Adidas ‘strives for sustainability’ with new 2020 targets

German sportswear company Adidas has revealed how it plans to "create responsibility", by unveiling numerous footprint reduction targets for 2020, which have been outlined in its latest sustainability report.

Adidas has revealed new four-year goals that aim to tackle water and energy use at its own sites and in the “majority” of its suppliers, while new measures to reduce waste-to-landfill and carbon emissions have also been introduced.

“There is a good chance that 2016 will be an extraordinarily successful year for the [us],” Adidas’s chief executive officer, Herbert Hainer said. “But I can already promise you now: we will never rest on our laurels. Just like a true athlete always strives for more, our sustainability efforts are never done.”

As part of the company’s sustainability report, Adidas has committed to reducing annual carbon reductions by 3% each year by 2020. In an attempt to curb water use, a new 50% reduction in apparel material water consumption has been set, while the company is also aiming to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill by 50%.

As part of the waste-to-landfill goal, Adidas will attempt to reduce paper usage per employee by 75% against a 2008 baseline, despite falling 12% short of the 50% target for 2015.

Water savings at sites owned and operated by Adidas will have to reach 35% under the commitment, with the uptake of “waterless tech” accelerated to help reach this goal. As part of the key footprint reductions, the majority of suppliers will also be tasked with reducing water and energy use and waste creation by 20% by 2020.

Adidas has also called on these suppliers to implement a self-governance system for audits and inspections, after the company cancelled operational contracts with three suppliers which failed to comply with ethical standards in 2015.

A 2018 target to completely switch to sustainable cotton sources is also in place, with the company currently sourcing 43% of its global cotton from the Better Cotton initiative.

Despite successfully hitting the majority of its targets for 2015, Adidas is turning to ISO 14001 standards to drive energy reductions, after the company missed the 20% target for 2015 by 5%.

But an introduction of 40 energy efficiency projects and numerous carbon offsetting initiatives over the last 12 months has seen Adidas reduce carbon emissions per square metre of owned sites by 30% in 2015.

Sports Infinity

Last year also saw Adidas implement the new Sports Infinity programme aimed at creating a closed-loop material production process. The scheme, backed by the European Commission under a nine-strong company coalition, attempts to negate the need for virgin plastics by emphasising the use of recyclable compounds which can be moulded using 3D printers.

This innovation push has already led to the creation of the world’s first sports shoe made entirely from reclaimed and recycled ocean waste – including a 3D-printed midsole – as part of Adidas’s partnership with ocean conservation group Parley for the Oceans.

Alongside Levi’s, H&M and Nike, Adidas are part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), which aims to streamline the various audits and assessments that manufacturers must comply with into one standardised assessment.

Matt Mace

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