A new focus: Access to Fitness
Corporate Responsibility (CR) and human rights has been an important legacy of the Reebok brand. This legacy led us to make the bold statement in 2010 that we believe that ‘Access to Fitness' is a human right, accompanied by a new CR platform designed to address barriers to fitness around the world.
Reebok's heritage in human rights is extensive, going back to 1988. After sponsoring the Amnesty International Human Rights tour, Reebok pioneered the creation of workplace standards in our factories and supply chains and recognised young pioneers and activists with the Reebok Human Rights award.
Today, as part of the adidas Group, each brand's Workplace Standards for the supply chain are centrally developed and monitored by the adidas Group's Social and Environmental Affairs team (SEA).
When looking to expand upon our legacy and extend our corporate responsibility platform, we decided to embark on a comprehensive internal evaluation that would tap into one of the brand's strongest assets - our employees.
Through numerous employee focus group sessions, senior management meetings, ongoing working groups and an extensive online global survey, we engaged employees at every level to help shape the future direction of Reebok's Corporate Responsibility platform.
Two constant themes of the assessment were the strong connection that our employees have to our human rights heritage and the desire to use and leverage the power of Reebok's core competencies and focus on fitness to address these issues. The dedication to this process by so many employees revealed a passionate commitment to our CR legacy and giving back.
Devising the new CR platform
In the context of fitness, we found that there are barriers to fitness, both in the developing and developed world. These barriers directly impact the individual, the family and the community in which they live.
Based on our assessment and research we want to make a statement that goes beyond the usual physical connection to fitness. As a brand, we believe that fitness affects the body, the mind and even the community at large. We believe that healthy people make healthy communities and that access to fitness is not a privilege, nor is it an indulgence, but a human right…and access to fitness can change the world by improving the human condition.
Based on these beliefs, Reebok developed a new CR platform that will strive to address barriers to fitness through four areas:
- Social innovation - using our core competencies to find solutions that offer significant social impact
- Strategic philanthropy - financial support that builds capacity
- Research and advocacy - information to support initiatives
- Business innovation - creating products that may provide solutions.
Our initial efforts to address these issues include a pilot programme in both the developing and the developed world.
In the developing world, we will address a very basic need. An estimated 300 million people do not have shoes, which can be a major barrier to fitness and health and we are exploring solutions to this crisis. Our first effort is a pilot programme with the goal of building a social business that will give people access to shoes. By addressing this issue, we believe that we can give people their first step towards fitness, a healthy life and dignity.
In the developed world, youth today are facing more and more barriers to fitness, which may have harmful effects on their health for their entire lifetime. Given severe health related epidemics, inclusion of fitness in kids' daily lives is now more critical than ever.
Therefore, we are working to create a movement, with a functional fitness programme that is not only effective but fun and will teach life-long fitness habits. We will be at the forefront of educating parents, educators, and children on the importance of childhood fitness.
Our pilot programme will bring physical activity to as many children as possible, with a before-school programme designed to get kids moving and boost academic performance, overall confidence and well-being. A programme that will transform bodies, revitalise minds and ultimately reshape society.
Ready for the challenges ahead
Twenty years ago Reebok pioneered corporate awareness of human rights, so we realise that there is a great deal of work ahead of us. These pilot programmes are the first step on a long journey to bring fitness to the world.
As a brand, Reebok is committed to a whole new movement to provide access to fitness, in an effort to help improve the human condition and bring fitness to all. We understand that by making this new statement we are taking on a whole new challenge in human rights, but we are excited about the future and meeting this challenge.
As well as the new CR platform, Reebok contributes to the community in other ways.
The Reebok Foundation
The Reebok Foundation focuses its philanthropy in communities where Reebok offices are located, with special emphasis on the Greater Boston area. The Foundation promotes social and economic equality by funding non-profit organisations that support underserved groups and help empower youth to fulfil their potential and lead healthy, happy and active lives.
The Reebok Community Relations Programme
The Reebok Community Relations activity is intended to maintain and strengthen the reputation of Reebok as a good corporate citizen by participating and supporting community and philanthropic causes primarily in Boston and Canton, Massachusetts.