It’s easy to fall for the charm of clever marketing by major brands offering products that you just ‘have to have.’ As consumers, we are constantly bombarded with advertising by big brands such as Nike and Adidas. Perhaps consumers wouldn’t feel so guilty about giving in to big brand advertising, if they knew the company practiced ethical business? This is exactly what Adidas has done, and they deserve the recognition.
The Brand with Three Stripes
Adidas AG was founded in 1949 by Adolf Dassler, and is one of the many stand out German multinational corporations. Based in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria, the brand manufactures sports and casual shoes, bags, shirts, watches, eyewear, and other accessories. It stands out as the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe, and the second biggest in the world, after Nike. As a brand, Adidas has grown in an eco-friendly direction, much to the pleasure of its huge range of followers. The company has a vision to improve their environmental footprint in all of their products, processes, and services. Their aim is to adopt a leadership role in environmental management to support their business performance. In this way the companyleads the way in achieving environmental sustainability.
In 2014, Adidas partnered with artist Pharrell Williams to collaborate with his brand Bionic Yarn founded in 2010, which produces fabric from marine plastic. It was an excellent move for Adidas, moving towards a more sustainable way of business. It was also the first time Adidas had partnered with a designer with their own textile company. Adidas also released a video detailing its commitment to using more sustainable materials and waste minimization in its design processes. Adidas by Stella McCartney included low-waste t-shirts and shorts made from 95 percent organic fabric and created through precise cutting techniques to ensure 95 percent of the fabric used makes it into the final products, with the remaining 5 percent recycled or repurposed. The ‘running’ apparel line was designed to maintain high-performance objectives while reducing material use as much as possible.
Adidas & Parley
Recently, Adidas has created a commendable partnership with an organization to clean up the world’s oceans. Adidas has teamed up with Parley for the Oceans, to develop materials made from marine plastic waste that can be used in Adidas products. If that isn’t enough, Adidas has also pledged to phase out the use of plastic bags at its 2,900 stores.
Parley for the Oceans is an organization that addresses major threats to our oceans. They believe that the power for change lies in the hands of the consumer, given he has a choice – and the shape of this new consumer mindset lies in the hands of the creative industries. It is artists, musicians, actors, directors, designers, journalists, architects, and scientists that can influence the reality that we live in and can develop alternative business models based on ecologically sensible products to give us an alternative choice.
“Parley is a wonderful platform that brings together all of these different artists, scientists, and people from the STEAM brain: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. You put them all together to talk about the problem and it brings them into the domains where the issue has not been talked about.” – Fabien Cousteau,French aquatic filmmaker and oceanographic explorer.
Adidas is working with Parley to develop fibers made from recycled ocean waste for use in its clothing, and potentially shoe uppers, to be released in 2016. Together, the Adidas Group and Parley for the Oceans will implement a long-term partnership programme that builds on three pillars: Communication and Education, Research and Innovation, as well as Direct Actions against Ocean Plastic Pollution. Dutch retailer G-Star Raw worked with Parley in 2014 to launch a denim line made from plastic waste. Adidas announced its ambitions to work with Parley and use marine waste for its products in its annual sustainability report, which detailed other steps the company is taking towards environmental practices, such as using more eco-friendly cotton, and more recycled polyester.
Whatever your personal preference is, when it comes to clothing and branding, one cannot overlook the significance of a big brand company like Adidas taking the initiative to change and adjust its practices for the better. Sustainability is something that needs to be a part of fashion, and shouldn’t need to be a separate issue. However, until that time comes, Adidas has proven to lead the fashion revolution for a cleaner, more sustainable industry.
Adidas Group’s approach towards Sustainability
- People: Positively influence the lives of employees, factory workers, and people living in the communities where Adidas has a business presence.
- Product: Find better ways to create products – mainly through innovation, increased use of more sustainable materials and efficiencies.
- Planet: Reduce the environmental footprint of both Adidas operations and suppliers’
- Partnership: Engage with critical stakeholders and collaborate with partners to improve the industry.