Today, the adidas Group announced that in 2014, it sourced more than 30 percent of all of its cotton as Better Cotton, exceeding the originally planned 25 percent target. This marks the sportswear giant’s highest volume of sustainable cotton use to date. The Better Cotton used in 2014 was predominantly sourced from farmers located in India, Pakistan and Brazil.
“At the adidas Group, we are constantly trying to increase the use of more sustainable materials for our products, and Better Cotton is a clear success story for us,” said John Mcnamara, SVP of Sourcing at adidas. “As a founding member of the Better Cotton Initiative, we firmly believe that Better Cotton is well on its way to becoming a sustainable mainstream commodity. We will continue to increase the amount of sustainable cotton we use over the coming years.”
The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) works with organizations from across the cotton supply chain and interested stakeholders to address the negative social and environmental impacts of mainstream cotton farming, such as excessive pesticide and water use, while also promoting fair working conditions for the cotton farmers and their workers.
adidas’ next target is to source 40 percent Better Cotton by the end of 2015, with a commitment to source 100 percent of its cotton across all product categories in all brands as ‘sustainable cotton’ by 2018. adidas says buy-in throughout its supply chain has been critical to reaching its targets; beginning in 2014, the company brought many of its suppliers into BCI, as well.
“It is critical to directly involve our suppliers in this journey and this is why they are becoming BCI members as well and are clear about the targets,” Ebru Gencoglu, Senior Manager of Materials Sourcing, EMEA, explained in a blog post. “Even though BCI was supported mainly by brands and retailers at the beginning, its success will come only if it is owned and supported by each member of the supply chain. This is an important message that we are all delivering to the industry.”
adidas says dentifying better ways to create products is a key component of its Sustainability Strategy. Aside from increasing the use of such as Better Cotton or recycled polyester, the company has also lowered its products' impacts through its DryDye technology and eliminating fabric waste through pattern efficiency. More information on the adidas Group’s progress in this area will be included in the company’s upcoming 2014 Sustainability Report, to be issued in April.
In July, two of BCI’s other founding members — WWF and IKEA — released a progress report highlighting the impacts of the Initiative’s work to make up 30 percent of global cotton production by 2020. The report outlines the organizations’ work on Better Cotton projects in India and Pakistan since 2005 — including reduced usage of water and chemical pesticides and fertilizers, along with improved earnings and social benefits for workers in the two countries.