Adidas launches take-back platform to reuse and resell sportswear

Global sportswear brand Adidas has unveiled a new take-back scheme for old running shoes and sports garments, regardless of brand, in a bit to improve the circularity of the sector.

Adidas launches take-back platform to reuse and resell sportswear

To participate

Adidas has launched the Choose to Give Back programme, which enables users to extend the lifecycle of sports performance & lifestyle apparel and footwear.

Users can send used products from any brand to Adidas via its Creator’s Club app. The products will be handled by thredUP’s Resale-as-a-Service (RaaS) platform to ensure they are resold where possible, or reused into other products.

To participate, consumers can generate a Clean Out Kit prepaid shipping label through the app to send back gear. Users earn rewards for doing so.

“We believe that great performance shouldn’t come at the cost of the environment. That’s why we’re committed to establishing a circular future for sportswear, and with the Choose to Give Back program are helping people to see new possibilities to give old gear new life,” Adidas’ senior vice president of sustainability Katja Schreiber said.

The new programme builds towards Adidas’ ambition to use 100% recycled polyester in its products by 2024.

Earlier this year, Adidas and Allbirds unveiled a prototype pair of running shoes with a carbon footprint of less than 3kg, well below the industry average of 13.6kg.

Each pair of shoes has a carbon footprint of 2.94 kg of CO2e. Neither Adidas nor Allbirds has produced a shoe with this low footprint before and the brands claim the shoe is “as close to zero carbon emissions as they could possibly achieve”.

Adidas and Allbirds first announced that they were collaborating to develop the low-carbon shoes in early 2020, setting an ambition to develop the world’s lowest-carbon sports shoes to date.

Adidas has committed to a 30% reduction in its carbon footprint by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

However, the company was recently placed in the “red zone” for its sustainability claims. A study of the websites of 12 of the biggest British and European fashion brands, including Asos, H&M and Zara, has found that 60% of the environmental claims could be classed as “unsubstantiated” and “misleading”.

The Changing Markets Foundation’s ‘Synthetics Anonymous’ report assessed brands across the spheres of fast fashion, luxury fashion and online retailing based on their sustainability claims.

Across all topics, none of the brands received an overall classification as a ‘frontrunner’. Most of the brands to have received the worst overall classification, the ‘red zone’, simply failed to disclose to the Foundation or to provide information online.

Adidas did disclose, however, stating that some 90% of products contain virgin synthetics, with polyester being the single most-used fibre across its clothing range.

“Adidas has a reputation for driving innovative, sustainable solutions globally, and thredUP is thrilled to support their latest initiative to encourage more circular habits among consumers,” thredUP’s senior vice president Pooja Sethi said.

“By enabling resale at scale with customizable solutions for leading brands and retailers, we’re keeping high-quality clothes in use longer and fighting fashion waste.”

Matt Mace

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