Product, Service & Design Innovation
adidas Partners to Help End Ocean Destruction, Releases Sustainability Progress Report

Today, the adidas Group announced a partnership with Parley for the Oceans, an initiative dedicated to raising awareness about the beauty and fragility of the oceans and to collaborating on projects that can end their destruction. Together, the organizations will implement a long-term program that builds on three pillars: communication and education; research and innovation; and direct actions against ocean plastic pollution.

The partnership is an example of adidas’ open-source innovation approach, to engage with partners, crowdsource ideas and co-create the future of the industry. Among others, this collaboration will accelerate the integration of materials made of ocean plastic waste into adidas products as of 2016*.*

"Our oceans are about to collapse and there is not much time left to turn it around. Nobody can solve this alone. Everyone has to be part of the solution. And collaboration is the magic formula,” said Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans. “We are extremely excited about this partnership. There is no other brand that carries the culture of collaboration in the DNA like adidas. Together, we will not only focus on creating the next generation of design concepts, technologies, materials and products. We will also engage consumers, athletes, artists, designers, actors, musicians, scientists and environmentalists to raise their voice and contribute their skills for the ocean cause.”

adidas says the partnership builds on its goals for product sustainability and will further strengthen the company’s ties with its consumers by allowing them to be part of the solution via retail and future activations. As a first action, the adidas Group has also decided to phase out the use of plastic bags in its own retail stores.

The announcement of the partnership comes with the publication of the adidas Group’s 2014 Sustainability Progress Report, Make a Difference, the company’s 15th. Highlights include:


  • The SMS Worker Hotline, launched at the end of 2012, was expanded to a total of twenty-five factories across Indonesia and Vietnam, covering roughly 160,000 factory workers.
  • Employee volunteering hours achieved an all-time record, with a total of 28,750.


  • The number of products integrating DryDye fabric has steadily increased, reaching four million yards of DryDye fabric produced by the end of 2014, and saving 100 million liters of water. Limited to apparel so far, this game-changing technology will be introduced to footwear in the 2016 adidas Spring/Summer collection.
  • In 2014, the adidas Group used more sustainable cotton than ever before, as the company sourced more than 30% of all its cotton as Better Cotton, exceeding the originally planned 25% target. The adidas Group has committed to source 100% of cotton across all product categories in all its brands as sustainable cotton by 2018.
  • Increasing quantities of recycled polyester have been integrated into the product offer, with key products being the 2014 Anthem jackets used as warm-up jackets for a range of sports (e.g. Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in football).


  • The company opened its first sustainable retail concept in the HomeCourt store in Nuremberg, Germany. The store is equipped with a number of resource- and energy-saving features and installations.
  • A total of 143 environmental audits were performed at the Group’s suppliers. This number includes specific chemical management audits.
  • The increasing use of virtual samples allowed the Group to save more than 1.9 million physical samples between 2011 and 2014.


  • To further improve its chemical management program, adidas entered into a strategic partnership with bluesign technologies, which the company says is already bringing multiple benefits, including more responsible use of resources in the manufacturing process.
  • To achieve convergence and consistency of monitoring tools, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) Higg 2.0 Index Environmental Facility Module was integrated into the company’s environmental supply chain work, replacing the current environmental audit tool.
  • In 2014, the adidas Group celebrated 15 years of partnership with the Fair Labor Association.

Looking ahead, adidas says it will focus on:

  • Driving self-governance in the company’s supply chain, which gives suppliers higher responsibility to manage their downstream supply chains and move towards public reporting.
  • Accelerating strategic initiatives in the following areas: further promoting worker empowerment, moving the company’s chemical management program to the next level, minimizing its water footprint, and applying human rights due diligence in all business operations.
  • Engaging with consumers around the topic of sustainability.

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