2021 Stories

Our sustainability initiatives

Help end plastic waste

Our gameplan

All of us influence the future and every choice we make has an effect. The environmental damage of plastic waste has reached a critical level. As a large global company, we have been a big contributor to the problem, and therefore our actions need to be equally as big.

However, could changing the materials used in sports help end plastic waste? We believe that it can help accelerate toward that goal. We have a twenty-year track record of working toward sustainability, and more recently have doubled down on a journey to seek out better solutions for high-performance materials that have minimal environmental compromise.

We have made a commitment to help end plastic waste through innovation and partnerships, and have defined several ambitions that come to life in our ‘Three Loop Strategy,’ focusing on three categories:

Recycled Loop – made from recycled materials: includes materials such as , as well as Primeblue and Primegreen performance fabrics that will help achieve our commitment to eliminate the use of virgin polyester by 2024. Primeblue is a performance fabric made in part with Parley Ocean Plastic, while Primegreen is made in part with recycled materials.

Circular Loop – made to be remade: the loop creation process ensures no loss of performance between generations. Product will be worn, worn out and returned to us, each pair moving us closer to a more sustainable future to help end plastic waste.

Regenerative Loop – made with nature: these products are made in part with natural and renewable materials to design out finite resources and help end plastic waste.

  • Video about Plastic Waste (Photo)
    At adidas, we’re developing products made to be remade and exploring materials made with nature. Collaboration is key, because only with collective action real change is possible.

adidas x Parley for the Oceans

The partnership between and adidas was originally announced at the 2015 Parley ‘Oceans. Climate. Life.’ event at the United Nations in New York. Back then, we had created a concept shoe with an upper made of yarns and filaments, reclaimed and recycled from plastic waste from beaches and coastal communities as well as illegal deep-sea gillnets. It was a first for the industry. During the last six years, we successfully commercialized our concept of turning plastic waste into yarn and creating shoes with Parley Ocean Plastic.

In 2021, we created two new Parley footwear products:

The Ultraboost 21 x Parley is a performance running shoe with sustainability at its core. The shoe features a forged Primeknit upper made in part with Primeblue, a high-performance recycled yarn containing 50% Parley Ocean Plastic, which is upcycled plastic waste intercepted on beaches and in coastal communities, preventing it from polluting the oceans. The Ultraboost 6.0 DNA x Parley features the iconic Ultraboost silhouette with an upper made of adidas Primeknit, which is once again created in part with Primeblue, while the cage and heel counter are made of a layered material consisting of recycled plastics. 20% of which comes from reprocessed end-of-life fishing nets.

  • Terrex clothing with Parley Ocean Plastic (Photo)
  • Terrex shoe with Parley Ocean Plastic (Photo)

We also introduced outdoor apparel in an industry-first collaboration between Parley for the Oceans and the material science company PrimaLoft: the statement adidas Terrex MyShelter Parley anorak and adidas Terrex MyShelter PrimaLoft hooded jacket. Both feature a woven shell made in part with recycled material, featuring PrimaLoft insulation x Parley Ocean Plastic to develop high-performance insulation from plastic waste. The insulation is composed of 100% recycled fiber with key features such as quick drying, lightweight, durability, thermal efficiency and breathability. The MyShelter snow jacket features a series of high-performance recycled stretch materials to allow freedom of movement. Its rain.rdy technology is complimented by a PrimaLoft x insulation.

  • For us, it’s all about the love of snow. To stay true to our commitment to help end plastic waste, pieces of our snow collection 2021 offer more sustainable solutions for winter sports.

2021 also marked the fourth year of Run for the Oceans. Once again, runners worldwide participated in the event that took place from May 28 to June 8. For every kilometer run via the adidas Running as well as Strava and Joyrun apps, we, together with Parley, committed to cleaning up the equivalent weight of ten plastic bottles, up to a maximum of 500,000 lbs of marine plastic waste from beaches, remote islands, and coastlines. We are proud to announce that Run for the Oceans was bigger and more successful than ever before: In 2021, 5,045,968 participants ran 56,123,178 km.

