeholders materially affected by the PBC’s conduct and the company’s specific public benefit. Under Delaware law, directors are shielded from liability for breach of these fiduciary obligations if they make informed and disinterested decisions that serve a rational purpose. Thus, our directors are not merely permitted, but obligated, to consider our specific public benefit and the interests of other stakeholders. In the event of a conflict between the financial interests of our stockholders and the interests of our specific public benefit or our other stakeholders, our directors are obligated to make informed and disinterested decisions that serve a rational purpose; thus, there is no guarantee that such a conflict would be resolved in favor of our stockholders’ financial interests. Accordingly, Delaware law and our PBC status could
result in our board of directors making decisions which are less financially lucrative for our stockholders in the short- and/or long-term if the public benefit and other stakeholder considerations are significant; this could harm our business, results of operations, and financial condition, which in turn could cause our stock price to decline.
As a public benefit corporation, our focus on a specific public benefit purpose and producing a positive effect for society may negatively influence our financial performance.
As a PBC, our board of directors has a duty to balance (1) the pecuniary interest of our stockholders, (2) the best interests of those materially affected by our conduct, and (3) the specific public benefit of environmental conservation identified in our certificate of incorporation. While we believe our public benefit designation and obligations will benefit our stockholders, in balancing these interests our board of directors may authorize and we may take actions that we believe will benefit environmental conservation or some or all of our stakeholders, even if those actions do not maximize our short- or medium-term financial results. While we believe that this designation and obligation will benefit the company given the importance to our long-term success of our commitment to environmental conservation, it could cause our board of directors to make decisions and take actions not in keeping with the short-term or more narrow interests of our stockholders. Any longer-term benefits that are intended by or expected from such decisions or actions may not materialize within the timeframe we expect or at all and such decisions or actions may have an immediate negative effect. For example, we may choose to revise our policies in ways that we believe will further promote environmental conservation and sustainability, even though such changes may be costly; we may take actions, such as building or contracting with suppliers and service providers who have state-of-the-art manufacturing and distribution facilities with technology and quality control mechanisms that exceed the applicable legal requirements and industry standards, even though these actions may be more costly than other alternatives; we may be influenced to pursue programs and opportunities to demonstrate our commitments to our planet, the environment and the communities in which we live and work; or in responding to a possible proposal to acquire the company, our board of directors may be influenced by the interests of our stakeholders, including our flock, our suppliers, vendors, and manufacturers, and our customers, any or all of whose interests may be different from the interests of our stockholders.
We may be unable or slow to realize the benefits we expect from actions taken to promote environmental conservation, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations, which in turn could cause our stock price to decline.
As a public benefit corporation, we may be subject to increased derivative litigation concerning our duty to balance stockholder and public benefit interests, the occurrence of which may have an adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.
As a PBC, our stockholders (if they, individually or collectively, own at least 2% of our outstanding capital stock or shares having at least $2 million in market value (whichever is less)) are entitled to file a derivative lawsuit claiming that our directors failed to balance stockholder and public benefit interests. Such derivative actions would be subject to the provision of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation requiring that, to the fullest extent permitted by law, such lawsuits be exclusively brought in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware or, if such court does not have subject matter jurisdiction thereof, the federal district court of the State of Delaware. Although traditional corporations are subject to other types of derivative actions brought by stockholders, this type of claim does not exist for traditional corporations. Therefore, we may be subject to the possibility of increased derivative litigation, which would require the attention of management and, as a result, may adversely impact management’s ability to effectively execute our strategy. Any such derivative litigation could be costly and have an adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Class A Common Stock
The market price of our Class A common stock may decline regardless of our operating performance, resulting in substantial losses for investors purchasing shares of our Class A common stock.
The market price of our Class A common stock may fluctuate significantly in response to numerous factors, many of which are beyond our control, including:
•actual or anticipated fluctuations in our financial condition and results of operations;
•the financial projections we may provide to the public, any changes in these projections, or our failure to meet these projections;
•failure of securities analysts to initiate or maintain coverage of our company, changes in financial estimates or ratings by any securities analysts who follow our company, or our failure to meet these estimates or the expectations of investors;
•announcements by us or our competitors of significant technical innovations, acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures, results of operations, or capital commitments;
•changes in stock market valuations and operating performance of other footwear and apparel companies generally, or those in our industry in particular;
•the sustainability targets we may provide to the public, any changes in these targets, or our failure to meet them;
•price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market, including as a result of trends in the economy as a whole;
•changes in our board of directors or management;
•sales of large blocks of our Class A common stock, including sales by our co-founders and co-Chief Executive Officers or our other executive officers and directors or by their affiliates;
•lawsuits threatened or filed against us;
•anticipated or actual changes in laws, regulations, or government policies applicable to our business;
•changes in our capital structure, such as future issuances of debt or equity securities;
•short sales, hedging, and other derivative transactions involving our capital stock;
•general economic conditions in the United States and globally;
•other events or factors, including those resulting from war, pandemics (including COVID-19), incidents of terrorism, or responses to these events; and
•the other factors described in this “Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors” and in the section titled “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
The stock market has recently experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations. The market prices of securities of companies have experienced fluctuations that often have been unrelated or disproportionate to their results of operations. Market fluctuations could result in extreme volatility in the price of shares of our Class A common stock. Price volatility may be greater if the public float and trading volume of shares of our Class A common stock is low. Furthermore, in the past, stockholders have sometimes instituted securities class action litigation against companies following periods of volatility in the market price of their securities. Any similar litigation against us could result in substantial costs, divert management’s attention and resources, and harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
The dual class structure of our common stock may adversely affect the trading market for our Class A common stock.
We cannot predict whether our dual class structure will result in a lower or more volatile market price of our Class A common stock or in adverse publicity or other adverse consequences. For example, certain index providers have announced restrictions on including companies with dual class or multi-class share structures in certain of their indexes. In July 2017, S&P Dow Jones and FTSE Russell announced changes to their eligibility criteria for the inclusion of shares of public companies on certain indices, including the Russell 2000, the S&P 500, the S&P MidCap 400, and the S&P SmallCap 600, to exclude companies with multiple classes of shares of common stock from being added to these indices. As a result, our dual class capital structure would make us ineligible for inclusion in any of these indices, and mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and other investment vehicles that attempt to passively track these indices will not be investing in our stock. Beginning in 2017, MSCI, a leading stock index provider, opened public consultations on their treatment of no-vote and multi-class structures and temporarily barred new multi-class listings from certain of its indices; however, in October 2018, MSCI announced its decision to include equity securities “with unequal voting structures” in its indices and to launch a new index that specifically includes voting rights in its eligibility criteria. These policies are still fairly new, and it remains unclear what effect, if any, they will have on the valuations of publicly traded companies excluded from the indices in the longer term, but it is possible that they may depress these valuations compared to those of other similar companies that are included. Furthermore, we cannot assure you that other stock indices will not take a similar approach to S&P Dow Jones or
FTSE Russell in the future. Exclusion from indices could make our Class A common stock less attractive to investors and, as a result, the market price of our Class A common stock could be adversely affected.
