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Adidas Launches 2015 Group Environmental Strategy

Adidas has achieved targets to launch a sustainable supply chain program and finalize its 2015 group environmental strategy, but has missed targets on ISO 14001 certification and on monitoring its environmental footprint.

The group’s Sustainability Report 2010 outlines the Adidas Group Environmental Strategy 2015, a plan to reduce the company’s environmental footprint 15 percent by 2015, relative to sales. The plan includes a number of targets covering the Adidas supply chain from product creation, sourcing and manufacturing to own-brand store operation and other sales points.

Individual targets under the plan include a 20 percent relative reduction in energy consumption, 30 percent relative cut in carbon emissions, 20 percent increase in water savings per employee, and 25 percent reduction in waste per employee.

The company reported another target met with the launch of its environmental supply chain program at the start of 2010. This initiative includes audit checklists and remediation guidelines. The company reports that 83 percent of its global athletic footwear is sourced from suppliers that are both ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certified.

But the company missed its goal to map and roughly calculate the environmental footprint of its value chain in 2010. It says it has carried out project scoping, and calculations will be made early in 2011.

In contrast, competitor Nike is already reporting greenhouse gas reductions. Nike reduced its overall CO2 emissions across the company and its supply chain by four percent in fiscal year (FY) 2009, compared to FY08, representing a return to FY07 levels, according to the company’s 2007 to 2009 corporate responsibility report.

Adidas has largely met its target to achieve ISO 14001 certification for its group and brand headquarters by 2010, but an audit of the environmental management system at its corporate headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany, is scheduled to take place in 2011.

The wide-ranging goals and targets in the newly announced Group Environmental Strategy 2015 include a ten to 15 percent cut in energy emissions by product output at Adidas’s core suppliers. In 2011, the company will conduct environmental assessments of high-risk suppliers and determine packaging targets for 2015.

Adidas aims to have more sustainable content by 2012 in 100 percent of footwear and an increasing amount of apparel. It says it will revise the guidelines of its Better Place product range to ensure alignment with the Eco Index and the index being developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, of which it is a member.

The group has a target to use 40 percent “Better Cotton” – which is grown to social and environmental standards set by the Better Cotton Initiative – by 2015, and 100 percent by 2018. Adidas is already one of the top 12 users of organic cotton.

At least 80 percent of the value of leather that it sources from non-European tanneries will come from Gold Standard tanneries by 2015, Adidas said. (The group agreed in 2009 to cease using leather from cattle raised on former Amazon rainforest lands.)

Adidas said it will cut the energy consumption of its PCs by 30 percent and decommission or virtualize more than 40 physical IT systems, and overall reduce the environmental footprint of its IT infrastructure by 20 percent by 2015.

“The Environmental Strategy targets are interrelated with business targets and also require support from more than one single business function to achieve them,” head of environmental services Karin Ekberg said. “This is the beauty and the challenge in the approach: it is possible to drive the Strategy from different parts of the business, depending on where the leverage is greatest.”

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