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.
Sustainability as integral part of ‘own the game’
Our holistic approach to sustainability responds to the challenges that endanger our planet and people. Consequently, sustainability is an integral component of our strategy ‘Own the Game’ and we have a clear roadmap for 2025 and beyond. It tackles the topics that are most material to our business and our stakeholders, and translates our overall sustainability efforts into tangible goals.
Following our ambition to be transparent toward stakeholders for years, adidas has regularly reported on our sustainability performance by measuring and disclosing the progress made toward our targets. Although 2020 was a difficult year due to the coronavirus pandemic, making it necessary to adhere to local regulations such as store closures and travel bans, we were, overall, able to advance our initiatives and deliver against our targets.
Own operations: In 2020, we were able to cumulatively reduce our combined net emissions by 55% compared to 2015. This is a result of our energy saving initiatives, the use of Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs) at central sites, a company-wide energy monitoring systems, and the installation of photovoltaic systems at various locations. On top, we offset the carbon footprint of our gas consumption for all our facilities in Germany. To calculate the overall footprint of all other sites, globally, we take the location-based emission factor provided by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
In 2020, the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic also had a positive impact on the energy and water consumption at our sites. As a result, in 2020 our accumulated water savings amounted to 48% per employee compared to 2008. With these results, we have overachieved our targets of the last strategic cycle.
Supply chain: Our suppliers were able to exceed our five-year environmental targets on water, energy and waste in 2020:
- Water: With an aggregated reduction by 36% in water consumption at strategic Tier 1 supplier facilitites, and an aggregated reduction of 43% at strategic Tier 2 apparel material supplier facilities, we overachieved our targets of reaching a reduction of 20% (Tier 1) and 35% (Tier 2) over the five-year cycle 2015 - 2020.
- Energy: With an aggregated reduction by 23% in energy consumption at strategic Tier 1 supplier facilities and strategic Tier 2 apparel material facilities, we slightly exceeded out target of reaching a reduction level of 20% at these suppliers over the five-year cycle 2015 - 2020.
- Waste: With an aggregated reduction by 30% in waste volume at strategic Tier 1 supplier facilities and strategic Tier 2 apparel material supplier facilities, we overachieved our target of reaching a reduction by 20% at these suppliers over the five-year cycle 2015 - 2020.
Managing the environmental impacts at our own sites and along the value chain is a key focus of our work. We have developed an approach to address water efficiency and quality and are committed to reducing our absolute energy consumption and CO2 emissions, transitioning to clean energy and looking into energy-harvesting opportunities.
Environmental impacts – mitigating climate change
Achievement of carbon neutrality
|External supply chain:||
|2025||Energy||Adoption of renewable energy at strategic Tier 1 and Tier 2 supplier facilities to keep emissions flat||2017|
|2025||Chemicals||80% of supplier facilities that manage chemicals in their production process to achieve Level 3 compliance with 'Manufacturing Restricted Substances List' from ZDHC|
|2025||Water||40% reduction in water consumption at Tier 2 supplier facilities||2017|
|2025||Wastewater||80% of applicable suppliers that operate on-site effluents plants to achieve ‘ZDHC Wastewater Foundational Level'|
|2025||Decarbonization||15% reduction of CO2 emissions per product||2017|
|2030||Value chain (from raw material production to own operations)||30% reduction of CO2 emissions||2017|
|2050||Value chain (from raw material production to own operations)||Achievement of climate neutrality|
Through economic activities related to our business model, we create value that we need to balance with our environmental impact. However, being a company of our scale and global presence, we also have a social impact on our communities. adidas recognizes its responsibility to respect human rights and the importance of managing the appropriate due diligence to fulfill this obligation as a business. 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.
Social impacts – improving working conditions in our supply chain
|2025||Performance||In 2021, we will transition from our compliance benchmark (C-KPI), which is focused on management systems and supplier self-governance, to a new set of social indicators (S-KPI) that measure outcomes such as reduced accident rates, higher retention levels, or improved worker satisfaction. Through our new S-KPI tool, we will report annually on workplace conditions, including the effectiveness of our worker empowerment initiatives. The targets for 2025 will be defined in 2021.|
|2025||Transparency||As part of our broader risk management processes, we will increase the scope and application of Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) efforts. Our 2025 ambition is to achieve a 100% coverage of all ‘at risk’ activities, ensuring HRDD compliance is embedded across the organization. ‘At risk’ activities are those activities identified in our annual human rights risk mapping and flagged as having potential adverse human rights impacts that require prevention or mitigation.|
|2025||Fairness||The focus lies on gender equality, pay equity and responsible sourcing practices that support fair compensation for workers. Our ambition is to see progressive improvement across all fair compensation benchmarks and achieve gender wage parity for workers and their supervisors in each of our strategic Tier 1 suppliers by 2025.|