Sales, directly or indirectly, of a substantial amount of our Class A common stock in the public markets by our existing security holders may cause the price of our Class A common stock to decline.
Sales of a substantial number of shares of our Class A common stock into the public market, particularly sales by our directors, executive officers, and principal stockholders, or the perception that these sales might occur, could cause the market price of our Class A common stock to decline. Many of our existing security holders have substantial unrecognized gains on the value of the equity they hold and may take steps to sell their shares or otherwise secure or limit their risk exposure to the value of their unrecognized gains on those shares. We are unable to predict the timing or effect of such sales on the market price of our Class A common stock.
All of the shares of Class A common stock sold in our initial public offering are freely tradable without restrictions or further registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, except that any shares held by our affiliates, as defined in Rule 144 under the Securities Act, are only be able to be sold in compliance with Rule 144. Sales of a substantial number of such shares, or the perception that such sales may occur, could cause our market price to fall.
In addition, as of December 31, 2021, we had stock options outstanding that, if fully exercised, would result in the issuance of 16,278,592 shares of Class B common stock and 189,342 shares of Class A common stock. All of the shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of outstanding stock options, and the 17,211,219 shares of Class A common stock reserved and available for future issuance under our 2021 Equity Incentive Plan and 2021 Employee Stock Purchase Plan, are registered for public resale under the Securities Act. Accordingly, these shares will be able to be freely sold in the public market upon issuance subject to applicable vesting requirements.
Further, based on shares outstanding as of December 31, 2021, holders of up to 119,211,789 shares of our Class B common stock have rights, subject to certain conditions, to require us to file registration statements for the public resale of such shares or to include such shares in registration statements that we may file for us or other stockholders.
The dual class structure of our common stock has the effect of concentrating voting control with our co-founders and co-Chief Executive Officers, Timothy Brown and Joseph Zwillinger, our other executive officers and directors, our principal stockholders, and their respective affiliates, which limits or precludes the ability of our other stockholders to influence corporate matters, including the election of directors and the approval of any change of control transaction.
Our Class B common stock has 10 votes per share and our Class A common stock has one vote per share. Our co-founders and co-Chief Executive Officers, Mr. Brown and Mr. Zwillinger, our other executive officers and directors, our principal stockholders, and their respective affiliates beneficially own a significant percentage of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock.
These stockholders will have the ability to control the outcome of matters submitted to our stockholders for approval, including the election of our directors and the approval of any change of control transaction. This concentrated control will limit or preclude the ability of our other stockholders to influence corporate matters for the foreseeable future, including the election of directors, amendments of our organizational documents, and any merger, consolidation, sale of all or substantially all of our assets, or other major corporate transaction requiring stockholder approval. In addition, this may prevent or discourage unsolicited acquisition proposals or offers for our capital stock.
Future transfers by holders of Class B common stock will generally result in those shares converting to Class A common stock, subject to limited exceptions, such as certain transfers effected for estate planning purposes. The conversion of Class B common stock to Class A common stock will have the effect, over time, of increasing the relative voting power of those holders of Class B common stock who retain their shares in the long term.
We do not intend to pay dividends for the foreseeable future.
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our capital stock, and we do not intend to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. We expect to retain future earnings, if any, to fund the development and growth of our business. Any future determination to pay dividends on our capital stock will be at the discretion of our board of directors.
Additional stock issuances could result in significant dilution to our stockholders.
We may issue additional equity securities to raise capital, make acquisitions, or for a variety of other purposes. Additional issuances of our stock may be made pursuant to the exercise or conversion of new or existing convertible debt securities, warrants, stock options, or other equity incentive awards to new and existing service providers. Any such issuances will result in dilution to existing holders of our stock. We rely on equity-based compensation as an important tool in recruiting and retaining employees. The amount of dilution due to equity-based compensation of our employees and other additional issuances could be substantial.
Delaware law, our status as a public benefit corporation, and provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws could make a merger, tender offer, or proxy contest more difficult, limit attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management and depress the market price of our Class A common stock.
Provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws may discourage, delay or prevent a merger, acquisition or other change in control of us or tender offer that stockholders may consider favorable, including transactions in which stockholders might otherwise receive a premium for their shares. These provisions could also limit the price that investors might be willing to pay in the future for shares of our Class A common stock, thereby depressing the market price of our Class A common stock.
As a PBC, we may be less attractive as a takeover target than a traditional company. PBCs may also not be attractive targets for activists or hedge fund investors because new directors would still have to consider and give appropriate weight to the public benefit along with stockholder value, and stockholders can enforce this through derivative suits. Furthermore, by requiring the boards of directors of PBCs to consider additional constituencies other than maximizing stockholder value, Delaware PBC law could potentially make it easier for such a board to reject a hostile bid, even where the takeover would provide the greatest short-term financial yield to investors.
In addition, these provisions may frustrate or prevent any attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management. Because our board of directors is responsible for appointing the members of our management team, these provisions could in turn affect any attempt by our stockholders to replace current members of our management team. Among others, these provisions include those that:
•provide for a dual class common stock structure in which holders of our Class B common stock may have the ability to control the outcome of matters requiring stockholder approval, including the election of directors and significant corporate transactions, such as a merger or other sale of our company or its assets, even if they own significantly less than a majority of the outstanding shares of our common stock;
•restrict the forum for certain litigation against us to Delaware or the federal courts, as applicable;
•provide that our board of directors has the exclusive right to expand the size of our board of directors and to elect directors to fill a vacancy created by the expansion of our board of directors or the resignation, death or removal of a director, which prevents stockholders from being able to fill vacancies on our board of directors;
•divide our board of directors into three classes, Class I, Class II, and Class III, with each class serving staggered three-year terms, which may delay the ability of stockholders to change the membership of a majority of our board of directors;
•provide that a special meeting of stockholders may be called only by the chair of our board of directors, a chief executive officer, or our board of directors, which may delay the ability of our stockholders to force consideration of a proposal or to take action, including the removal of directors;
•prohibit cumulative voting in the election of directors, which limits the ability of minority stockholders to elect director candidates;
•provide that our board of directors may alter our amended and restated bylaws without obtaining stockholder approval;
•require the approval of holders of at least two-thirds of the voting power of the shares of capital stock entitled to vote at an election of directors to adopt, amend, or repeal our amended and restated bylaws or repeal the
provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation regarding the election and removal of directors;
•require the approval of holders of at least two-thirds of the voting power of the shares of capital stock entitled to vote at an election of directors to amend or repeal any provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation relating to our status as a PBC;
•require the approval of holders of at least two-thirds of the voting power of the shares of capital stock entitled to vote at an election of directors to merge or consolidate with or into another entity if, as a result of such merger or consolidation, the capital stock of Allbirds would become, or be converted into or exchanged for the right to receive, shares or other equity interests in a domestic or foreign corporation that is not a public benefit corporation or similar entity and the certificate of incorporation (or similar governing document) of which does not contain a public benefit provision identical to ours;
•require that stockholders must provide advance notice and additional disclosures in order to nominate individuals for election to our board of directors or to propose matters that can be acted upon at a stockholders’ meeting, which may discourage or deter a potential acquirer from conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect the acquirer’s own slate of directors or otherwise attempting to obtain control of our company; and
•authorize our board of directors to issue shares of preferred stock and to determine the terms of those shares, including preferences and voting rights, without stockholder approval, which could be used to significantly dilute the ownership of a hostile acquirer.
