Are Adidas’ Sustainability Practices for Real? Are They an Ethical Corporation?

Adidas has launched several sustainability and social responsibility campaigns in the recent past. But are Adidas’ sustainability practices legit? Find out!

We are all willing to choose companies that promote sustainability in their intentions and actions. Refusing to give business to companies we deem unethical is one of the best ways consumers can force change.

Oftentimes, we associate sportswear with shoddy factories in the third world committing all types of crimes against humanity and the environment. Nike has been called out for unethical practices in the past. Could Adidas be any different?

We did some research on Adidas’ sustainability and ethics record. Read ahead to learn more about this ultra-popular company and its impact on the world.

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All Day I Dream About Sports

The athletic clothing market is huge. People spend many billions of dollars across the globe. Athletes and sports teams have multi-million dollar marketing deals with Nike, Adidas, FILA, and other major clothing retailers.

Athletic wear is no longer just for working out. Many of us wear it around the house or when we go to the supermarket.

That’s because it’s comfortable and it looks good. We’re free to dress in any style we choose and no one can tell us anything, right?

Yoga Pants and the Environment

Like other forms of consumerism, fashion is not immune to criticism. Today, however, we will be looking at it from an ecological point of view.

Yoga pants and leggings, for example, have skyrocketed in popu

Too Much of a Good Thing?

We are all for anything that helps people feel comfortable and empowered. Remember that not long ago women could get in hot water for wearing any type of pants, let alone leggings.

However, there is a downside. It has nothing to do with modesty but everything to do with the materials used.

They tend to use synthetic materials that contain plastic microfibers. These can be released into the water systems when we wash these clothes. Yoga pants aren’t the only culprit, but this highlights the need to raise awareness.

Giants of Retail

To say that Adidas is extremely popular would be an understatement. In 2018, they sold nearly a billion pairs of shoes and other pieces of sports apparel. 


They sponsor teams and professional athletes in just about every sport. They managed to integrate themselves flawlessly into hip-hop fashion. Even some fashion-forward writers are getting in on it.

With Great Power…

Clearly, such a massive company would have to be very careful with the way they monitor and reduce their impact on the environment.

We know that other retail giants have a less than perfect record. (we’re looking at you Nike). 

Are they all alike? Or does Adidas try to make a difference when it comes to responsible retail?

Temperature Rising

In 2020, (almost) all of us are aware of the fact that humans as a whole are causing serious harm to the planet. 

Those of us who aren’t drinking the kool-aid of climate deniers also agree that we ought to do something about it sooner rather than later. One of the best things we can do, other than clean up the mess, is to stop contributing to it.

That’s why it is important to exercise your power as a consumer by not purchasing from companies that poison the environment. But just how do we know who is really trying to change and who is just trying to save face?

How to Gauge Adidas Sustainability

When it comes to judging Adidas’ corporate social responsibility, there are several tools at our disposal. 

Groups like Governance & Accountability (G&A) Institute and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) have created several Sustainability Reporting Tools (SRTs). In 2011, just 20% of the S&P companies were even reporting their sustainability ratings.

Clearly, consumers made their concerns be heard. In 2016, it was up to 82%. 

Three Stripes or Three Strikes?

We already know Adidas has some of the nicest kicks.

Let’s take a look at Adidas and see if they passed the sustainability test. We already know that they are wildly popular and successful.

But what does their environmental record say?

Their Mission

If you look on their website, they make a strong statement about their dedication to an ‘environmental approach’. They claim they have a serious responsibility to foster sustainable and eco-friendly practices for the “people today and future generations”.

On their page, they lay out a plan to reduce unnecessary water usage and do their part in the fight to stop climate change.

They also claim to be committed to reducing CO2 emissions and transitioning to clean energy. Finally, their goal is to use only recycled polyester starting in 2024.

What the Experts Say About Adidas’ Sustainability

That all sounds peachy, but we’ve been hurt before by corporations pretending to be green.

Instead of taking their word for it, we looked for the fact. Here are the results of our findings.

Short Answer: Actually Pretty Decent

Adidas has made several commitments to sustainability, and Adidas’ social responsibility record is actually pretty good.

These are part of several treaties and partnerships with the goal to reduce their environmental impact and ensure workers’ rights.

Adidas Sustainability Efforts

Adidas teamed up with the charitable group, Parley for the Oceans. They create products, such as shoes from recycled plastic from the sea that proactively reduce ocean pollution.

They are founding members of the Better Cotton Initiative. Plus, they are Bluesign certified, which means they are reducing the use of hazardous chemicals and ensuring worker safety.

Workers’ and Human Rights

There have been troubling instances of human rights abuses, including slave labor, child labor, and the use of violence towards union leaders in the fashion industry. 

The 2018 Australian Fashion Report gave them an A- for overall workers’ condition. This score is based on wages, transparency, and worker’s rights.

However, the laborers are still making much, much less than company executives.

Sustainable Consumerism

Is sustainable consumerism even possible? Certainly not at the current rates.

There has to be a shift in consciousness and reason if we are to turn the tide of climate change. However, holding large corporations is a start.

We look at Adidas‘ sustainability record as a way to keep these billion-dollar companies honest. Check out the FAQ for more information about our shoes and the way we do business.

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