How sustainability supports our business strategy
In October 2010, we presented the most comprehensive and aligned Strategic Business Plan our Group has ever created: Route 2015. Over these five years, we want to achieve qualitative and sustainable growth by building desirable, leading brands in the consumers’ and customers’ perception. Consumers nowadays increasingly expect companies to do more than just consider social and environmental issues. They want the products they buy to be the best, helping them be the best they can be. But they also want to buy these products from companies that are at the leading edge in terms of making a difference to the world at large.
We know that we can only follow this route if we are fully committed to managing our business operations in a sustainable way. While we have made big strides in laying the foundations for success in previous years, we must continue to drive innovations and to strengthen our systems and processes.
We also recognise that while the individual elements of our sustainability strategy are robust and well-managed, we could improve the cross-linkages, which would increase the strategy’s effectiveness. The stronger our sustainability strategy, the more it will help us realise our business ambition to be the global leader in the sporting goods industry.
There are five elements to our sustainability strategy:
- Environmental sustainability
- Social compliance in our supply chain
- Engaging stakeholders
- Developing our employees
- Contributing to local communities
Integrating environmental thinking and acting into our daily operations and developing smarter solutions – this is what we want our Environmental Strategy to achieve.
It aims to substantially improve the Group’s environmental footprint by changing our processes across every part of our value chain from innovation and product design via development and manufacturing operations to our own stores and other sales channels.
Social compliance in the supply chain
Workers in our suppliers’ factories play a central role in our programme. It was concern for their welfare and rights that led us to write our "Workplace Standards" and to establish a compliance management system covering all brands of the adidas Group.
Our supply chain is large, multi-tiered and varied. We have a detailed approach to managing relationships with our suppliers and we continue to develop ways for engaging suppliers who are part of our direct and indirect supply chain.
As a company we do not operate in isolation and we seek feedback from internal and external stakeholders by carefully listening, responding and engaging with them. Our engagements are with people in the company as well as externally including governments, civil society, investors, analysts, customers, and industry alliances.
We engage internally with employees and managers to develop appropriate and innovative ways of embedding sustainability thinking and processes within our organisation. Externally we look for innovative forms of partnerships and collaboration that drive change in the industry.
Developing our employees
Our people are crucial to our success. We strive to create a working environment that promotes team spirit, passion, engagement and achievement.
We promote a performance culture based on strong leadership and therefore link employee compensation to Group and individual achievements. We aim to continuously develop our employees with opportunities for career progression, while upholding a culture that celebrates diversity and encourages global mobility.
We also know how important it is to continue to attract and recruit new people to the adidas Group. In this so-called ‘war for talent’, it is important that we become a world-class recruiter, and this ambition has led us to launch innovative programmes to raise our profile with potential employees. We aim to create a stimulating and attractive work environment as we strive to be a Top 10 employer of choice in the key markets in which we operate.
Contributing to local communities
As a multinational enterprise, the adidas Group is represented in many countries around the world and its business operations impact people’s lives in those communities. While there are many possible ways to get involved in aid or community programmes, the challenge is to know the local needs of the communities. We therefore have chosen a largely decentralised and brand-oriented model for community involvement recognising that people in the subsidiaries best understand the needs and cultural sensitivities of their local communities. Brand programmes are managed under the Adi Dassler Fund, the Reebok Corporate Responsibility Programme and the TaylorMade-adidas Golf Charity Programme.
At Group level we continue to support our suppliers’ communities as we make contributions to organisations that promote sustainable development practices within the industry.
We also recognise that while the individual elements of our sustainability strategy are robust and well-managed, we could improve the cross-linkages, which would increase the strategy's effectiveness. The stronger our sustainability strategy, the more it will help us realise our business ambition to be the global leader in the sporting goods industry."