In 2018 adidas produced more than five million pairs of shoes containing recycled plastic waste. The company now plans to more than double that figure this year. As outcome of a cooperation between the sporting goods manufacturer and the environmental organization and global collaboration network Parley for the Oceans, plastic waste is intercepted on beaches, such as the Maldives, before it can reach the oceans. That upcycled plastic waste is made into a yarn becoming a key component of the upper material of adidas footwear. In addition to footwear, the company also produces apparel from the recycled material, such as the Champions League jersey for FC Bayern Munich and Alexander Zverev’s outfit for the Australian Open.
With adidas products made from recycled plastic, we offer our consumers real added value beyond the look, functionality and quality of the product, because every shoe is a small contribution to the preservation of our oceans. After one million pairs of shoes produced in 2017, five million in 2018, we plan to produce eleven million pairs of shoes containing recycled ocean plastic in 2019.
"Sustainability at adidas goes far beyond recycled plastic," added Executive Board member Gil Steyaert, responsible for Global Operations. "We also continue to improve our environmental performance during the manufacturing of our products. This includes the use of sustainable materials, the reduction of CO2 emissions and waste prevention. In 2018 alone, we saved more than 40 tons of plastic waste in our offices, retail stores, warehouses and distribution centers worldwide and replaced it with more sustainable solutions."
Recently, adidas signed the Climate Protection Charter for the Fashion Industry at the UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, and agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. In addition, adidas is committed to using only recycled polyester in every product and on every application where a solution exists by 2024. As a founding member of the Better Cotton Initiative, adidas meanwhile sources only sustainably produced cotton. Since 2016, adidas stores no longer use plastic bags.
Where the use of plastics – for example in transport packaging – is still unavoidable, adidas is relying on counterbalancing measures and promoting sustainable alternatives. The company is currently supporting the global innovation platform Fashion for Good with a donation of €1.5 million which equates to the company’s environmental impact of plastic packaging. The foundation is driving the development of innovative, durable and reusable materials for the fashion industry. adidas has been a partner of the foundation since the beginning of 2018.