Moreover, because we are incorporated in Delaware, we are governed by the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, or DGCL, which generally prohibits a person who owns in excess of 15% of our outstanding voting stock from merging or combining with us for a period of three years after the date of the transaction in which the person acquired in excess of 15% of our outstanding voting stock, unless the merger or combination is approved in a prescribed manner.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the sole and exclusive forum for certain stockholder litigation matters and the U.S. federal district courts will be the exclusive forum for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, employees, or stockholders.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that, unless we otherwise consent in writing, (A) (1) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (2) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any current or former director, officer, other employee or stockholder of Allbirds to us or our stockholders, (3) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, or our amended and restated bylaws (as either may be amended or restated) or as to which the DGCL confers exclusive jurisdiction on the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware, or (4) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine of the law of the State of Delaware shall, to the fullest extent permitted by law, be exclusively brought in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware or, if such court does not have subject matter jurisdiction thereof, the federal district court of the State of Delaware; and (B) the federal district courts of the United States shall be the exclusive forum for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act. Section 22 of the Securities Act creates concurrent jurisdiction for federal and state courts over all such Securities Act actions, and thus both state and federal courts have jurisdiction to entertain such claims. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation includes the provision outlined in (B) to prevent having to litigate claims in multiple jurisdictions and the threat of inconsistent or contrary rulings by different courts, among other considerations. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the exclusive forum provision shall not apply to claims seeking to enforce any liability or duty created by the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or Exchange Act.
The choice of forum provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers, or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and our directors, officers, and other employees, although our stockholders will not be deemed to have waived our compliance with federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder. While the Delaware courts have determined that such choice of forum provisions are facially valid and several state trial courts have enforced such provisions and required that suits asserting Securities Act claims be filed in federal court, there is no guarantee that courts of appeal will affirm the enforceability of such provisions and a stockholder may nevertheless seek to bring a claim in a venue other than those designated in the exclusive forum provisions. In such instance, we would expect to vigorously assert the validity and enforceability of the exclusive forum provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation.
This may require significant additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions and there can be no assurance that the provisions will be enforced by a court in those other jurisdictions. If a court were to find either exclusive forum provision contained in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with litigating Securities Act claims in state court, or both state and federal court, which could harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring or holding any interest in shares of our capital stock shall be deemed to have notice of and consented to the forum provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation.
General Risk Factors
Our estimates of market opportunity and forecasts of market growth may prove to be inaccurate, and even if the market in which we compete achieves the forecasted growth, our business could fail to grow at similar rates, if at all.
Market opportunity estimates and growth forecasts, including those we have generated ourselves, are subject to significant uncertainty and are based on assumptions and estimates that may not prove to be accurate. The variables that go into the calculation of our market opportunity are subject to change over time, and there is no guarantee that any particular number or percentage of individuals covered by our market opportunity estimates will purchase our products at all or generate any particular level of revenue for us. Even if the market in which we compete meets the size estimates and growth forecasts, our business could fail to grow for a variety of reasons outside of our control, including competition in our industry. If any of these risks materialize, it could harm our business and prospects.
The requirements of being a public company may increase our costs, strain our resources, divert management’s attention, and affect our ability to attract and retain executive management and qualified board members.
As a public company, we are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, the listing standards of The Nasdaq Stock Market, and other applicable securities rules and regulations. We expect that the requirements of these rules and regulations will continue to increase our legal, accounting, and financial compliance costs, make some activities more difficult, time-consuming, and costly, and place significant strain on our personnel, systems, and resources. Furthermore, several members of our management team do not have prior experience in running a public company. For example, the Exchange Act requires, among other things, that we file annual, quarterly, and current reports with respect to our business and results of operations. As a result of the complexity involved in complying with the rules and regulations applicable to public companies, our management’s attention may be diverted from other business concerns, which could harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Although we have already hired additional employees to assist us in complying with these requirements, we may need to hire more employees in the future or engage outside consultants, which will increase our operating expenses.
In addition, changing laws, regulations, and standards relating to corporate governance and public disclosure are creating uncertainty for public companies, increasing legal and financial compliance costs, and making some activities more time-consuming. These laws, regulations, and standards are subject to varying interpretations, in many cases due to their lack of specificity, and, as a result, their application in practice may evolve over time as new guidance is provided by regulatory and governing bodies. This could result in continuing uncertainty regarding compliance matters and higher costs necessitated by ongoing revisions to disclosure and governance practices. We intend to invest substantial resources to comply with evolving laws, regulations, and standards, and this investment may result in increased general and administrative expenses and a diversion of management’s time and attention from business operations to compliance activities. If our efforts to comply with new laws, regulations, and standards differ from the activities intended by regulatory or governing bodies due to ambiguities related to their application and practice, regulatory authorities may initiate legal proceedings against us, and our business may be harmed. We also expect that being a public company that is subject to these new rules and regulations will make it more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain coverage. These factors could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified members of our board of directors, particularly members who can serve on our audit and compensation and leadership management committees, and qualified executive officers.
As a result of the disclosure obligations required of a public company, our business and financial condition is more visible than it was as a private company, which may result in an increased risk of threatened or actual litigation, including by competitors and other third parties. If such claims are successful, our business, financial condition, and results of operations would be harmed, and even if the claims do not result in litigation or are resolved in our favor, these claims, and the time and resources necessary to resolve them, would divert the resources of our management and harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
As a result of being a public company, we are obligated to develop and maintain proper and effective internal control over financial reporting, and any failure to maintain the adequacy of these internal controls may adversely affect investor confidence in our company and, as a result, the value of our Class A common stock.
We will be required, pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, or Section 404, to furnish a report by management on, among other things, the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting commencing with our second annual report on Form 10-K. This assessment will need to include disclosure of any material weaknesses identified by our management in our internal control over financial reporting. In addition, our independent registered public accounting firm will be required to attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting in our first annual report required to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, following the date we are no longer an “emerging growth company.” Our compliance with Section 404 will require that we incur substantial expenses and expend significant management efforts. We will need to hire additional accounting and financial staff with appropriate public company experience and technical accounting knowledge and compile the system and process documentation necessary to perform the evaluation needed to comply with Section 404.
During the evaluation and testing process of our internal controls, if we identify one or more material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, we will be unable to certify that our internal control over financial reporting is effective. We cannot assure you that there will not be material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting in the future. Any failure to maintain internal control over financial reporting could severely inhibit our ability to accurately report our financial condition or results of operations. If we are unable to conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, or if our independent registered public accounting firm determines we have a material weakness or significant deficiency in our internal control over financial reporting, we could lose investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, the market price of our Class A common stock could decline, and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the SEC or other regulatory authorities. Failure to remedy any material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, or to implement or maintain other effective control systems required of public companies, could also restrict our future access to the capital markets.
