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adidas Group achieves milestone in product sustainability, launches Sustainability Progress Report

The adidas Group has achieved a new milestone in product sustainability as all adidas Sport Performance footwear newly created for 2013 contained sustainable elements.

April 15, 2014

Herzogenaurach 15 April 2014 – Today, the adidas Group published its 2013 Sustainability Progress Report, an annual overview of achievements and challenges as well as a progress update on its 2015 sustainability targets. As part of the report, the adidas Group announced that all adidas Sport Performance footwear newly created for 2013 used sustainable components such as environmentally preferable materials.

Constantly looking into new and smarter ways to make its products better, the adidas brand has developed an approach that ensures environmental considerations are part of the product creation process. This has enabled sustainable elements to be incorporated into all performance shoes created for 2013. 

Designing and developing products with sustainability criteria in mind is something which is close to our heart,” said Eric Liedtke, adidas Group Executive Board member responsible for Global Brands. “Originally, we had set the goal of using sustainable elements in all of our newly created Sport Performance shoes by 2015; however, thanks to the dedication and commitment of all the teams involved in the making of Sport Performance footwear, we were able to achieve it two years in advance.

At the same time, a growing number of products with sustainable components also exist in the Originals product range, such as the iconic Stan Smith, which has just been re-launched. Furthermore, an increasing amount of apparel is created using sustainable materials and more sustainable manufacturing processes such as DryDye and Low Waste.

Additional information on product sustainability is available on the adidas Group corporate website and the corporate blog as well as in the 2013 Sustainability Progress Report.


Sustainable Products

adidas Element Refine

Element Sole Shoe

Stan Smith Shoe

Low Waste Shirt

Low Waste Tight

DryDye Shirt

The adidas Group initiated reporting about its sustainability performance back in 2000, and was the first company in the sporting goods industry to do so.

Reporting about our sustainability performance is key in our commitment to transparency,” stated Frank Henke, adidas Group Vice President for Global Social and Environmental Affairs. “This year’s Progress Report differs from our previous publications as we have decided to explain our sustainability programme according to four pillars: People, Product, Planet and Partnership. We believe that this new approach will allow us to better explain to our stakeholders what sustainability means for the adidas Group.

Some highlights of the 2013 Sustainability Progress Report include:



  • The “SMS for workers” project, launched at the end of 2012, was introduced to a total of five facilities in Indonesia and one in Vietnam, covering almost 35,000 factory workers.
  • 1,346 factory social and environmental audits took place at suppliers; these involved management and worker interviews, reviews of factory policies, practices and documents as well as facility inspections. The company’s Sustainability team also conducted 148 training sessions and workshops for suppliers, licensees, workers and adidas Group employees.
  • More than 1,000 local community projects were supported financially or through employee volunteering globally. 



  • Water is a key area of focus for the company. The product offer integrating DryDye fabric has steadily increased, reaching two million yards of DryDye fabric produced by the end of 2013, and saving 50 million litres of water. This game-changing technology will be further rolled out across product ranges. Also, the company recently announced a partnership with Pharrell Williams and his textile company Bionic Yarn, thanks to which plastic debris from the oceans turned into yarn and fabric will be used in some of Pharrell's upcoming adidas Originals products.
  • The target of using 15% Better Cotton by 2013 was overachieved as in 2013 the adidas Group sourced more than 23% of all cotton as Better Cotton. The adidas Group has committed to source 100 % of cotton across all product categories in all its brands as ‘sustainable cotton’ by 2018.
  • The increasing use of virtual samples allowed the Group to save close to 1.5 million samples between 2010 and 2013.



  • As part of our Green Company programme, four additional locations received ISO 14001 certification.
  • Energy consumption was reduced at supplier level, also thanks to Energy Management trainings.
  • New heel counters made out of recycled material will be inserted into 110 million pairs of shoes every year. This will allow 1,500 tons of polystyrene waste to be diverted from landfills.



  • adidas is the official Sponsor, Licensee and Outfitter of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. In a spirit of transparency, as has been done since the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, the list of factories manufacturing products for the event has been published.
  • The adidas Group has continued to be an active participant in the task forces of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), supporting the development, refinement and completion of the Higg 2.0 Index.
  • The adidas Group is collaborating with other brands to establish a more efficient industry-wide monitoring tool, both for brands and suppliers. 

2013 Fast Facts

Number of adidas Group Employees

Number of supplier factories

Growth in licencees

Number of factory visits

Audit coverage in Asian countries

ISO 14001 certification of own sites

Terminated business relationships

Growth of suppliers with social compliance rating

Steady improvement in environmental performance rating

All-time low in VOC usage

Number of ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certified athletic footwear suppliers

Number of warning letters issued to suppliers

This year's report is available online.


About the adidas Group’s approach to sustainability

The adidas Group’s sustainability strategy is rooted in the Group’s values – performance, passion, integrity and diversity. It is built on the achievements and learnings from previous years, while taking into account the societal landscape and future global trends. The four pillars of the adidas Group’s strategy are:

  • People: We positively influence the lives of our employees, factory workers and people living in the communities where we have a business presence.
  • Product: We find better ways to create our products – mainly through innovation, increased use of more sustainable materials and efficiencies. 
  • Planet: We reduce the environmental footprint of both our own operations and our suppliers’ factories.
  • Partnership: We engage with critical stakeholders and collaborate with partners to improve our industry.

For more information about the adidas Group’s continuing efforts, visit http://www.adidas-group.com/en/sustainability/managing-sustainability/general-approach/.

About the adidas Group

The adidas Group is a global leader in the sporting goods industry, offering a broad portfolio of footwear, apparel and hardware for sport and lifestyle around the core brands adidas, Reebok, TaylorMade, Rockport and Reebok-CCM Hockey. Headquartered in Herzogenaurach/Germany, the Group employs more than 50,000 people across the globe and generated sales of € 14.5 billion in 2013.