It’s been 20 years since the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices launched with a goal to gauge the social, environmental and corporate standards of the largest 2,500 companies listed in its Global Total Stock Market Index — and it also marks 20 years since Adidas first joined those lists.
The Germany-based sportswear giant, which has achieved top positions since the indices’ inception, was ranked best in its industry in the criteria of brand management; information-cyber security and system availability; environmental policy and management systems; operational eco-efficiency; social reporting; as well as talent attraction and retention.
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As part of its overarching sustainability goals, Adidas has amped up the use of eco-friendly materials for products and tackled the issue of water scarcity in areas where it operates manufacturing plants. Since 2016, the athletic brand has not used plastic bags in stores, and it began last year sourcing only sustainably produced cotton. Separately, Adidas plans to use only recycled polyester in every product from 2024 onwards.
The year 2019 was even bigger for the company, which debuted a 100% recyclable running shoe: the Futurecraft Loop. The sneaker is made from 100% reusable thermoplastic polyurethane that’s spun into yarn and molded to create a seamless design. Using Adidas’ Speedfactory technology, the upper is fused to a Boost midsole without glue. When the shoe comes to the end of its life cycle, it can be returned to Adidas, where it will be washed, ground down to pellets and melted for a new pair — with zero waste and nothing thrown away.
In May, Adidas also set a lofty goal of raising $1.5 million through its Run for the Oceans initiative. In 2018, it raised $1 million from the project, with the money benefiting long-term partner Parley for the Oceans. This year’s funds will aid in the development and launch of the Parley Ocean youth activist program.
Sustainability has risen to the top of many companies’ agendas in the past year. An NPD study found that a quarter of consumers would pay “a little more” for eco-friendly products. Younger shoppers are even more willing to dish out a few extra dollars, the market research firm found.
The DJSI serves as the longest-running global sustainability benchmarks, taking into consideration factors including corporate governance, risk management, climate change mitigation and labor standards within the company and with its suppliers.
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