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Adidas Carbon Tool Snafu Keeps Data out of Sustainability Report

Adidas missed the chance to include energy, water and carbon metrics in its 2011 sustainability report because of data deviations caused by a new environmental reporting and management tool.

According to the report, Adidas introduced the tool for its sites and suppliers during the 2011 reporting period, and has migrated the complete data sets from its 2008-2010 reports to the new system. The company was due to publish a detailed environmental performance review in the 2011 report, published last week.

But, the 2011 sustainability progress report said, “When reviewing the environmental data sets as submitted by the business entities through the new environmental data tool, we noticed a range of deviations in data sets from previous years that have required us to conduct an accurate analysis to identify the root causes. ?At the cut-off date for completion of the sustainability progress report 2011, this review and analysis was still ongoing. So, the 2011 Green company performance review will be published at a later date in the year 2012.”

The report said Adidas would release the data on its website later in 2012. But after Environmental Leader first took this story online, an Adidas representative emailed us to say that the company has published environmental results in a report called the Green Company Performance Analysis 2011, published the same day as the sustainability report.

The Green Company Performance Analysis reports results from 47 selected administrative offices, distribution centers and Adidas-owned production sites around the world. They reported using 212,154 MWh of energy and 326,083 cubic meters of water in 2011, and emitted 69,720 tons of CO2.

The 47 sites cut energy use by 7.4 percent and carbon emissions by 10.4 percent (including offsetting) compared to baseline years of 2008 and 2010, the analysis said. Water consumption fell by 18.8 percent and household waste by 13.2 percent, but paper consumption increased by 22.4 percent.

According to the analysis, the new reporting system, called Environmental Metrics Reporting Tool (EMeReT), has offered benefits to the company. Users have found the tool easy to understand, Adidas says, and it offers emissions factors and best practice libraries which can be modified and customized to the company’s needs. The system will enable the firm to manage a consistent and accurate target follow-up of its environmental metrics and other data, Adidas says.

A selected group of suppliers are now reporting their environmental data through EMeReT, the company says.

This is not the first time the company’s sustainability report has lacked key environmental metrics. In 2007, Adidas released a corporate responsibility publication that examined the steps the company took towards unifying its environmental measurement and management, after the January 2006 acquisition of Reebok. The report didn’t contain any consolidated data on environmental progress, and at the time the group said it had yet to build a framework to generate reliable data about the newly combined supply chain and other corporate responsibility areas.

But the company did release a corporate responsibility report in 2008.

In last year’s sustainability report, the company said it missed its goal to map and roughly calculate the environmental footprint of its value chain in 2010. It said it had carried out project scoping, and calculations would be made early in 2011.

The 2011 sustainability report itself does offer a few environmental findings. It said the amount of Adidas footwear meeting the company’s baseline environmental criteria more than doubled last year, with some 65 percent now meeting the standard – although the report did not detail what the criteria are.

The sportswear giant also achieved its 2011 goal of developing partnerships with research institutions and suppliers as it strives to achieve its 2015 goal of having environmental elements in all of its future innovation projects.

The German firm also succeeded in introducing sustainable cotton into its supply chain in 2011. By 2015 the company is planning on such cotton accounting for 40 percent of the cotton it uses.

Less progress has been made on its other environmental targets. By 2015 Adidas hopes to have reduced most of the colors used within the Adidas sports performance division by 50 percent. In 2011 the company had targeted a 20 percent reduction in colors in apparel and a 40 percent reduction in footwear, but due to the switch in reporting systems, Adidas lost the capability to report on this progress. This goal has now been set for 2012.

The company had also hoped that in the past year, it would define 2015 targets for improving the environmental credentials of its packaging, but it was not able to do so.

Adidas this year dropped off Ethisphere’s annual list of the most ethical companies. Last year, Adidas was named in the apparel category along with 2012 repeat firms Gap, Patagonia and Timberland. Puma – a rival German sportswear brand started by the brother of Adidas’ founder – this month topped EIRIS’ Top 10 Global Sustainability Leaders list.

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