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Human Rights

adidas recognizes its corporate responsibility to respect human rights.

adidas recognizes its corporate responsibility to respect human rights and the importance of showing that we are taking the necessary steps to fulfill this social obligation. We do this by striving to operate responsibly along the entire value chain; by safeguarding the rights of our own employees and those of the workers who manufacture our products through our Labor Rights Charter and 'Workplace Standards'; and by applying our influence to affect change wherever human rights issues are linked to our business activities. 

Since its inception in 1997, our human and labor rights program has been built on the back of intense stakeholder outreach and engagement: seeking to understand and define the most salient issues to address as a company. Through those engagements we have identified the following as salient issues for our human rights program and the focus for our human rights due diligence efforts: freedom of association and collective bargaining, working hours, health and safety, fair wages, child labor, forced labor, resource consumption, water (including chemical management), access to grievance mechanisms, diversity, mega sporting events, procurement, product safety, as well as data protection and privacy security.

Recent highlights from our work include the launch of our modern slavery outreach program, the publication of our approach to support human rights defenders, our participation in a pilot to create an international corporate human rights benchmark for business globally and our ongoing disclosure of cases received through our third-party complaints mechanism, which is part of our long-standing approach to transparency and accountability. Our work has been awarded with leadership positions in the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark and the Know the Chain ranking, recognizing our efforts to manage human rights across our operations, as well as eradicate forced labor and human trafficking from our supply chains. 


Given the scale and complexity of our value chain – with goods sourced from more than 50 countries globally and sold in over 100 markets – it is not practical to conduct human rights impact assessments continuously across all entities that are linked to our products or operations. We have therefore developed a due diligence approach that targets those high-risk locations, processes or activities that require the closest attention and where we are able to apply influence to mitigate or remediate issues, where they occur. We also seek to extend our reach by cascading responsibilities to our partners, to capture and address potential and actual human rights issues upstream and downstream of our product creation. Finally, to complement these processes, we have put in place dedicated third-party grievance channels to tackle complaints.

In 2014, adidas established a third party complaints mechanism. As part of this mechanism, adidas committed, at the end of each year, to communicate, via its corporate website, how many third party complaints it has received related to labor or human rights violations and the status of those complaints (i.e. being investigated, successfully resolved, etc.). The files below provide an overview and analysis of the third party complaints received each year since 2014, and brief summaries of the individual cases. The majority of these complaints have been received from trade unions and from labor and human rights advocacy groups. They are distinct from complaints received directly from workers through worker hotlines and other grievance channels operated in the countries where we source product.





Since the initiation of our robust social compliance and labor rights program founded at the end of 1990s we have been systematically addressing the risks associated with forced labor, child labor and migrant labor. In 2016, we launched the modern slavery outreach program to cover those tiers that fall outside the existing mainstream social compliance and labor rights program. We treat forced labor, human trafficking and slavery as zero-tolerance issues. Business relationships can be impacted if such issues are found and can lead to enforcement action, warning letters and, if timely remedies are not offered, to termination.

Our approach to manage and eradicate forced labor from our operations include the implementation of our Modern Slavery policy (first published in 2010), a tailored, risk based due-diligence process, risk assessment, regular monitoring activities and performance measurements as well as designing and delivering targeted training and capacity building. Click here to learn more. 

Human Rights Defenders

A human rights defender (HRD) can be any person or group of persons working to promote human rights locally, regionally or internationally. Defenders can be of any gender, any age, from any part of the world and with different backgrounds and different interests. Typically, trade union organizers, environmental interest groups, human rights campaigners and labor rights advocates would be considered to be HRDs.

The threats faced by human rights defenders come in many forms – physical, psychological, economic and social – and involve the interaction of many factors (poor governance, the absence of the rule of law, intolerance, tensions over development issues, etc.) and can be triggered by different actors, both private and state.

adidas has a long-standing policy of non-interference with the activities of human rights defenders, including those who actively campaign on issues that may be linked to our business operations. We expect our business partners to follow the same policy; they should not impinge on the lawful actions of a human rights defender, or on their freedom of expression, freedom of association or right to peaceful assembly.

UK Modern Slavery Act

The United Kingdom's Modern Slavery Act seeks to address the role of businesses in preventing slavery and human trafficking from occurring in their business operations and supply chains. adidas is confident in the steps we have taken to combat slavery and human trafficking, which are described in our Modern Slavery Act Transparency Statement and supporting documents.