The guiding principle of Adi Dassler, the founder of adidas, is simple: to make athletes better. That is why, at adidas, innovation is at the core of all our products. The choice of materials and how they are manufactured are the two main ways by which our innovation teams can influence the environmental footprint of our products. To mention some examples: Avoiding oil-based plastic helps reduce carbon emissions. Thinner or lighter materials mean less waste and less embedded carbon. Dry-dyeing clothes saves water, chemicals and energy. Approaching the innovation challenge from an environmental perspective helps us make products that are better for consumers and better for the planet, too.
Here are examples of where environmentally friendly innovative ideas and new technologies have been used in the creation of our products.
Since 2015, adidas has partnered up with the environmental organization ,Parley for the Oceans’ and uses
Parley Ocean Plastic as an eco-innovative replacement for virgin plastic. We continued to roll out Parley
Ocean Plastic across key categories and introduced our own label in 2020 for products that contain a
certain amount of Parley Ocean Plastic: Primeblue.
In 2020, we produced more than 15 million pairs of shoes containing Parley Ocean Plastic. Our target for 2021 is to produce 17 million pairs of such shoes
adidas strengthens its commitment to tackling plastic waste with the reveal of Futurecraft.Loop - a 100% recyclable performance running shoe. The Futurecraft.Loop project is aimed at tackling the problem of plastic waste, enabling a “closed loop” or circular manufacturing model, where the raw materials can be repurposed again and again. But not just repurposed into a water bottle or a tote, but into another pair of high-performance running shoes.
Using more recycled polyester is a way we seek to improve our environmental footprint while
still making high-performance products for the athlete. Polyester is the most common single-used
material in adidas products and, by 2024, we aim to replace all virgin polyester with recycled polyester in
all products where a solution exists. We set clear internal milestones for product creation teams and have seen great progress throughout the last several seasons.
The ‘Primeblue’ and ‘Primegreen’ labels, which were introduced in 2020, mark products made with recycled materials. While offering full functionality and durability in sports, they avoid waste and preserve natural resources.
TRANSPORT AND PACKAGING
At adidas, we aim to avoid plastic waste and the use of recycled plastic not only in our products but also when it comes to transportation. One example is the use of polybags. They are a highly effective plastic packaging for protecting products during shipping, handling and storage, and are widely used across the fashion industry to ensure a safe arrival of garments to the consumer. With this in mind adidas is striving to develop and implement a solution for a circular use of polybags. For example, together with the global innovation platform ‘Fashion for Good’, we are exploring the development of a recycling infrastructure for used polybags as well as innovative recycling processes for polybags, testing the technical feasibility of polybag circularity. In addition, the company aims to reduce its use of virgin plastic and is well on track to meet its goal to transition to the use of 100% recycled LDPE polybags by 2021.
- As of March 2020, we have implemented a pilot scheme in London to test and establish an infrastructure in which circular polybags could exist: Through this program, polybags will be collected and recycled from select retail stores in central London.
- In Spain, we are testing a complete recycling loop for polybags called the 'Circular Polybag Pilot'. It focuses on manufacturing a suitable polybag by using post-consumer polybag waste. One of the industry challenges it seeks to address is how to deal with ink and adhesive contaminants during the recycling process.