The PETA USA youth organization has honored Germany’s largest shoe manufacturer for its commitment to producing fashion without animal components.

Birkenstock has received the peta2 Libby Award “Most Vegan-Friendly Shoe Company 2017,” an award highly regarded throughout the global vegan community. The youth organization honored Germany’s largest shoe manufacturer for its commitment to producing fashion without animal products.

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For the 12th time, the peta2 Libby Awards recognized companies and celebrities for their efforts – in  categories such as Heroes, Food, and Lifestyle. In an innovative move, the organizers invited young people from around the world to vote online. The response was huge. In the history of the award participation had never been higher – the number of voters more than doubled compared with the previous year.

This was the second time Birkenstock has been awarded by the world’s largest animal rights organization. In September 2016, PETA Deutschland presented Birkenstock with the “Vegan Fashion Award” for a vegan model of the iconic “Madrid” sandal.

The Libby Award was created by peta2 to honor companies and people for their exemplary behavior. peta2 is the youth organization of PETA USA, the world’s largest animal rights organization with more than 6.5 million supporters worldwide. It’s aimed at young people aged 13 to 21 and the word  “Libby” is short for “liberation” – which reminds people of the movement’s key objective. The idea behind the awards is to motivate manufacturers of food and clothing to take a stand for the vegan lifestyle and thus also strengthen animal rights. Eating solely plant-based foods is becoming increasingly widespread today, especially among young people. With it, the demand for fashion without any animal components is also growing.

“We are delighted to receive this award because it comes from the people we make our products for – our customers,” said Birkenstock CEO Oliver Reichert. “Especially among younger customers, there is a growing percentage who choose the vegan way of life. We offer many vegan products for these customers and the peta2 Libby Award has motivated us to continue on this path.”

Vegan fashion still faces the prejudice of being unfashionable, but Reichert adds: “We prove exactly the opposite with our vegan collection and show that vegan fashion can be animal friendly and also stylish and trendy. If the demand for vegan shoes continues to grow, so will our range of vegan products.”

“As everyday consumers learn more about the importance of wearing vegan, companies such as Birkenstock continue to add more animal-friendly options to its collection,” says Anne Brainard, Director of Corporate Affairs at PETA. “This makes it easier to have fun with our wardrobes while taking steps toward a kinder world for all beings.”

One-fifth of Birkenstock sandals are made without animal components. Remarkably, the percentage of cork sandals within the vegan collection has more than doubled three years in a row. The company  sells around 25 million pairs of shoes globally each year.

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