We are an “emerging growth company,” and we cannot be certain if the reduced reporting and disclosure requirements applicable to emerging growth companies will make our Class A common stock less attractive to investors.
We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or JOBS Act, and we may take advantage of certain exemptions from reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not “emerging growth companies,” including the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, and exemptions from the requirements of holding a non-binding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. Pursuant to Section 107 of the JOBS Act, as an emerging growth company, we have elected to use the extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards until those standards would otherwise apply to private companies. As a result, our consolidated financial statements may not be comparable to the financial statements of issuers who are required to comply with the effective dates for new or revised accounting standards that are applicable to public companies, which may make our Class A common stock less attractive to investors. In addition, if we cease to be an emerging growth company, we will no longer be able to use the extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards.
We will remain an emerging growth company until the earliest of: (1) December 31, 2026, the last day of the fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of our initial public offering; (2) the last day of the first fiscal year in which our annual gross revenue is $1.07 billion or more; (3) the date on which we have, during the previous rolling three-year period, issued more than $1 billion in non-convertible debt securities; and (4) the date we qualify as a “large accelerated filer,” with at least $700 million of equity securities held by non-affiliates.
We cannot predict if investors will find our Class A common stock less attractive if we choose to rely on these exemptions. For example, if we do not adopt a new or revised accounting standard, our future results of operations may not be comparable to the results of operations of certain other companies in our industry that adopted such standards. If some investors find our Class A common stock less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our Class A common stock, and our stock price may be more volatile.
If securities or industry analysts do not publish research, or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research, about our business, the price of our Class A common stock and trading volume could decline.
The trading market for our Class A common stock depends in part on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business, our market and our competitors. We do not have any control over these
analysts. If few securities analysts commence coverage of us, or if industry analysts cease coverage of us, the trading price for our Class A common stock would be negatively affected. If one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade our Class A common stock or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, our Class A common stock price would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of us or fail to publish reports on us regularly, demand for our Class A common stock could decrease, which might cause our Class A common stock price and trading volume to decline.
We may incur losses from fraud or theft.
We have occasionally in the past incurred and may in the future incur losses from various types of fraud, including stolen credit card numbers, claims that a customer did not authorize a purchase, and merchant fraud. As a general matter, we are liable for fraudulent credit card transactions. Although we have measures in place to detect and reduce the occurrence of fraudulent activity on our digital platform, those measures may not always be effective. In addition to the direct costs of such losses, if the fraud is related to credit card transactions and becomes excessive, it could potentially result in us paying higher fees or affecting our ability to accept credit cards for payment. Our failure to adequately prevent fraudulent transactions could damage our reputation, result in litigation or regulatory action, and lead to expenses that could substantially impact our results of operations.
Additionally, we have occasionally in the past been, and may in the future be, subject to fraudulent purchases by individuals purchasing our products in bulk with the intention of unlawfully reselling such products at a premium. While we have taken steps to detect and prevent such practices, our failure to identify those activities may adversely affect our brand and reputation.
We have occasionally in the past incurred and may in the future incur losses from theft or “leakage” of our products in our stores or in our distribution centers. While we have taken steps to detect and prevent such issues, those steps may not always be effective. In addition to the direct costs of such losses, such theft or “leakage” of our products could result in lost revenue and unlawful reselling of our products, which could adversely affect our brand and reputation.
If our estimates or judgments relating to our critical accounting policies prove to be incorrect, our results of operations could be adversely affected.
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in our consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes appearing in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances, as provided in the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Critical Accounting Estimates” in Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The results of these estimates form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets, liabilities, and equity, and the amount of revenue and expenses. Significant estimates and judgments involve: revenue recognition, stock-based compensation, and the fair value of our common stock. Our results of operations may be adversely affected if our assumptions change or if actual circumstances differ from those in our assumptions, which could cause our results of operations to fall below the expectations of securities analysts and investors, resulting in a decline in the market price of our Class A common stock.
We may be subject to periodic claims and litigation that could result in unexpected expenses and could ultimately be resolved against us.
From time to time, we may be involved in litigation and other proceedings, including matters related to product liability claims, stockholder class action and derivative claims, commercial disputes, and copyright infringement, challenging trademarks, and other intellectual property claims, as well as trade, regulatory, employment, and other claims related to our business or our sustainability and ESG practices, statements, and goals. Any of these proceedings could result in significant settlement amounts, damages, fines, or other penalties, divert financial and management resources, and result in significant legal fees. An unfavorable outcome of any particular proceeding could exceed the limits of our insurance policies or the carriers may decline to fund such final settlements and/or judgments and could have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. In addition, any proceeding could negatively impact our reputation among our customer and our brand image.
Extreme weather conditions, natural disasters, political crises and instability, and other catastrophic events, including those caused by climate change, could negatively impact our results of operations and financial condition.
Extreme weather conditions and volatile changes in weather conditions in the areas in which our offices, retail stores, suppliers, customers, distribution centers, and vendors are located could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. Moreover, natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, monsoons or wildfires, public health crises, such as pandemics and epidemics (including, for example, the COVID-19 pandemic), political crises, such as terrorist attacks, war and other political instability, or other catastrophic events, whether occurring in the United States or abroad, and their related consequences and effects, including energy shortages, could disrupt our operations, the operations of our vendors and other suppliers, or result in economic instability that could negatively impact customer spending, any or all of which would negatively impact our results of operations and financial condition. For example, our principal offices are located in Northern California, an area which has a history of earthquakes and wildfires, and are thus vulnerable to damage or disruption. In particular, these types of events could impact our global supply chain, including the ability of vendors to provide raw materials where and when needed, the ability of third parties to manufacture and ship merchandise, and our ability to ship products to customers from or to the impacted region(s).
In February 2022, armed conflict escalated between Russia and Ukraine. The sanctions announced by the United States and other countries against Russia following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to date include restrictions on selling or importing goods, services, or technology in or from affected regions and travel bans and asset freezes impacting connected individuals and political, military, business, and financial organizations in Russia. The United States and other countries could impose wider sanctions and take other actions should the conflict further escalate. Although we do not currently do business in either Russia or Ukraine, it is not possible to predict the broader consequences of this conflict, which could include further sanctions, embargoes, regional instability, geopolitical shifts, and adverse effects on macroeconomic conditions, currency exchange rates, and financial markets, all of which could impact our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
We may require additional capital to support business growth, and this capital might be unavailable or might be available only by diluting existing stockholders.
