Adidas Goes ‘All In’ to Embrace Sustainability

Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship: Member Spotlight
Sep 17, 2014 9:10 AM ET

According to a 2011 MIT Sloan School of Management study, 67 percent of global executives say that sustainability strategies are necessary to be competitive. As a global leader in the sporting goods industry, the adidas Group recently redesigned its sustainability journey into a “4Ps” model emphasizing people, product, planet, and partnership. Now, as part of its mature chemical management program, the company will screen and manage chemical input at the supplier level through a recent partnership with bluesign technologies, a company dedicated to sustainable movement within textile industries. Considering the adidas Group’s subsequent commitment to go 99 percent PFC-free by no later than 2017, the German-based company is well on its way to bolstering its corporate responsibility edge.

With more than 50,000 employees in 161 offices globally, the multinational retailer has long prioritized measures of sustainability that go above and beyond legal standards. In 2000, it became one of the first companies in the global consumer goods sector to eliminate PVC, one of the most toxic plastics, from its products and is currently moving toward printing with phthalate-free inks, since phthalate is a suspected carcinogen. The Group relentlessly innovates product, always ensuring environmental considerations are part of the creation processes - such as in the case of the adidas Element Refine Tricot shoe, the flagship product of the adidas “Low Waste” initiative, which minimizes waste thanks to its simplified design and 95% of pattern efficiency.

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