  • Video for the ‚Run for the Oceans‘ campaign (Photo)
    It’s us versus plastic waste. With #RunfortheOceans, we called on runners worldwide to act and together help end plastic waste.

Made to be remade

‘Made To Be Remade’ (MTBR) is a product line that is made to be worn; returned to us; shredded and ground down; and remade into something new. Every MTBR product has a QR code attached to it, functioning as a gateway to a digital experience, educating and engaging consumers whilst also enabling them to return the product. In 2021, we increased our MTBR product line-up and made progress in our endeavor for circularity. After three generations of prototypes, we dropped the first Ultraboost DNA Made to be Remade, which is made from 100% TPU, on Earth Day in April.

  • ‚Made To Be Remade‘ products (Photo)
  • ‚Made To Be Remade‘ products (Photo)
  • ‚Made To Be Remade‘ products (Photo)
  • ‚Made To Be Remade‘ products (Photo)

With limited available pairs, another adidas icon joined the MTBR family in October: the Stan Smith MTBR. Just like the Ultraboost model, the Stan Smith MTBR has been created entirely from TPU. It is the first commercial MTBR footwear product that is not performance focused, offering a greater choice to conscious consumers who are looking for alternatives to some of adidas’ most iconic silhouettes. Beyond the track and street, some of our most-known outdoor products are also receiving the MTBR treatment. In October, we welcomed the Terrex Free Hiker MTBR, featuring a TPU knitted upper and TPU outsole, making it the first Terrex hiking shoe to use the technology. The shoe was accompanied by the launch of the Terrex MTBR anorak – our second-generation prototype following the FW20 Futurecraft.Loop anorak, that will be available on the market in 2022.

Furthermore, our offering was expanded with new MTBR running and adidas by Stella McCartney apparel.

‚Made To Be Remade‘ products (Photo)

adidas x Allbirds

Decrease your carbon footprint

Together with Allbirds we saw the possibilities of collaboration over competition. At 2.94kg CO2e, Futurecraft.Footprint is the result of a shared ambition to make a performance running shoe with as low of a carbon footprint as possible – a personal best for both brands. Just eight months after the concept was introduced, we are announcing the commercial launch of Futurecraft.Footprint.

  • Performance running shoe Futurecraft.Footprint (Photo)
  • Performance running shoe Futurecraft.Footprint (Photo)

Taking our brand’s collaborative concept shoe from moonshot project to a realization of low-carbon, customized performance footwear, demonstrating the power of collaboration to the rest of the sportswear industry and beyond. In under twelve months, we reimagined materials, manufacturing techniques and even packaging to reach the lowest possible CO2 impact – whilst chasing the vision for a low-carbon shoe without compromising on performance. The design of the shoe itself centers around the overall philosophy of ’the art of reduction‘ – giving runners exactly what they need, and nothing more. The design teams took inspiration from what is known as the tangram principle, in treating the pieces of material like a tangram puzzle – fitting them perfectly together to minimize wastage, offering a saving on carbon emissions. For maximum impact, this concept was applied to both the shoe’s upper and outsole. The shoe was launched with a limited drop in December 2021. An expanded release featuring four new colorways will follow in Spring 2022.

Read more about the collaboration with Allbirds on our corporate blog GamePlan A.

  • Video for the Futurecraft.Footprint campaign (Photo)
    adidas x Allbirds is a call to action for other brands and a milestone on the road to in the sports industry.

‘Futurecraft.footprint is an important reminder that we can achieve more together than we can separately, especially when it comes to the race against climate change.’

Tim Brown, Co-Founder and Co-CEO at Allbirds
Performance running shoe Futurecraft.Footprint (Photo)

Choose to give back

The possibility to give old gear new life

In cooperation with the world’s largest second-hand platform thredUP, we launched ‘Choose to Give Back’ in North America – a resale program that has been designed to extend the lifecycle of sports and apparel and footwear. The program invites consumers to send used products back to us via the adidas app to be reused or resold. To participate, consumers can generate a Clean Out Kit prepaid shipping label through the app and use it to send apparel and accessories across any brand or category, including their used sports gear. If an item is not in a condition to be resold, it will go through thredUP’s select network of textile reuse partners. In exchange for sending in their old gear, Creators Club members will earn rewards. ‘Choose to Give Back’ will be expanded online and in stores by early 2022.