We intend to continue making investments to support our business growth and may require additional funds to support this growth. Our future capital requirements will depend on many factors, including our rate of revenue growth, the timing and extent of international expansion efforts and other growth initiatives, the expansion of our marketing activities and overall economic conditions. To the extent that current and anticipated future sources of liquidity are insufficient to fund our future business activities and requirements, we may need to engage in equity or debt financings to secure additional funds. If we raise additional funds through further issuances of equity or convertible debt securities, our existing stockholders could suffer significant dilution, and any new equity securities we issue could have rights, preferences and privileges superior to those of holders of our Class A common stock. Any debt financing secured by us in the future could involve restrictive covenants relating to our capital raising activities and other financial and operational matters, which may make it more difficult for us to obtain additional capital and to pursue business opportunities. In addition, we may not be able to obtain additional financing on terms favorable to us, if at all. If we are unable to obtain adequate financing or financing on terms satisfactory to us, when we require it, our ability to continue to support our business growth and to respond to business challenges could be significantly limited, and our business and prospects could fail or be adversely affected.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
Our corporate headquarters is located in San Francisco, California, where we lease approximately 6,000 square feet of space under a lease that expires in December 2026, as well as 33,000 square feet of space under a lease that expires in December 2026. We designed, constructed, and currently use our corporate headquarters for product design and development, innovation around sustainable materials, operations, marketing, technology, and customer experience, as well as our other supporting teams. In addition to our corporate headquarters, we have satellite office locations in San Diego, London, Shanghai, Tokyo, Vietnam, and Seoul where we lease or have co-working arrangements that total approximately 16,000 square feet of office space. All of our offices are leased, and we do not own any real property.
As of December 31, 2021, we also leased property in the following countries around the world that serve as our 35 retail locations, totaling approximately 112,000 square feet, as set forth below.
|City / Area||# of Stores|
While we believe that our current facilities are adequate to meet our foreseeable needs, we intend to expand our facilities in the future as we continue to add employees around the world. We believe that suitable additional or alternative space will be available to accommodate our future growth.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
From time to time, we may be subject to legal proceedings, claims, and government investigations in the ordinary course of business. We are not presently a party to any legal proceedings that, if determined adversely to us, would individually or taken together have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, or cash flows. We have received, and may in the future continue to receive, claims arising from: our products, such as consumer claims and personal injury claims; our workforce, our technology, and business processes, such as worker classification and patent claims; our sustainability and ESG practices, statements, and goals; and our intellectual property, such as trademarks and copyright infringement claims. The results of any current or future litigation cannot be predicted with certainty, and regardless of the outcome, litigation can have an adverse impact on us because of defense and settlement costs, diversion of management resources, harm to our brand and reputation, and other factors.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Market Price of Our Class A Common Stock
Our Class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per share, is listed on The Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol “BIRD” and began trading on November 3, 2021. Prior to that date, there was no public trading market for our Class A common stock.
Holders of Record
As of February 28, 2022, we had 102 holders of record of our Class A common stock and 35 holders of record of our Class B common stock. Because many of our shares of Class A common stock are held in street name by brokers and other nominees on behalf of stockholders, we are unable to estimate the total number of beneficial owners of our Class A common stock represented by these holders of record.
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our capital stock, and we do not intend to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. We expect to retain future earnings, if any, to fund the development and growth of our business. Any future determination to pay dividends on our capital stock will be at the discretion of our board of directors.
Securities Authorized for Issuance under Equity Compensation Plans
See the section titled “Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters” for information regarding securities authorized for issuance.
Stock Performance Graph
This performance graph shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the SEC, for purposes of Section 18 of the Exchange Act, or otherwise subject to the liabilities under that Section, and shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any of our filings under the Securities Act.
The following graph compares (i) the cumulative total stockholder return on our Class A common stock from November 3, 2021 (the date our Class A common stock commenced trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market) through December 31, 2021 with (ii) the cumulative total return of the Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500 Index and the Nasdaq Composite Index over the same period, assuming the investment of $100 in our Class A common stock and in both of the other indices on November 3, 2021 and the reinvestment of dividends. The graph uses the closing market price on November 3, 2021 of $28.89 per share as the initial value of our Class A common stock. As discussed above, we have never declared or paid a cash dividend on our Class A common stock and do not anticipate declaring or paying a cash dividend in the foreseeable future.
Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities
From October 1, 2021 to November 3, 2021 (the date of filing of our registration statement on Form S-8, File No. 333-260696), we issued and sold to certain directors, officers, employees, consultants, and other service providers an aggregate of 53,443 shares of our Class B common stock upon the exercise of options under our 2015 Equity Incentive Plan at exercise prices ranging from $3.87 to $4.34 per share, for aggregate cash consideration of approximately $218,305.
On October 4, 2021, we issued 430,335 shares of our Class B common stock to a warrant holder upon the cash exercise of a warrant with an exercise price of $0.095 per share, for aggregate consideration of less than $0.1 million.
On October 13, 2021, we issued 284,630 shares of our Class B common stock to a warrant holder upon the cashless net exercise of a total of 286,890 warrants, each with an exercise price per share of $0.095.
On November 5, 2021, upon the closing of our initial public offering, we issued 1,104,560 shares of our Class B common stock upon the automatic exchange of convertible warrants to purchase 1,104,560 shares of preferred stock.
On November 9, 2021, we issued 157,105 shares of our Class B common stock to a warrant holder upon the cashless net exercise of a total of 157,580 warrants, each with an exercise price of $0.074.
The foregoing transactions did not involve any underwriters, any underwriting discounts or commissions, or any public offering. We believe the offers, sales, and issuances of the above securities were exempt from registration under the Securities Act by virtue of Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act (or Regulation D or Regulation S promulgated thereunder), because the issuance of securities to the recipient did not involve a public offering, or in reliance on Rule 701 because the transactions were pursuant to compensatory benefit plans or contracts relating to compensation as provided under such rule. The recipients of the securities in each of these transactions represented their intentions to acquire the securities for investment only and not with a view to or for sale in connection with any distribution thereof. All recipients had adequate access, through their relationships with us or otherwise, to information about us. The issuances of these securities were made without any general solicitation or advertising.
Use of Proceeds
On November 2, 2021, the registration statement on Form S-1 (Registration No. 333-259188) for our initial public offering, or IPO, of our Class A common stock was declared effective by the SEC. On November 5, 2021, we closed our IPO and 23,221,152 shares of our Class A common stock were issued and sold at a public offering price of $15.00 per share, inclusive of the exercise in full by the underwriters of their option to purchase up to an additional 3,028,845 shares of Class A common stock. The shares of Class A common stock sold consisted of 16,850,799 shares offered by us and 6,370,353 shares offered by certain existing stockholders, for an aggregate price of approximately $348.3 million. We received approximately $252.8 million in offering proceeds before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and offering expenses, and the selling stockholders received approximately $95.6 million in offering proceeds before deducting underwriting discounts and offering expenses. We did not receive any proceeds from the sale of shares of our Class A common stock by the selling stockholders. Upon completion of the sales of the shares of our Class A common stock, our IPO terminated.
