Sep 1, 2021 - Economy

Allbirds has a new-fangled IPO

Illustration of globe with map of money.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Allbirds is getting ready to go public and wants to do it via a process it dubs a “Sustainable Public Equity Offering.”

Driving the news: The company, which makes shoes using sustainable materials, publicly filed its IPO documents on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Allbirds aims to pioneer the "SPO" framework, in which a company going public would need to meet certain environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria in order to qualify for the title.

Our thought bubble via Axios’ Kia Kokalitcheva: Allbirds' SPO is mostly a branding exercise since the public listing and securities structure remains pretty traditional. But given the uptick in interest in ESG standards — including from the Securities and Exchange Commission — the company’s efforts to codify certain sustainability pledges could prove ahead of the curve.

State of play: Allbirds developed the SPO criteria with advisory firm BSR and other market participants.

  • Those criteria include requirements that the company engage a third-party ESG reviewer, clearly articulate how ESG impact is embedded in its business model, and commit to annual reporting on key ESG factors, among other items.

The bottom line: Other than that, it’s a regular IPO.

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