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General Approach

Our ambition is to be a sustainable company.

Being a sustainable business is about striking the balance between shareholder expectations and the needs and concerns of our employees, the workers in our supply chain and the environment. We truly believe that acting as a responsible business – one which is fully committed to respecting human rights – will contribute to lasting economic success.

We are continuously working towards becoming a more sustainable company. While we have been in this game for a long time, we will never stop learning and improving our sustainability efforts. For us, it is about being prepared, setting the right pace and having both the drive and stamina to go the distance. It is about being persistent, overcoming setbacks and difficulties and never giving up on the overall goal. Just like a true athlete never would.


We have a long track record in sustainability and are proud of our accomplishments, but we will never rest on our laurels. We constantly strive to improve our sustainable performance while acting upon our leadership role and listening to the expectations of our stakeholders and consumers. One example is our extended Sustainability Strategy, which pushes the limits of our own ambitions further than ever before. A direct outcome of our business strategy ‘Creating the New’, it translates our overall sustainable efforts into tangible goals that have a direct impact on the world of sport we operate in. 

As a global sports company, we believe that through sport we have the power to change lives. This is supported by research we have conducted. It shows that our consumers believe that sport makes us healthy and happy, that it creates value and empowers people. An impressive 92% even say that sport has a positive impact on our society. But for sport to change lives, it needs a space to exist, a field to play on, an ocean to surf or a mountain to climb – and these spaces are increasingly endangered due to man-made issues including human rights violations, pollution, growing energy consumption and waste. Based on our love of sport and responsibility as a globally operating company, we want to be the guardians of these spaces. Thus, we have developed a holistic approach that seriously tackles the challenges that endanger the spaces of sport and simultaneously our planet and people.

Our Sustainability Strategy identifies six strategic priorities to address the issues and challenges of the spaces where sport is made (all places where products are created, designed, manufactured and shipped), sold (own retail, wholesale and e-commerce) and played (from the indoor court to the outdoor pitch all over the world). Following the entire lifecycle of sport, our most holistic approach to date supports us in creating responsibly across our entire supply chain, with tangible and measurable goals, and ensures that sport remains a source of happiness for all people.





Water is essential for life. It is also a key resource for our industry. In order to tackle the ever-growing issue of water scarcity and achieve water stewardship (1), we have developed an approach addressing water efficiency, quality and accessibility. 

We create the best for the athlete, while optimizing our environmental impact. We are committed to steadily increasing the use of more sustainable materials in our production, products and stores. At the same time, we are driving towards closed-loop solutions. 

Energy is the fuel of the body. The responsible use of energy is also critical for our planet to survive. In order to mitigate climate change, we are committed to reducing our absolute energy consumption and COemissions, transitioning to clean energy and looking into energy harvesting opportunities. 



20% water savings at strategic suppliers (baseline 2014)


35% water savings at apparel material suppliers (baseline 2014) 


35% water savings per employee at own sites (baseline 2008)


Further expand the use of waterless technologies for our products




20% waste reduction at strategic suppliers (baseline 2014)


50% waste diversion for owned operations to minimize landfill (baseline 2015)


75% paper reduction per employee at own sites (baseline 2008) 


Replacing conventional cotton, with the aim of achieving 100% sustainable cotton by 2018


Reducing the use of virgin plastic, starting with: (a) Eliminating plastic bags in our stores (b) Using only recycled polyester in every product and on every application where a solution exists by 2024 (c) Extending the supply chain for Parley Ocean Plastic together with our partner Parley for the Oceans


Increasing the use of sustainable designs and materials in our stores


Rolling out a global product take-back program to all our key cities and markets


Investing in materials, processes and innovative machinery which will allow us to upcycle materials into products and reduce waste. Ongoing examples include Sport Infinity and Futurecraft Tailored Fibre


Achieving 100% sustainable input chemistry by adopting the ZDHC MRSL (2); phasing out hazardous chemicals; providing our strategic suppliers with a list of positive chemistry (the bluesign® bluefinder)



20% energy savings at our strategic suppliers (baseline 2014)


3% absolute annual reduction in Scope 1 & 2 COemissions (3) at own sites (baseline 2015)


Further expansion of IMS to key sites globally at own operations


LEED certification for new corporate construction key projects, such as the new offices at the company’s headquarters in Germany and new flagship stores.


Reduce the environmental footprint of our consumer events


Own sites include offices, distribution centers, retail. Strategic suppliers are responsible for around 75% of our global production volumes Apparel material suppliers are specialists in printing and dyeing operations

(1) Water stewardship means knowing and reducing our own water use and improving our impact on water at our own operations and along the value chain through innovative solutions and partnerships. (2) Manufacturing Restricted Substances List, as per the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Program (ZDHP) (3) Scope 1: emissions that arise directly from sources that are owned or controlled by adidas entities, such as fuels used in our boilers; Scope 2: emissions generated by purchased electricity consumed by adidas entities


People are at the heart of everything we do. Like a coach ensures that all of the players on the pitch are in the right position for the best results, we empower people to exercise their rights and unlock their potential.