The underwriters of our IPO were Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC; J.P. Morgan Securities LLC; BofA Securities, Inc.; Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated; William Blair & Company, L.L.C.; Piper Sandler & Co.; Cowen and Company, LLC; Guggenheim Securities, LLC; KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc.; Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated; Telsey Advisory Group LLC; C.L. King & Associates, Inc.; Drexel Hamilton, LLC; Loop Capital Markets LLC; Penserra Securities LLC; Samuel A. Ramirez & Company, Inc.; and Siebert Williams Shank & Co., LLC. We paid the underwriters of our IPO underwriting discounts and commissions totaling $15.8 million and incurred approximately $5.4 million in offering costs. Thus, our net offering proceeds, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and offering expenses, were approximately $232 million. Other than the proceeds payable directly to the selling stockholders, no payments were made to our directors or officers or their associates, holders of 10% or more of any class of our equity securities, or any affiliates.
There has been no material change in the planned use of proceeds from our IPO as described in our final prospectus filed with the SEC on November 4, 2021 pursuant to Rule 424(b)(4).
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Item 6. [Reserved]
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and related notes appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. As discussed in the section titled “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements,” the following discussion and analysis contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions that, if they never materialize or prove incorrect, could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those identified below, and those discussed in the section titled “Risk Factors” included under Part I, Item 1A, above.
Allbirds is a global lifestyle brand that innovates with naturally derived materials to make better footwear and apparel products in a better way, while treading lighter on our planet.
We began our journey in 2015 with three fundamental beliefs about the emerging generation of consumers: first, these consumers recognize that climate change is an existential threat to the human race; second, these consumers connect their purchase decisions with their impact on the planet, demanding more from businesses; and third, these consumers do not want to compromise between looking good, feeling good, and doing good. We became a public benefit corporation, or PBC, under Delaware law and earned our B Corporation, or B Corp, certification in 2016, codifying how we take into account the impact our actions have on all of our stakeholders, including the environment, our flock of employees, communities, consumers, and investors. We have achieved our rapid growth through a digitally-led vertical retail distribution strategy. We market directly to consumers via our localized multilingual digital platform and our physical footprint of 35 stores as of December 31, 2021. By serving consumers directly, we cut out the layers of costs associated with traditional wholesalers, creating a more efficient cost structure and higher gross margin. Our direct distribution model allows us to control our sales channels and build deep relationships with our customers by delivering high-quality products
through a seamless and immersive brand experience, whether shopping on our website, on our app, or in one of our Allbirds stores. We believe our differentiated vertical retail model enables a margin structure that allows us to provide high-quality material and product while pricing lower compared to a traditional wholesale model. Designing and creating innovative, sustainable materials is a challenging process for both our internal R&D teams as well as our supply chain partners. We have invested time and resources to train our manufacturers to use our natural materials, which we believe makes it difficult to replicate our novel manufacturing processes at our product quality.
Today, we are a high-growth company with a loyal and expanding customer base that has earned our brand the permission to expand beyond our casual footwear origins and enter adjacent categories, such as performance running shoes and apparel. Our strong brand equity is fueled by our differentiated products created by sustainability-driven innovation. Our purpose and mission, coupled with innovation and a vertically integrated business model, allow us to meet the call of our consumers across the globe.
Initial Public Offering
On November 2, 2021, we priced our initial public offering, or IPO, and our Class A common stock began trading on The Nasdaq Global Select Market on November 3, 2021 under the symbol “BIRD.” In connection with the completion of the IPO on November 5, 2021, 23,221,152 shares of our Class A common stock were issued and sold at a public offering price of $15.00 per share, which consisted of 16,850,799 shares offered by us and 6,370,353 shares offered by certain existing stockholders. We received aggregate proceeds of $237.0 million from the IPO, net of the underwriting discounts and commissions of $15.8 million and before offering costs of $5.4 million. We did not receive any proceeds from the sale of shares of our Class A common stock by the selling stockholders.
Recent Financial Performance
•We achieved 26.5% year-over-year net revenue growth in 2021 compared to 2020 and 13.2% year-over-year net revenue growth in 2020 compared to 2019.
•We increased gross margin by 145 basis points from 51.4% in 2020 to 52.9% in 2021 due to favorable channel and geography mix, sales of higher gross margin products, a modest price increase in certain of our products, and cost savings through achieving economies of scale with manufacturers and key service providers, partially offset by higher warehouse and logistics costs.
•We reported net losses of $(45.4) million in 2021 as compared to $(25.9) million in 2020. The increase in net loss was primarily due to higher selling, general, and administrative expense and increased other expense.
•We reported adjusted EBITDA of $(11.7) million and $(15.4) million in 2021 and 2020, respectively. The increase in adjusted EBITDA, despite the increase in net loss, was primarily driven by increases in other expense, stock-based compensation, and the provision for income tax, partially offset by $4.0 million in additional expenses as a result of becoming a public company.
Adjusted EBITDA is a measure that is not calculated in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States, or GAAP. See the section titled “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” further below for the definition of adjusted EBITDA, as well as a reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA to net loss, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure.
Key Factors Affecting Our Performance
Our financial and operating conditions have been, and will continue to be, affected by a number of factors, including the following:
Ability to Increase Brand Awareness and Drive Efficient Customer Acquisition
The ability to communicate our mission of making better things in a better way is integral to our success in engaging new customers and introducing them to our products and brand. Allbirds is still relatively unknown, underscoring a large opportunity to scale our customer base and drive future growth. Our continued focus on elevating our product offerings combined with our differentiated brand approach and authenticity is critical to attracting new customers and increasing closet share. Further, we must continue to emphasize our commitment to people, the planet, and our investors in order to further increase our reach and highlight the integrity of our brand.
As we continue to scale and build our global brand awareness, our goal is to acquire new customers in a cost-effective way. We will continue to invest in customer acquisition while the underlying customer unit economics indicate the return on investment is strong. The continued execution of our customer acquisition strategy is key to acquiring more customers and driving growth and profitability for our business. Our ability to acquire more customers depends significantly on a number of factors, including the level and pattern of consumer spending in the product categories in which we operate and our ability to expand our brand awareness. Starting in 2022, we will selectively enter into retail partnerships with third parties to distribute our products on a limited basis, in an effort to build brand awareness and establish greater customer credibility in the market for our performance products.
Continued Growth Within Existing Customer Base and Increasing Closet Share
In addition to seeking to acquire new customers, we continuously seek ways to engage with our large and growing base of over four million existing customers. We aim to grow our closet share within our existing customer base, especially as we expand into new product categories and line extensions. We believe we must continue to innovate with new products in order to drive consumer engagement, increase closet share, and expand beyond the footwear category to move up the body with apparel. At the same time, it is critical that we maintain our long-trusted commitment to offering the most comfortable, high performance, and sustainable products. Our continued growth within our existing customer base will depend in part on our ability to continue to innovate with new products appealing to our existing customers.
Execution of Our Vertical Retail Distribution Strategy and Continued Growth of Our Store Fleet
Our long-term growth strategy relies on our ability to grow across various channels, including digitally and in our stores. We believe this seamless consumer buying experience is important to meeting the needs of our growing customer base while also growing revenue.
