Product, Service & Design Innovation
adidas, Parley for the Oceans Unveil First Footwear Made from Upcycled Ocean Waste

This week at the United Nations headquarters, adidas celebrated its new partnership with Parley for the Oceans by showcasing the first innovative footwear concept born from the collaboration.

Parley for the Oceans brings together creators, thinkers and leaders to raise awareness about the disastrous state of the oceans and to collaborate on promising projects that can protect and conserve them. As a founding member, adidas supports Parley for the Oceans in its education and communication efforts and its Ocean Plastic Program that aims to end the rampant plastic pollution of the oceans.

On Monday, the UN hosted Parley Talks entitled "Oceans. Climate. Life." in New York at the General Assembly Hall at a high-level event on climate change convened by the President of the General Assembly. Environmentalists, creatives, scientists and entrepreneurs gave a briefing on the dire state of the oceans and climate change, while Parley collaborators presented their visions, projects, inventions and solutions.

The UNxParley event included an intimate press gathering where adidas Group Executive Board Member Global Brands Eric Liedtke and Parley for the Oceans founder Cyrill Gutsch discussed the partnership and showcased their first prototype product: the world’s first shoe with an upper made entirely of yarns and filaments reclaimed and recycled from ocean waste and illegal deep-sea gillnets. Parley partner Sea Shepherd retrieved these nets after a 110-day expedition tracking an illegal poaching vessel, which culminated off the coast of West Africa.

The concept shoe illustrates the joint commitment of adidas and Parley for the Oceans and offers a first look at the kind of consumer-ready ocean plastic products that will be revealed later this year.

"At Parley for the Oceans, we want to establish the oceans as a fundamental part of the debate around climate change," Gutsch said. "Our objective is to boost public awareness and to inspire new collaborations that can contribute to protect and preserve the oceans. We are extremely proud that adidas is joining us in this mission and is putting its creative force behind this partnership to show that it is possible to turn ocean plastic into something cool."

Liedtke, who is also a member of the Parley for the Oceans Steering Committee, said: "We are incredibly excited to join Parley for the Oceans as they bring the cause of the oceans to the attention of the United Nations. This partnership allows us to tap into new areas and create innovative materials and products for our athletes. We invite everyone to join us on this journey to clean up the oceans."

adidas’ new shoe is one of a growing number of products — everything from packaging, denim and carpet to socks, wetsuits and skateboards — being created from the trillions of pieces of plastic floating in the world’s oceans. Meanwhile, a Dutch startup called The Ocean Cleanup will begin next year to passively collect plastic debris in the waters between Japan and South Korea, near the island group of Tsushima. The system will act as a barrier, trapping floating debris and allowing ships to pick it up using a conveyor belt 7,900 times faster than current methods, and at just 3 percent of the current cost. If deployed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch for 10 years, the company says it could remove 42 percent of the trash, at a cost of around $5 a kilo.


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