  • ‘Done’ happens to all of us. That’s why in 2021, we launched ‘Choose to Give Back’, a resale program enabled by thredUP.

‘The end of one thing is the beginning of the next. This is the beginning of a more responsible future by keeping gear in play to help end plastic waste.’

Katja Schreiber, SVP Sustainability at adidas

The beginning of a more responsible future

In 2021, we partnered up with Spinnova. The company has developed breakthrough technology for making textile fiber out of wood or waste, such as leather, textile or food waste, without harmful chemicals. The patented Spinnova fiber creates zero waste and side streams or microplastics, produces minimal CO2 emissions and has a lower water consumption.

We also intensified our cooperation with the Infinited Fiber Company as part of our strategic ambition to have nine out of ten articles feature a sustainable technology, material, design or manufacturing method by 2025. The Infinited Fiber Company developed a cellulose-based material derived from recycled cotton-rich textile waste, which boasts properties like those of cotton but with a significantly lower carbon footprint.

Also new in 2021: Our partnership with the Danish start-up Pond Biomaterials. Our common goal is to substitute fossil-based plastic materials with plant-based raw materials with the aim to reduce the environmental impact of the footwear and apparel industry while creating good sports performance products for athletes. Pond uses advanced technology to create strong and durable biocomposites. Bioresins and engineered biocomposites use existing industrial equipment and manufacturing setups, allowing for a seamless transition to environmentally friendly production. The engineered biocomposites are biodegradable, compostable and reusable.

Parley Ocean Plastic

‘Parley Ocean Plastic’ is a material created from upcycled plastic waste that was intercepted from beaches and coastal communities before reaching the ocean. The organization ‘Parley for the Oceans’ works with its partners to collect, sort and transport the recovered raw material (mainly PET bottles) to our supplier who produces the yarn, which is legally trademarked. It is used as a replacement for virgin plastic in the making of adidas x Parley products.

Parley for the Oceans

‘Parley for the Oceans’ is an environmental organization and global collaboration network. Founded in 2012, the initiative aims to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of the oceans, and to inspire and empower diverse groups such as pacesetting companies, brands, organizations, governments, artists, designers, scientists, innovators and environmentalists in the exploration of new ways of creating, thinking and living on our finite, blue planet.

Parley Ocean Plastic

‘Parley Ocean Plastic’ is a material created from upcycled plastic waste that was intercepted from beaches and coastal communities before reaching the ocean. The organization ‘Parley for the Oceans’ works with its partners to collect, sort and transport the recovered raw material (mainly PET bottles) to our supplier who produces the yarn, which is legally trademarked. It is used as a replacement for virgin plastic in the making of adidas x Parley products.

Climate neutrality

Climate neutrality refers to a concept of a state in which human activities result in no net effect on the climate system. Achieving such a state requires balancing residual emissions with emission removals as well as accounting for regional or local bio-geophysical effects of human activities that, for example, affect surface albedo (i.e., solar radiation reflected by a surface) or local climate (definition according to ‘Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Glossary‘).

Lifestyle

Under the ‘Lifestyle’ category, we subsume all footwear, apparel, and ‘accessories and gear’ products that are born from sport and worn for style. ‘adidas Originals,’ which is inspired by sport and worn on the street, is at the heart of the ‘Lifestyle’ category.

Creators Club

‘Creators Club’ is a membership program that helps us deepen the relationship with our consumers. Linking all adidas apps, events, communities and channels into one single profile, the program rewards members with points for interacting with the brand, e.g., when making a purchase or using the ‘adidas Running’ or ‘adidas Training’ apps. Depending on the number of points, exclusive benefits are unlocked, including access to hype sneaker and apparel drops or invitations to special events.