Every year several million tons of plastic waste end up in the ocean, seriously endangering the ecosystem and ultimately our own life space. With this in mind, our partnership with Parley aims to end plastic pollution of the oceans and accelerate the creation of innovative products and the integration of materials made from Ocean Plastic waste into our products.
First announced in April 2015, the partnership builds on the adidas Group’s strong track record in product sustainability and is already showing tangible results proving that this is not just a strategy far in the future, but a real plan already in action.
As founding member, adidas supports Parley for the Oceans in its efforts in communication and education, research and development, direct action and eco innovation. The mutual focus is on Parley's comprehensive Ocean Plastic Program, which is led by the Parley A.I.R. Strategy (Avoid, Intercept, and Redesign) to end ocean plastic pollution.
This is not a strategy in the future, but a real plan in action.
We are taking extra steps to avoid the use of plastic and waste in our industry. For example, plastic bags were phased out in our retail stores that we own. As of January 1st, 2016, together with our partner COTY, we have ended the use of microbeads in adidas body care products. On a more local level, we stopped using plastic bottles at our headquarters in Germany and are also now offering paper straws and paper food boxes instead of plastic ones. In addition, from a product perspective, our partnership also ties into many water saving initiatives that have been put in motion already. One of them is our DryDye initiative, which reduces the amount of water used in the making of our products. Another example is our virtualisation project, which has allowed us to produce 2.4 million fewer samples between 2011 and 2015.
The pillar intercept came to action in November 2015 when 20 adidas employees took part in the Parley Ocean School on the Maldives, a programme that blends ocean activism with experiential learning and activities in a marine environment. They attended workshops, discussion groups and informal meetings with Parley. Throughout their trip, the participants learned valuable facts about the true state of the oceans and took on the challenge to serve as ambassadors going forward and contribute to a better future of our industry.
In terms of redesign, in June 2015, we announced the creation of the world’s first shoe made of yarns and filaments reclaimed and recycled from ocean waste. Then, in December 2015, on the occasion of COP21, we unveiled an innovative footwear concept, a 3D-printed Ocean Plastic shoe midsole, to demonstrate how the industry can re-think design and contribute to stopping Ocean Plastic pollution.
Since then, together with Parley we have worked on turning old gillnets and ocean plastic into fibers that we can use to make products. Starting with limited collections, the intention is to gradually move inline and fully integrate materials made of Ocean Plastic waste into our regular ranges.
As a fist outcome, on World Oceans Day in June 2016, we released a limited edition of the shoe we presented at the United Nations. People were given the chance to enter an Instagram contest to win one of the pairs available.
Our partnership with Parley for the Oceans opens the door for great opportunities to inspire action among our consumers in this field. In fact, this is only the beginning. To solve the issue of ocean pollution, we need everybody to join forces. This is why everybody is welcome to support the movement by posting a video pledge and to become an ambassador.