What sustainable initiatives are currently in place at Footwork?

Now in its 30th year, Footwork is proud to have a completely paperless manufacturing workflow. In 2016, our online portal system was born, however manual paper scripts were still required. Over the years we’ve committed to eliminating the requirement for paper scripts all together, and in 2021, this finally came to fruition. 

For the last 18 months, our complete ordering portal has been entirely paperless. From prescription submission to our internal workflow management system and now we’re looking to digitalise invoices so that by 2024 we’re excited to be 100% paper-free. 

Gone are the days of producing hundreds of tonnes of poly waste. Footwork’s PA11 Nylon is a 100% bio-based content polymer derived from sustainable castor oil. Each 3D printed orthotic uses 70% recycled powder optimising sustainability, whilst improving overall quality and longevity of the product. 

In addition to these current processes, which are dramatically impacting our sustainability, we are actively pursuing a 100% solar powered manufacturing facility. This will also provide us with the ability to power electric vehicles in our fleet of courier cars. 


What makes you proud when you reflect on these initiatives?

What makes our business proud is the progression we’ve seen when we look back 20 years ago. Footwork is extremely proud to be at the forefront of the overwhelming contrast between orthotic manufacturing 20 years ago, and orthotic manufacturing now. 

When we look back to the early days, plaster casting and concrete filling of moulds contributed to exponential waste. We’re proud to be launching our scanning and ordering new iPad App, which simplifies the process of taking a 3D scan and using it to generate an orthotic prescription. We hope this encourages our broader podiatry community to transition away from waste-producing foot impressions. 

I think what makes us equally proud is knowing the future of our industry has sustainability at the forefront of its mind. Footwork is now a business that is multi-generational, with my children involved in the day-to-day operations. It’s exciting to consider that this generation has been fostered with sustainability embedded in their daily routines, encouraging a legacy of environmental prioritisation. 


How would you like these actions to inspire other people within the podiatry profession?

I believe there is an opportunity for podiatrists to be the leaders in sustainability within allied health. As a profession known for distribution and consumption of large levels of consumables, we have a responsibility to keep sustainability at the forefront of our minds. I’d hope some of the actions of Footwork would inspire the broader podiatry community to take their own steps in achieving sustainable practice.   


What is one simple sustainable change podiatrists could consider making today in their workplace, if they haven’t yet already?

We would encourage the podiatry community to make the shift to digital processes. This can stretch all the way from digital scanning over casting, to using online patient management systems as opposed to paper filing. The more we can do as an industry to reduce overall landfill waste, the bigger impact we can have. 

Footwork is a Gold Sponsor at the upcoming Australian Podiatry Conference, taking place in Brisbane between 22 to 24 June.