Through our economic activities we create value and make positive contributions to society. However, being a company of our scale and global presence, we also have a social impact on communities. adidas recognizes its responsibility to respect human rights and the importance of managing the appropriate due diligence to fulfill this obligation as a business. We do this by striving to operate responsibly along the entire value chain, by safeguarding the rights of our own employees and those of the workers who manufacture our products through our Workplace Standards, and by applying our influence to effect change wherever human rights issues are linked to our business activities.
Since its inception in 1997, our human and labor rights program has been built on the back of intense stakeholder outreach and engagement, seeking to understand and define the most salient human rights issues to address as a company. As part of our broader risk management processes, we are taking steps to increase the scope and application of Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence (‘HREDD’) efforts. We have defined those areas and assessment processes that need to be evaluated and strengthened in preparation for the implementation of the ‘German Act on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations in Supply Chains,’ which took effect in the beginning of 2023. As part of our HREDD efforts, in 2022, we focused on the following key areas, among others: creating and implementing our Human Rights Policy, addressing country-specific risks associated with our sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and addressing modern slavery risks in our supply chain through continued programs to ensure responsible recruitment of migrant workers.
In 2022, we launched our Human Rights Policy, which embeds our commitment to respecting and promoting the fulfillment of human rights and establishes an ongoing due diligence process to identify, address, evaluate, and communicate the risks of involvement with adverse human rights impacts through our own operations, products, or services, or via our business relationships. We have engaged in extensive consultation in the development of this policy, involving a wide range of internal stakeholders, including key business functions and employee representatives, as well as external stakeholders, civil society, business and human rights experts. Stakeholder feedback has informed the content of our Human Rights Policy and the measures taken to support its implementation and has further enhanced our understanding of the most salient issues to address as a company.
We continue to support improvements in the ongoing and independent accreditation of our supply-chain-facing social compliance program by the Fair Labor Association (‘FLA’). We have also maintained our commitment to the ‘Sporting Chance Principles’ and our seat on the Advisory Council of the Centre for Sport and Human Rights.
As a sponsor, we intensified our engagement with stakeholders over the hosting of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, paying close attention to the advocacy community’s concerns over migrant labor rights. This culminated in our publishing of a statement in August 2022, which called on FIFA, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (responsible for organizing the World Cup), and the Qatar Ministry of Labor to come together to discuss a remedy fund for workers. We continued to support several global trade unions with their plans for a migrant workers information center in Qatar, which is now slated to be launched as a World Cup legacy project in 2023. We also followed through with planned due diligence and labor rights training for our wholesale partners in Doha and again made public our list of suppliers responsible for World Cup production.
Since the military coup in Myanmar in February 2021, adidas has closely monitored the situation in the country and expressed concern about reports of violence, severe human rights, and labor rights risks for workers, and the fragile state of social and economic stability in the country. Given the increased risk of adverse human rights impacts in the country, we have closely followed the call of the international advocacy community and international due diligence standards – including the UN Guiding Principles and the OECD – and have heightened our due diligence processes for the few suppliers we have in this country. We will continue to engage with international and local stakeholders and collaborate with industry peers and associations to monitor the evolving operating environment and local context. This includes monitoring the status of international sanctions and trade agreements.
To implement responsible recruitment practices in the supply chain, adidas has continued its partnership with the International Organization for Migration (‘IOM’) through its ‘Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking’ (‘CREST’) initiative. In early 2022, IOM CREST launched a new resource for businesses, the ‘Migrant Worker Guidelines for Employers,’ which provides guidance on how to recruit and employ migrant workers in their supply chains ethically and responsibly. adidas was consulted and provided input on the development of this resource.
Transparency and recognition
Through our annual Modern Slavery Statements, annual progress updates, and other public disclosures on our corporate website and relevant third-party channels, we have shared the actions we have taken to address forced labor in our global supply chain, documenting risks and remedies. In 2022, we completed a review of our Modern Slavery Risk Assessment to ensure we accurately identify the potential risks and to set priorities for further action and engagement in 2023.
In recent years, we have received external recognition for our approach to managing human rights. For example, we hold overall industry leadership position in the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark of the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA), leadership position on the KnowTheChain forced labor benchmark as the highest-scoring European company, and rank in the top three in the first ever WBA Gender Benchmark. adidas-group.com/Sustainability