Revolutionary Steps in Eco Footwear

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Hsuan-Tzu Liao

Hsuan-Tzu Liao


TIAS School for Business and Society

TIAS School for Business and Society


Mirjam Minderman

Mirjam Minderman

Global Goals

10. Reduced Inequalities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action 14. Life Below Water 17. Partnerships for the Goals

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“For us, innovation drives development on every front,” said the CEO, Mr. Hsu. Knowing that merely producing products using recycled materials is not enough to convince consumers to purchase, CCILU has found a balance between comfort, durability, sustainability, and stylish fashion.


CCILU has developed techniques of upcycling, utilizing a variety of waste materials such as coffee grounds, ocean plastic bottles, and waste from silicon wafers, agriculture, and fisheries. Furthermore, the company has created three environmentally friendly technologies: XpreSole, GreePlax, and CCILUCELL. These technologies ensure that each pair of shoes not only aligns with sustainable practices, but also meets consumer demands for comfort and style.

In recent years, CCILU has even introduced pyrolysis technology, encouraging consumers to recycle their worn-out CCILU shoes. The technology utilizes high-temperature processes to convert shoes into fuel. On average, a pair of discarded shoes can generate 300cc of fuel, which is then reused, creating a virtuous and sustainable economic cycle.

Revolutionary Steps in Eco Footwear


After graduating from university, Mr. Hsu embarked on a career in the banking industry. Despite his achievements in the financial sector, he felt a profound disconnection, seeing the persistent issue of waste, including plastic from the neighboring ocean, as well as locally produced waste in his own country. This observation led him to question, "What can we do to reduce the environmental burden caused by this waste?" Motivated by a desire to make a positive impact, Mr. Hsu decided to pivot towards finding solutions to address the pressing issue of waste and its detrimental effects on the environment.

Mr. Hsu began to follow in his father's footsteps by entering the shoe manufacturing industry. However, rather than solely focusing on making profits, the founder hopes that his business will have a positive impact on society. He not only aims to differentiate from the traditional shoe manufacturing business by incorporating the concept of sustainable products, but also commits to making products entirely from eco-friendly materials, unlike other brands that claim sustainability yet only utilize a small portion of eco-friendly materials in their products. Mr. Hsu said: "The world doesn’t lack a shoe company; what it lacks is a shoe company with dreams and significance." CCILU encourages reviews of each of its products before manufacturing to ensure alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This approach motivates its employees and managers, reinforcing the notion that by performing their jobs effectively, they are making a valuable contribution to society and the planet as a whole.

Overall impact

Since its establishment in 2011, CCILU’s vision is to transform the concept of production and consumerism to prioritize recycled, upcycled, and plant-based materials. Through the development of 6 technology systems, which include 4 upcycling and 2 renewable loops, CCILU has created a distinctive, cradle-to-cradle brand name.

Based on the innovation, CCILU is not only growing rapidly and gaining influence within the footwear industry in the past few years, the company also gradually catches international attention to seek cooperation to create sustainable products. In the meantime, CCILU is aiming to create the world’s first carbon-neutral shoes by the end of 2024, and the corporation also targets to be carbon-neutral in its overall operations by the year of 2025.

Business benefit

Since 2011, with the innovative technology of shoe manufacturing and a one-of-a-kind business model, CCILU has expanded its presence in Asian, American and European markets, and the products are available in over 40 countries. In November 2022, CCILU became the first Asian footwear manufacturing company to be certified as a B-Corp.

In addition, CCILU has been recognized with numerous awards and honors in various fields. For example, one of the latest products named the XpreSole Blocks, which are made from upcycled coffee grounds, was recognized by 2 design awards in 2023, including the iF Design Award, and the Singapore Good Design Award.

Social and environmental benefit

Over the past several years, CCILU’s has proactively integrated the SDGs into its daily operations. The company mainly focuses on SDG 10, SDG 12, SDG 13, SDG 14 and SDG 17 as its long-term targets.

SDG 10 - Reduced inequalities and SDG 17 - Partnerships for the goals

In Taiwan, approximately 35% of waste pickers are elderly females who work over 12 hours a day, yet still earn a low income. Mr. Hsu, the CEO of CCILU observed this dilemma and decided to do more about this issue. In 2021, CCILU invested in establishing a recycling plant, which acquire plastic bottles from the waste pickers at a price 3 times higher than the market price. Furthermore, CCILU also partnered with several NGO's to care for the livelihood of waste pickers and provide them with timely resources and supports. Mr. Hsu aims to improve the waste pickers living standards and give them a sense of belonging.

SDG12 - Responsible consumption and production; SDG13 - Climate action and SDG14 - Life below water

To embrace the circular economy and sharing economy, CCILU has set up collection systems with coffee shops, local businesses, and factories in Taiwan to collect spent coffee grounds. By recycling these spent coffee grounds, CCILU is reducing landfill emissions and replacing the use of traditional petroleum-based materials in footwear manufacturing. Meanwhile, since the establishment of the recycling plant, the waste pickers have recycled over 1 million plastic bottles properly. Since 2021, CCILU has partnered with multiple enterprises to host beach cleanup events island-wide to collect marine debris. So far, they have cleaned up over 8 thousand pieces of marine debris, including 70 thousand plastic bottles. After CCILU collects the spent coffee grounds and post-consumer plastic bottles, they employ an on-site upcycling facility to create the materials that will be utilized during the footwear production.

To close the loop, CCILU offers customers the opportunity to send back their worn-out shoes and once again employ the process of upcycling to create oil which is used for energy, and donated back to the community.


Wilson Hsu, CEO

Photo of interviewee

Business information



Taichung, TW
Business Website:
Year Founded: 2011
Number of Employees: 51 to 200

CCILU, founded by CEO Wilson Hsu in 2011 and located in Taiwan, is an innovative footwear brand known for its lightweight and comfortable shoes. The brand stands out because of its advanced technology. Having spent years working on creating sustainable technology since 2011, it has received over 20 global awards and honors. CCILU focuses on local production and recycling. The company is deeply committed to sustainable practices, utilizing recyclable materials to mitigate environmental impact and foster a circular economy. The company also supports waste pickers by purchasing PET bottles at three times the market price, assisting them in improving their lives, establishing community network resource sharing, and reducing inequality. CCILU’s goal is to make shoes with limited environmental impact and to contribute to global sustainability goals. Nowadays, CCILU can proudly say it is the pioneered footwear manufacturer operating with a cradle-to-cradle concept, aiming to achieve a net-zero carbon emission model in the coming years.