Focus 2007: Environmentally optimised product range – adidas Originals collection: adidas Grün
In 2007 the adidas Group developed an environmentally optimised product concept, the adidas Grün (‘green’) range, which was launched in spring 2008.
What is the adidas Grün collection about?
adidas Grün is a collection of footwear and apparel for men and women that minimises its environmental impact by being as efficient as possible with the use of the natural resources involved in its production and packaging. It was created in response to increasing consumer awareness of the importance of sustainability.
adidas Grün is distinguished from other ‘eco’ collections by its clear labeling system that explains the environmental credentials of each part of the collection.
The adidas Grün concept challenged our development teams to review previous construction and design principles and align them with environmentally friendly approaches. Material selection and product manufacturing were also influenced by what we learnt over the three years of our research project on ‘Integrated product policy’ (IPP).
The IPP approach was an extensive pilot project, involving both internal and external experts, aimed at continuously improving the environmental footprint of a footwear product throughout its lifecycle. All stages of the lifecycle were reviewed: from inception through construction, raw material selection, production, transportation, sales and usage to disposal.
It became clear that close cooperation and communication between the parties involved in all stages of the product lifecycle was fundamental to the success of the initiative.
This improved information flow helped to identify potential areas of improvement at each stage of production and value creation.
Creating adidas Grün
The adidas Grün project was developed by a cross-functional team drawn from across the business as well as external material suppliers and manufacturing partners.
Together they faced the challenges of selecting environmentally acceptable material solutions that would meet both quality standards and consumer expectations. The final product lines include recycled fabrics and natural materials such as hemp, bamboo and cork.
The products all contain clear labelling explaining the environmental credentials of the materials and processes used in the product’s manufacture. And the products are all sold in 100% recycled cardboard packaging.
Marketing the range
adidas Grün updates traditional adidas silhouettes with a new, natural look and feel. Aesthetically, the earthy colour palette, teamed with Originals styling, strikes a balance between streetwear and environmental sensibilities.
The adidas Grün range consists of three product categories:
The Reground line of products is made of environmentally friendly materials such as hemp, jute, bamboo, crepe rubber, chrome-free leather and recycled rice husks. A highlight from the women’s collection is a shirt made from a mix of soybean and organic cotton fabric that features a neckline inlaid with sunflower seeds.
The Recycled line consists of summery apparel and footwear made from recycled and reused materials. Key pieces include a dress made from recycled cotton scraps and a hooded track top that uses recycled polyester.
The Made From line presents original adidas silhouettes made from environmentally friendly fibres in more colourful tones.
What we learnt about material selection in this project has been captured so that other adidas Group teams can apply it to their product ranges. And given that there seems to be a growing appetite for environmentally friendly products, we expect to be applying the lessons learned in developing the Grün range to other products in the near future.