Our strategy is built on the achievements and learning from previous years. It takes into account changes in the societal landscape, global trends and goes hand-in-hand with our overall business strategy. Our approach to sustainability reflects the feedback we have captured from our stakeholders and sets clear targets we are striving to achieve.
Why we do what we do
There are many sustainability issues a multinational company might face. To identify the most relevant issues, we look at our business through different lenses. The following aspects guide us in determining topics and issues of concern in our programmes and reporting:
- Our mission and values: issues that are rooted in the adidas Group’s mission to be the best sports company in the world and the corresponding business strategy.
- Reputational impacts/risks: issues that may have a reputational impact or may pose a risk to the company in the short, medium or long term.
- Legal and regulatory drivers: issues that are being shaped by existing, emerging or evolving government policies and regulations.
- Peer-based and industry-wide norms: sustainability issues or standards that are developed by other companies or are addressed industry-wide and are used as benchmarks for our performance.
- Stakeholder concerns and societal trends: issues that are of high importance to our stakeholders including communities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the general public, or reflect societal and consumer trends. We regularly consult stakeholders on various topics to better understand their views, concerns and expectations.
- Opportunity for innovation: areas where we can explore innovative solutions that benefit the environment, our supply chain, customers and other stakeholders to demonstrate sector leadership and create competitive advantage.
For our last extensive materiality assessment involving a wide range of internal and external stakeholders we commissioned an external expert facilitating the process and analytical exercise. This was supported by a sound methodology to illustrate topics by relevance and impact and to identify the key topics to be addressed in our strategy. Click here to read more about the results.
We seek to ensure that our sustainability strategy and programmes address the topics that are most material or salient to our business as well as the challenges ahead. Equally they must seamlessly support our overall business goals and are directly linked to our core DNA as a global sports company. Therefore, the extensive materiality assessment has been regularly updated based on our ongoing stakeholder engagement. This is primarily driven by the Social & Environmental Affairs department (SEA) - in close coordination with other corporate functions - with around 70 staff members in 14 countries. Due to their international background and local connectedness they are well placed not only to know relevant stakeholders at key locations and sourcing countries, but also to connect with them at local, national and international level.
Stakeholder input is collected and centrally evaluated by SEA’s senior management team to ensure that input from different groups is considered in a balanced way. Once significant changes to the previous year are identified, relevant topics are further followed up on, and classified according to their overall importance and relevance to our company. Based on this classification, key topics are integrated in our strategy and programmes. We regularly report on these key topics on our website and in annual publications.
Our sustainability strategy ‘Sport needs a space’ allows us to focus on those topics and areas identified as most material for the adidas Group.