Adidas announces detox roadmap on eve of World Cup

Sportswear giant Adidas has unveiled details of a new 'roadmap' towards the elimination of hazardous chemicals from its products and supply chain, after being embroiled in a 'toxic scandal' ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

In collaboration with Greenpeace’s Detox campaign, the official World Cup sponsor has laid out a credible plan for the elimination of polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), setting key milestones to achieve full supply chain transparency.

“For years, the Adidas Group has been running leadership programmes in the area of chemical management,” reads a statement from the group. “Back in 1998, the company pioneered a Restricted Substances Policy, prohibiting the use of chemicals considered as harmful or toxic. Since then, the Adidas Group has continuously made progress.

“To further enhance the Adidas Group’s chemical management programme, and in line with the company’s existing programmes and policies, the Adidas Group is today publicly committing to two additional best practices in the industry.”

As part of the agreement, Adidas will ensure 99% of all of its products are PFC-free by 2017, leading to full elimination by 2020. In line with the ‘Right-to-Know’ of local communities and the brand’s customers, Adidas has also set ambitious goals to achieve full supply-chain transparency by 2020.

Toxic-free future

Last month’s investigation from Greenpeace discovered hazardous PFCs in numerous Adidas, Nike and Puma products. PFCs are used in the manufacturing of clothing and shoes to keep them dirt and water resistant. However, once released, these chemicals are known to accumulate in the environment and can impact upon human health.

The findings led to a protest at an international friendly match in Mexico a few weeks ago, with Greenpeace activists deploying a banner reading ‘Adidas Detox Football’ in the stands. The sportswear firm initially hit back, with a company spokesperson telling edie that Adidas’ entire inventory ‘fully meets all legal requirements’.

Manfred Santen, detox campaigner at Greenpeace Germany, said this new announcement from Adidas ‘represents a major step towards the toxic-free future we need’.

“This credible approach with achievable milestones shows Adidas is back on-side with Detox,” said Santen. “This is a victory for Adidas’ customers, for the local communities forced to live with toxic-water pollution and for our future generations. Global brands like Adidas have the power and the responsibility to help us kick out these dangerous chemicals for good.

“We have once more seen the strength of people power – Adidas has listened to the global call for action and accepted responsibility for its environmental footprint. With this news, Adidas has regained its position as a Detox frontrunner in the sports industry – the world is watching and waiting for Nike and Puma to catch up.”

Luke Nicholls

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