Sport is the key to an individual’s health and happiness. Our aim is to enable people around the world to participate in sports, while educating them on physical and mental health, fitness and nutrition. This will ultimately allow them to lead a healthier and more fulfilled lifestyle.  

We work hard every day to inspire and enable people to harness the power of sport in their lives. Likewise, we want to keep driving change in our industry by leading by example. 



Empower (1) our supply chain workers by expanding and refining grievance systems and skill training programs. This includes the full expansion of the Workers’ Grievance App to 100% of strategic suppliers.


At least 80% of strategic suppliers to reach social compliance level 4C (of 5), at least 10% to reach 5C rating 


At least 80% of strategic licensees to reach 80% or above in Licensee Score Cards, 10% to achieve sustainbility leadership (2) .


Foster cross-functional and cross-cultural careers and experiences for our employees. This will enable them to gain fresh perspectives and grow professionally and personally. This includes volunteering programs together with the adidas Fund and the Reebok BOKS program, which also enhance soft skills such as teamwork, leadership, decision-making and communication while increasing our employees’ commitment and motivation.


Champion diversity – regardless of gender, nationality, ethnic origin, religion, world view, age, sexual orientation or gender identity.



Introduce education and upskilling measures on health and work-life balance topics for our employees.


Develop a global Health Management strategy for our employees. This strategy is based on the strong foundation we already have at our offices in Herzogenaurach, Portland and Boston. 


Utilize sport as a tool to teach values and boost young people’s academic and physical performance. In addition, this tool will add to their overall confidence and well-being. Through the BOKS program, we will refine and perfect the collective impact model with our other partners including those from the healthcare industry to provide a solution to the physical inactivity epidemic. We also aim to increase the number of enrolled BOKS schools by 50% in our target areas.



Rewarding our employees’ commitment and contributions to our company’s purpose, strategy and success. 


Encouraging and supporting employee volunteering – creating agents of change in the communities we work, live and operate in. 


Engaging with creators and influencers and driving innovative collaborations. Inspiring consumers, key partners, brand assets and others to join us on our journey. 


Teaming up with our athletes who will act as role models for young creators, sharing experiences and showing that sport is about passion, determination, teamwork, helping others and being active.


(1) This means ensuring our suppliers’ workforces at all levels are empowered with access to effective grievance and feedback channels, supervisory skills and other means to support fair, healthy and safe workplace conditions. (2) Self-governance means that licensees operate mechanisms to monitor their own supply chain aligned with adidas standards, and support their suppliers to continuously improve workplace condition. Sustainability leadership means that licensees operate sustainability management systems, monitor their supply chain effectively, reduce social and environmental footprints, and transparently report on performance.

adidas has also set targets for 2020 and beyond, including:

  • In 2020, adidas will produce 15 to 20 million pairs of shoes using recycled plastic waste from beaches and coastal regions, compared to more than eleven million pairs in 2019, five million in 2018 and one million in 2017.
  • The first fully recyclable running shoe “Futurecraft Loop” has been in the test phase since 2019. The market launch is planned for 2021. adidas is also working on the development of bio-fabricated materials for sports apparel and presented first prototypes for tennis wear in 2019.
  • From 2021 onwards, packaging used to transport products from the manufacturing countries to the store shelves will also be made from recycled materials. At the same time, adidas is testing a recycling loop for transport packaging.
  • By 2024, adidas will only use recycled polyester in all adidas products across the business, aided by the introduction of PRIMEBLUE  and PRIMEGREEN performance fabrics where 100% of the polyester used is recycled. 
  • By 2030, as a signatory to the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, adidas has committed to reduce both its own and its suppliers’ greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2017 by 30 percent. By 2050 adidas aims to achieve climate neutrality.


  • Since 1998, adidas Workplace Standards set mandatory requirements for fair working conditions, appropriate wages and a safe working environment at suppliers. 
  • Since 2000, adidas has continuously been listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, which rates the top 10% best companies per industry by assessing their economic, social and environmental performance.
  • Starting 2004, among others, adidas enters partnerships with the Better Cotton Initiative, Leather Working Group and Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals, and implements state-of-the-art communication tools to further improve worker-management communication in factories.
  • In 2016, adidas eliminated plastic bags from its stores, and as of 2017 majority of adidas sites are largely plastic-free. 
  • By the end of 2017, products are more than 99% free of poly- and perfluorinated substances (PFCs).
  • Since 2018, adidas sources 100% of its cotton globally as more sustainable cotton.
  • Since 2019, the first fully recyclable running shoe “Futurecraft Loop” has been in the test phase. adidas has been further testing consumer-friendly solutions for the return of used products. In the UK, the program “Infinite Play” allows consumers to return adidas footwear or apparel and to receive a voucher for the company’s online store.