Diversity and Inclusion

Activating our purpose

‘Through sport, we have the power to change lives’ is our company’s purpose. Together with our employees, partners, communities, and consumers, we act on that purpose by fostering a culture of inclusion, impact, and shared opportunity on and off the field of play. We focus our activation efforts on four areas: ‘She Breaks Barriers’, which is aimed at getting girls to join and stay in sport, ‘One Starting Line’, which is aimed at increasing inclusivity for all in sport and sports culture, ‘End Plastic Waste, which is aimed at protecting the world’s oceans for future generations, and ‘Diversity and Inclusion’. To maximize impact, we leverage brand moments to raise awareness of these topics and create opportunities to engage and get involved, such as by providing volunteering opportunities for our employees. All of our initiatives and activities in this area are centrally managed by a dedicated ‘Global Purpose’ team, reporting into the Executive Board Member responsible for Global Human Resources. Since 2020 was a year of unprecedented adversity around the world, many of our actions were in response to these events.

In the wake of the global covid-19 pandemic, we took several actions to help communities worldwide weather the crisis – from fundraising and donations to mask production and employee engagement. In addition, there were numerous activities and measures taken at the local level around the world.

  • Fundraising and donations: We donated to the World Health Organization’s ‘Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund’ and to the ‘China Youth Development Foundation’, and, together with our consumers and employees, raised and donated funds through e-commerce giveback programs and the #hometeamhero challenge – a digital challenge that encouraged physical activity through the ‘adidas Running’ and ‘adidas Training’ apps as well as partner apps, with a donation made by the company per every hour of activity.
  • Mask production and donation: In April 2020, we partnered with Carbon, a 3D-printing technology company, and produced face shields that were donated to hospitals, healthcare organizations, and various medically focused non-profit organizations. In total, 75,000 face shields were made and donated.
  • Employee volunteering: Using the community impact platform DEED, which we have rolled out to employees in several markets around the world in 2020, we created a country-specific covid-19 fundraiser for the US and Canada, Germany, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Panama, Turkey, Israel, India, and South Africa. In addition, we coordinated volunteering opportunities for our employees across North America, Latin America, and Germany.

In addition to our efforts to help cope with the covid-19 crisis, we supported other disaster-relief actions in 2020. For example, together with contributions from our employees, we donated funds to support wildfire relief in Australia and North America, as well as to help the people of Beirut following the port explosion in August 2020.

Diversity and inclusion

We strongly believe that diversity, inclusion, and equality are key to the success of our company. To be the best sports brand in the world, we need the best diverse talent that reflects the diversity of our customers and consumers. We celebrate this diversity as it helps us better serve the communities we work in, while also providing a competitive business advantage.

United against racism – our commitments

We have always been and will always be against discrimination in all forms and stand united against racism. To emphasize this principle, we shared a list of global commitments in June 2020. They describe how we aim to contribute to creating lasting change. The commitments include, among others, investing $ 120 million in the US toward ending racism and supporting Black communities through to 2025, and funding 50 university scholarships in the US each year for Black and LatinX students. We also set new targets for increased representation of Black and LatinX people within our US workforce. Our aim is to fill at least 30% of all new positions in the US with Black and LatinX people. The commitments further encompass establishing a global committee to accelerate inclusion and equality, strengthening our global anti-discrimination and non-retaliation policy, reforming our hiring and career development processes, signing the Juneteenth Pledge, and increasing support for communities.

We already took action on several of these commitments in the latter half of 2020:

  • We funded scholarship programs for Black and LatinX students and made an initial contribution to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as part of singer and adidas partner Beyoncé’s ‘BeyGOOD’ fund to support Black-owned small businesses.
  • The ‘Committee to Accelerate Inclusion & Equality’ has been put in operation. Sponsored by adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted, it focuses on the advancement of underrepresented groups and drives companywide change. The committee includes company decision makers as well as representatives from all adidas regions and people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Our talent acquisition and key talent management processes are currently under review to validate opportunities to further strengthen our inclusive talent processes for hiring, talent management and succession decisions.
  • We updated our ‘Global Policy on Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination’ in September. The framework details how adidas prevents, detects, and responds to all forms of discrimination and harassment with very clear messaging on our zero-tolerance approach. ADIDAS.COM/US/LASTING_CHANGE

Furthermore, we provided our employees with a platform on our intranet to support and promote dialogue around our anti-racism and anti-discrimination work. Throughout the company, we continue to support and grow our ‘Employee Resource Groups’ – these are specific networks that give employees from various walks of life a voice and serves members by fostering a diverse inclusive workplace. We now have more than 40 of these groups around the globe with different focuses on diversity dimensions such as People of Color, Women, LGBTQ+, Experienced Generation, Faith, and Disability and Mental Health. Participation in the groups is voluntary and open to all employees.

Diversity & Inclusion framework

In 2020, we redefined our framework for diversity and inclusion with a clear definition of what diversity and inclusion mean to us as a company: They mean championing individual uniqueness, and cultivating a culture of belonging so that everyone can create at their best. The framework highlights our approach both internally and externally which is why we defined three strategic focus areas:

  • Workplace: We want to create a work environment where all employees feel like they belong, are valued and are engaged to produce exceptional results.
  • Workforce: We want to attract, recruit, promote, and retain the best talent and maintain a diverse workforce at all levels and areas of the business.
  • Marketplace: We want to represent the diverse communities we serve through our communications, products, partnerships, and investments.

As part of the three focus areas, we have made global internal commitments to promote inclusion and equality at adidas. These commitments are supported by specific actions with clear timelines, and progress is communicated internally. This action plan underpins our stance against discrimination and microaggressions.

One of the commitments we made was the introduction of a global anti-racism and unconscious-bias training – the ‘Creating a Culture of Inclusion (CCI) Team Workout’. The training, which was mandatory for all employees, was rolled out globally in the third quarter of 2020 and completed in early 2021. The program consisted of six modules which focused on topics such as diversity dimensions, privilege, and inclusive team behaviors. The content was aimed at educating teams on diversity and inclusion topics that may impact performance and the sense of belonging, both individually and as a team.

In addition, we held a virtual ‘Global Day of Inclusion’ in September 2020, which offered employees an opportunity to reflect, learn, and celebrate inclusion. The day was about taking the time to embrace the various backgrounds, experiences and perspectives of all our communities by exploring different stories through a business panel, an athlete panel, and more.

Female leadership

We are convinced that mixed leadership teams have a competitive advantage and are drivers of business success. adidas is committed to ensuring equitable representation across all diversity dimensions in leadership positions, which includes enhancing our current focus on gender equality. A prerequisite for increasing the number of women at the highest levels of management is the general promotion of women within the company worldwide at all levels. We have various initiatives in place to guarantee that our succession pipeline is balanced, including mentoring of female talent as well as an equal gender split in our Global and Local High Potential programs.

By the end of 2020, the company had recorded a total of 35% of women globally in management positions (2019: 34%), exceeding the 2020 target of 32%. Our ambition is to further increase the share of women in leadership positions globally from 2021 onward. Pursuant to the German Law on Equal Participation of Women and Men in Leadership Positions in the Private and Public Sector, the adidas AG Supervisory Board determined target figures for the percentage of female representation on the Executive Board, including corresponding deadlines for their achievement.The Executive Board determined such target figures for the first two management levels below the Executive Board, including deadlines for their achievement, for adidas AG. See Declaration on Corporate Governance

Women in management positions



BIPoC stands for ‘Black, Indigenous and People of Color’.