We believe that growing our store footprint in the United States and internationally will help grow brand awareness, allow us to be in closer proximity to new customers, and drive profitable growth. With strong pre-COVID-19 store unit economics, our store operations have historically been highly profitable, capital-efficient, and provided strong investment returns. Beginning in 2020, our retail operations were disrupted by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We expect our stores to rebound to pre-COVID levels over time following the broader reopening of the economy. Based on this pre-COVID performance, we believe our new stores will be highly profitable, have attractive payback periods, serve as good capital investments, and be positioned well to take advantage of physical retail’s recovery from the pandemic. We also expect net revenue and gross margin to benefit from increased sales through our physical retail channel, which benefits from a lower return rate and decreased shipping costs. We have also seen a corresponding increase in digital traffic and digital sales as a result of store builds in new markets. Furthermore, as we grow our store footprint, we believe we will be able to expand our valuable multi-channel customer base.
We believe our omni-channel growth strategy will continue to require investment in store build outs, field infrastructure and technology to ensure that our model reaches new customers, runs in a cost-efficient manner, and provides continued innovation in the customer buying experience. Our store count by primary geographical market is presented in the table below, as of the dates presented:
|Store Count by Primary Geographical Market|
|December 31, 2019||March 31, 2020||June 30, 2020||September 30, 2020||December 31, 2020||March 31, 2021||June 30, 2021||September 30, 2021||December 31, 2021|
|United States||7 ||9 ||10 ||11 ||12 ||12 ||15 ||19 ||23 |
|International||7 ||9 ||10 ||10 ||10 ||10 ||12 ||12 ||12 |
|Total||14 ||18 ||20 ||21 ||22 ||22 ||27 ||31 ||35 |
Growing Our Product Innovation Platform
Innovation has been core to the Allbirds brand since our inception in 2015. Our future innovation and product pipeline will depend, in part, on our ability to apply our expertise in materials science to source and commercialize materials that are sustainable, durable, and comfortable. Our success in leveraging these materials in our products is partially reliant on the ability of our manufacturing and supply chain partners to produce and distribute these materials at scale. It also takes months of testing before we commercialize new materials and products, which could cause delays in our existing growth
plans. In addition, these initiatives may require ongoing investments which may lead to additional expenses that could delay our ability to achieve near-term profitability.
Ability to Scale Infrastructure for Profitable Growth
To grow our business, we intend to continue to improve our operational efficiency and thoughtfully optimize our infrastructure. Our ability to scale relies upon our supply chain infrastructure. Our investments in direct and meaningful relationships with all of our partners, from raw materials suppliers to Tier 1 manufacturers and logistics providers, allowed us to improve gross margin despite a difficult cost climate due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing supply chain shortages and delays, and increase in inflation. We will continue to make similar investments in developing partnerships across the full supply chain. Most importantly, we are firmly committed to reducing our carbon footprint and our environmental impact. This commitment may require current and future investments, which may result in higher expenses.
Consumers are increasingly becoming more conscious of the products they purchase and are seeking brands that are responsible and purpose-driven. Consumers’ increasing care in the products and brands they trust have contributed to significant demand for our products. Our status as a PBC and a B Corp highlight our commitment to sustainability and our purpose while providing an objective reference point for consumers. As a purpose-native company, we believe we are well-positioned at the intersection of key macro trends impacting our industry. However, changes in macro-level consumer spending trends, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and increase in inflation, could result in fluctuations in our results of operations. For example, in August 2021, we implemented a slight price increase in certain of our products, and we expect to have further price increases in 2022. It is uncertain if we will have to consider additional future price increases in our products as a result of increases in the cost of raw materials and supplies, partially due to the current inflationary environment. If we continue increasing the prices of our products, this may adversely impact demand for our products by our customers.
Our business is affected by general seasonal trends common to the retail footwear and apparel industry, with sales peaking during the end-of-year holiday period that typically falls within our fourth quarter.
Impact of COVID-19
Beginning in January 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused general business disruption worldwide. Nevertheless, we have remained agile in both strategy and execution throughout this period and our results to date have reflected these efforts, as evidenced below. The possible sustained spread or resurgence of the pandemic, and any government response thereto, increases the uncertainty regarding future economic conditions that will impact our business in the future. See the section titled “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business, Brand, Products, and Industry—The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and may in the future continue to have, a material adverse impact on our business” in Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors, for further details.
Despite the challenging backdrop for the footwear category, our sales for the year ended December 31, 2021 increased by 26.5% compared to 2020, which is more than double our sales growth of 13.2% for the year ended December 31, 2020 as compared to 2019.
Store Closures and Limited Operating Hours
The COVID-19 pandemic created significant disruptions for our physical stores, the majority of which were closed between late March 2020 and July 2020. Across all of 2020, our stores were closed for approximately 20% of the total number of days we expected to operate, and our open stores had reduced operating hours and restricted guest occupancy levels. In 2021, a majority of our stores were open throughout the year, with certain regions experiencing closures on a periodic basis, such as Europe, where some of our stores were closed for a portion of the quarter ended March 31, 2021, and New Zealand, where our store was closed for a portion of the quarter ended December 31, 2021.We have also occasionally closed stores for a few days at a time when an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, our decision to support our retail employees through the pandemic and store closures created significant strains on operating margins during the period.
As a digitally-native brand, we were able to avoid massive disruptions to our business performance through the pandemic due to the strength of our digitally-led vertical retail strategy, but the performance of our retail stores same-store sales in the year ended December 31, 2021 remained below 2019 performance for the same period. We resumed our store rollout strategy in 2021, opening 13 new stores in both U.S. and international locations.
Despite headwinds in manufacturing, shipping, and logistics, we were able to expand our gross margin by approximately 145 basis points for the year ended December 31, 2021, as compared to the same period in 2020, driven by favorable channel and geography mix, sales of higher gross margin products such as apparel, a modest price increase in certain of our products, and cost savings through achieving economies of scale with manufacturers and key service providers, partially offset by higher warehouse and logistics costs.
This expansion highlights our business’ resiliency and flexibility. We believe that as we continue to scale, our upfront investments in materials science and sustainable manufacturing processes will result in greater economies of scale which will ultimately improve our gross profitability.
Despite volatile sourcing and logistics headwinds as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and global supply chain shortages and delays, we were able to continue our innovation cycle without material delays by launching several new product styles during the year ended December 31, 2021. We debuted our performance apparel line in August 2021, expanded our lifestyle apparel line in November 2021, and introduced new shoes, such as the Sugar Rover, Wool Piper Mids, and Trail Runner SWT during the year. Our expanded performance and lifestyle lines also fit with growing consumer trends towards more comfortable, versatile products.
Components of Results of Operations
We generate net revenue primarily through sales of our products in our directly owned digital and physical retail channels. The digital channel includes direct sales to consumers through our websites and mobile app, and the physical retail channel includes sales through our owned stores. As of December 31, 2021 and 2020, a majority of our sales are through directly owned channels. Net revenue consists of sales of our products and shipping revenue, net of allowances for returns, discounts, and any taxes collected from customers.
