Our commitment in managing our business in a responsible way is rooted in the Group's values and principles. Our understanding of becoming a sustainable company is outlined in the adidas Group Sustainability Statement:
Performance, Passion, Integrity, Diversity
These are the adidas Group values.
They help us to create brands that our customers believe in and they commit us to playing by the rules that society expects of a responsible company. Unlike sport, society's rules are not always written down.
We discover them by engaging with the people that our business touches, learning above all that companies are expected to be accountable for their actions. So we are committed to reporting publicly on the steps we take to have a more positive impact on society and the planet.
For the adidas Group, this means designing products that are environmentally sound, and reducing the environmental impacts of our day-to-day operations and in our supply chain.
It is about setting workplace standards for our suppliers to meet and helping them to ensure fair, safe and healthy conditions in their factories. Importantly, it also means looking after the well-being and careers of our employees - the company's biggest asset - and making a positive contribution to the communities where we operate.
Adhering to all applicable laws, directives and guidelines is a business imperative. But that is not enough. We are continuously striving to improve our performance and our standing in society. We set ourselves targets that stretch us, regularly review our progress and set ourselves new goals.
That is what the world's leading athletes do, and it is what we must do as a global leader in the sporting goods industry.
The Sustainability Statement outlines the guiding framework for becoming a more sustainable company, and informs our individual missions in Social and Environmental Affairs, Environmental Management, Human Resources Management and Community Affairs. These are further detailed in the respective chapters of the report.
Our proactive approach in managing sustainability issues is an inherent part of the Group's Corporate Governance framework and risk management system.
As a company we do not operate in isolation. We are a part of the global economy and society and have to follow various legal rules. We have set ourselves standards of good corporate management to effectively and responsibly manage risks and challenges.
Our actions are determined by the principles of responsible and transparent management and company control. Good corporate governance supports a sustainable increase in value and enhances the confidence placed in our company by our shareholders, business partners, employees and the financial markets. It is thus essential for the Group's long-term success.
We see corporate governance as an ongoing process during which values and principles continue to evolve in accordance with changing requirements.
We have established a corporate governance framework that addresses rights of shareholders, the responsibilities and duties of the Executive Board, including social and environmental considerations, and the Supervisory Board and how they collaborate information and disclosure obligations, and solutions for any conflicts of interest. The governing principles we have established ensure good management and control of the business.
A comprehensive risk management system addresses internal or external risks that may affect the Group's goals, strategies, brand image or financial performance and health.
The Group function Social and Environmental Affairs (SEA) is an integral part of the risk management system and provides the Executive Board with regular updates on social and environmental risks and developments. SEA strategic business plans support the development of business contingency plans and staff advisories for public health and safety issues.
For more detailed information on corporate governance and risk management, see the adidas Group website.
Special guidance for the organisation that derives from the governance framework includes:
- Workplace Standards, the adidas Group's supplier code of conduct (see more in the Suppliers and workers section)
- Labour Rights Charter, outlining the adidas Group's position on core labour rights within the company (see more in the Employees section)
- Code of Ethics, defining rules for all employees with respect to legally compliant and ethical behaviour (see more in the Employees section)
- adidas Group Environmental Policy, outlining the Group's position with respect to sound environmental management and its commitment in continuous improvement of its environmental impact (see more in the Environment section).
For a company that outsources most of its production and operates a multi-tiered supply chain, it is essential to develop an approach that covers its social and environmental responsibilities both inside and outside the company. In no way can a single corporate unit carry this out. Group Social and Environmental Affairs and Group Human Resources play a critical role in fulfilling our responsibilities in this area.
Social and Environmental Affairs - Roles and tasks
Group Social and Environmental Affairs (SEA) reports into the General Counsel of the adidas Group and is tasked with:
- Ensuring compliance with the Workplace Standards within the supply chain
- Leading, promoting and managing the development and implementation of environmental strategies across the Group's value chain
- Extending and maturing the engagement and collaboration with others to drive changes in the industry
- Managing the Group's Community Affairs programme at Group level
- Managing the Group's corporate sustainability communication and reporting.
The SEA team consists of a diverse group of 65 people - engineers, lawyers, HR managers, environmental auditors, and former members of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The team is organised into three regional teams covering Asia, the Americas and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), as well as the Group-wide functions of Environmental Services and Community Affairs.
As a cross-cutting function SEA collaborates closely with other global Group functions such as Sourcing, Legal, Facility Management, Human Resources and the Sales organisation but also with Brand Marketing and Product Development. The collaboration of SEA with Sourcing has been particularly important for improving workplace and environmental conditions in the adidas Group's supply chain. Over the years, SEA has established collaborative systems and processes to ensure Sourcing fully considers compliance with workplace standards. In 2010, SEA played a critical role in driving, developing and coordinating the Group-wide Environmental Strategy 2015.
By engaging directly with suppliers, government and other external stakeholders, SEA is informed about social and environmental issues at an early stage. It addresses any potential risks, and health, safety and environmental liabilities, in its monthly report to the Executive Board and Sourcing management. The team is directly involved in developing and updating corporate policies and operating procedures related to social accountability, product safety and compliance with environmental laws and regulations.
Social & Environmental Affairs team
Group Human Resources
Group Human Resources is a core function within the adidas Group's global organisation. It is led by the Chief Human Resources Officer who directly reports to the CEO. The Global HR organisation manages the following key tasks with:
- HR Business Partner teams who support key functions in all relevant HR matters - Global Brands, Global Sales, Operations, Finance, IT, Legal and HR
- HR Competence Centres who drive talent/succession management and learning, talent acquisition and employer branding as well as rewards, mobility and e-HR
- Focus teams who manage our Company Sports programme and 'Diversity and Inclusion' initiatives at major Group locations.