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adidas and Parley for the Oceans stop the industry’s waiting game

On the occasion of COP21, adidas and Parley for the Oceans showcase strategic sustainability for the industry

adidas x Parley midsole
December 08, 2015

Today, at the Parley Talks on the occasion of COP21, adidas and Parley for the Oceans showcased an innovative footwear concept, the 3D-printed Ocean Plastic shoe midsole, to demonstrate how the industry can re-think design and contribute to stop ocean plastic pollution.

“World leaders forging an agreement is wonderful, but we shouldn’t need to be told to do the right thing. The industry can't afford to wait for directions any longer. Together with the network of Parley for the Oceans we have started taking action and creating new sustainable materials and innovations for athletes. The 3D-printed Ocean Plastic shoe midsole stands for how we can set new industry standards if we start questioning the reason to be of what we create,” said Eric Liedtke, adidas Group Executive Board member responsible for Global Brands.

We want to bring everyone from the industry to the table and create sustainable solutions for big global problems. 

Eric Liedtke, adidas Group Executive Board member responsible for Global Brands

The concept shoe consists of an upper made with ocean plastic content and a midsole which is 3D printed using recycled polyamid and gill net content.

The shoe was unveiled at a press conference which anticipated a bigger event organised by Parley for the Oceans and titled ‘Parley for the Oceans x COP21 - Oceans. Climate. Life.’

“2015 is our year, the year of the Oceans: the ocean movement successfully brought the cause onto the COP21 agenda in Paris. Protecting life underwater became the 14th development goal of the United Nations” said Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans. “With a framework of political goodwill in place, it is the right moment to transform words into action. Therefore, Parley in Paris is all about updating knowledge, sharing visions, fine-tuning strategies, creating concepts and forging collaborations in order to kickstart change.

We are really excited to have adidas supporting us in this journey and showing how you can take concrete steps in the right direction.

Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans

As founding member, adidas supports Parley for the Oceans in its education and communication efforts, as well as its comprehensive Ocean Plastic Program (A.I.R., Avoid, Intercept, and Redesign) that intends to end plastic pollution of the oceans. Since the partnership was announced in April 2015, adidas has taken concrete immediate steps in this direction. Examples are:



The adidas Group will phase out the use of plastic bags in its own retail stores. The phase-out has started already and will be completed by the end of Q1 2016.

Click here to read more. 


Together with its partner COTY, adidas will end the use of plastic microbeads across all its body care products by December 31st, 2015.

Click here to read more. 


The company has stopped the use of plastic bottles for meetings at its Headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany.



In November 2015, a group of 20 employees attended the Parley Ocean School, a unique programme that blends ocean activism with experiential learning and activities in a marine environment. Employees helped retrieve plastic debris from coastal areas; furthermore, thanks to Parley Talks with the experts, employees learned about the state of the oceans and are now acting as Parley ambassadors. The company is looking at extending this initiative to more employees going forward.

Click here to watch this video. 



Prior to the 3D-printed Ocean Plastic shoe midsole, adidas and Parley for the Oceans celebrated their partnership in the unique surroundings of the United Nations headquarters and showcased a world first with a shoe upper made entirely of yarns and filaments reclaimed and recycled from ocean waste and illegal deep-sea gillnets.

Click here to read more.