Cost of Revenue
Cost of revenue consists primarily of the cost of purchased inventory, inbound and outbound shipping costs, import duties, and distribution center and related equipment costs. Shipping costs to receive products from our suppliers are included in the cost of inventory and recognized as cost of revenue upon sale of products to our customers.
Gross Profit and Gross Margin
Gross profit represents net revenue less cost of revenue. Gross margin is gross profit expressed as a percentage of net revenue. Our gross margin may in the future fluctuate from period to period based on a number of factors, including business outcomes, the mix of products we sell, the channels through which we sell our products, price increases, the innovation initiatives we undertake in each product category, cost drivers, such as product promotions, commodity prices and transportation rates, and manufacturing costs, among other factors. Our expectation is that the combination of our strategy and growth initiatives will result in both a topline expansion and operational leverage, leading to a strong gross margin profile.
Selling, general, and administrative expense
Selling, general, and administrative expense consists of salaries, stock-based compensation, benefits, payroll taxes, bonuses, and other related costs, which we refer to as personnel and related expenses (including for store employees), as well as third-party consulting and contractor expenses, including non-employee stock-based compensation. Selling, general, and administrative expense also includes rent expense and associated utilities for office and retail locations, depreciation and amortization expense, software costs, third-party professional fees, and costs related to other office
functions. We anticipate that we will incur additional costs for personnel and related expenses and third-party professional fees operating as a public company and expect our selling, general, and administrative expense to increase in absolute dollars as we continue to expand our business.
Marketing expense consists of advertising costs incurred to acquire new customers, retain existing customers, and build our brand awareness. We expect marketing expense to continue to increase in absolute dollars as we continue to expand our brand awareness, introduce new product innovations across multiple product categories, and implement new marketing strategies.
Interest expense primarily consists of interest expense associated with our credit agreement with JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., or the “Credit Agreement”.
Other expense consists of gains or losses on foreign currency driven by our international operations and changes in the fair value of our preferred stock warrant liability. The change in fair value related to mark to market accounting for our preferred stock warrant liability, and fluctuated as the value of the underlying preferred equity increased or decreased.
In November 2021, immediately prior to the completion of the IPO, and upon the issuance of shares of Class B common stock, pursuant to the terms of our outstanding convertible preferred stock warrants, our preferred stock warrants were automatically exchanged for Class B common stock on a one-to-one basis and the preferred stock warrant liability was reclassified to additional paid-in capital. Therefore, subsequent to November 2021, there will no longer be an impact to other expense as a result of changes in the fair value of the preferred stock warrant liability.
Income Tax (Provision) Benefit
Our provision for income taxes consists of U.S. federal and state income taxes and income taxes in certain foreign jurisdictions in which we conduct business. We record deferred tax assets and liabilities based on differences between the book and tax bases of assets and liabilities. The deferred tax assets and liabilities are calculated by applying enacted tax rates and laws to taxable years in which such differences are expected to reverse. Because we have a recent history of pre-tax book losses and are expected to be in a pre-tax book loss position in the near term, a valuation allowance was maintained against the deferred tax assets in the United States, China, Hong Kong, and Vietnam as of December 31, 2021.
Results of Operations
The following table sets forth our consolidated statements of operations data for each of the periods indicated:
|Year Ended December 31,|
|Consolidated Statements of Operations Data:|
|Net revenue||$||277,472 ||$||219,296 ||$||193,673 |
|Cost of revenue||130,810 ||106,555 ||94,839 |
|Gross profit||146,662 ||112,741 ||98,834 |
Selling, general, and administrative expense(1)(2)
|122,200 ||86,694 ||63,485 |
|Marketing expense||57,338 ||55,271 ||44,362 |
|Total operating expense||179,538 ||141,965 ||107,847 |
|Loss from operations||(32,876)||(29,224)||(9,013)|
|Loss before provision for income taxes||(44,560)||(29,973)||(10,852)|
|Income tax (provision) benefit||(810)||4,113 ||(3,675)|
|Other comprehensive loss:|
|Foreign currency translation (loss) gain||(1,290)||2,245 ||(37)|
|Total comprehensive loss||$||(46,660)||$||(23,615)||$||(14,564)|
(1)Includes stock-based compensation expense of $9.7 million, $6.6 million, and $4.2 million for the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020, and 2019, respectively.
(2)Includes depreciation and amortization expense of $9.8 million, $7.1 million, and $3.4 million for the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020, and 2019, respectively.
The following table sets forth our consolidated results of operations as a percentage of net revenue for the periods presented:
|Year Ended December 31,|
|Consolidated Statements of Operations Data, as a Percentage of Net Revenue:|
|Net revenue||100.0 ||%||100.0 ||%||100.0 ||%|
|Cost of revenue||47.1 ||%||48.6 ||%||49.0 ||%|
|Gross profit||52.9 ||%||51.4 ||%||51.0 ||%|
|Selling, general, and administrative expense||44.0 ||%||39.5 ||%||32.8 ||%|
|Marketing expense||20.7 ||%||25.2 ||%||22.9 ||%|
|Total operating expense||64.7 ||%||64.7 ||%||55.7 ||%|
|Loss from operations||(11.8)||%||(13.3)||%||(4.7)||%|
|Loss before provision for income taxes||(16.1)||%||(13.7)||%||(5.6)||%|
|Income tax (provision) benefit||(0.3)||%||1.9 ||%||(1.9)||%|
|Other comprehensive loss:|
|Foreign currency translation (loss) gain||(0.5)||%||1.0 ||%||0.0 ||%|
|Total comprehensive loss||(16.8)||%||(10.8)||%||(7.5)||%|
Comparison of the Years Ended December 31, 2021 and 2020
|Year Ended December 31,|
|(dollars in thousands)|
|Net revenue||$||277,472 ||$||219,296 ||26.5 ||%|
Net revenue increased $58.2 million, or 26.5%, for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to the year ended December 31, 2020. Our sales growth was driven by a $57.7 million increase in the volume of units sold as a result of strong consumer demand across geographies and channels and a strong response to new product launches during the year, with the remaining $0.5 million due to an increase in our average selling price per unit driven by modest price increases in certain of our products and product mix.
Cost of Revenue, Gross Profit, and Gross Margin
|Year Ended December 31,|
|(dollars in thousands)|
|Cost of revenue||$||130,810 ||$||106,555 ||22.8 ||%|
|Gross profit||146,662 ||112,741 ||30.1 ||%|
|Gross margin||52.9 ||%||51.4 ||%||2.8 ||%|
Cost of revenue increased by $24.3 million, or 22.8%, in the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase was primarily driven by an increase in the volume of units sold. Gross profit increased by $33.9 million, or 30.1%, in the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase in gross profit was driven by a $29.9 million increase in the volume of units sold, with the remaining $4.0 million due to an increase in gross margin rate. Our gross margin improved from 51.4% to 52.9% for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to the year ended December 31, 2020, primarily due to favorable channel and geography mix, sales of higher gross margin products such as apparel, cost savings through achieving economies of scale with