In 2015, Adidas partnered with the environmental organisation Parley for the Oceans. Through their partnership, Adidas and Parley have collected vast amounts of plastic waste from marine environments and coastal communities, turning ocean plastic into sportswear.
In 2019, the range expanded, Adidas introduced its Alphabounce + Parley full range of new sports apparel, as they ambitiously work towards their 2024 goal of eliminating the use of virgin polyester from all products.
Currently, more than 40% of Adidas’ apparel uses recycled polyester.
The Parley Global Cleanup Network is an alliance of organisations working together to protect marine environments from the threat of plastic pollution. Through collaborative cleanups, they intercept plastic waste from beaches, remote islands, rivers, mangroves, high seas, and in coastal communities.
Adidas produced 1 million pairs of shoes with Parley Ocean Plastic® in 2017, then 5 million in 2018, 11 million in 2019, and planned for around 15 million in 2020. The 2020 figures are yet to be released.
This means less virgin plastic, reduced CO2 emissions and more awareness of the issue – with every product made serving as a wearable symbol of change that sparks questions, discussions and ideas about creating even more progress.
Adidas says the partnership has prevented 2,810 tons of plastic from reaching the oceans by the end of 2019.
But this is just the first step. Adidas is also developing a 100% recyclable shoe called the FUTURECRAFT.LOOP. This shoe is made to be remade. Because it can be returned and broken down to create a brand-new pair. FUTURECRAFT.LOOP is expected to be available in 2021.
The FUTURECRAFT.LOOP project is aimed at tackling the problem of plastic waste, enabling a “closed loop” or circular manufacturing model, where the raw materials can be repurposed again and again. But not just repurposed into a water bottle or a tote, but into another pair of high-performance running shoes.
The development team for FUTURECRAFT.LOOP Amanda Verbeck & Tanyaradzwa Sahanga stated, “it’s a very big question, a global question and something beyond adidas: how do we manage end-of-life of product? It’s never been done before and our whole approach is a beta test, so it’s fascinating to be part of the journey. Our job is really about finding solutions – and this is an industry-wide problem that really needs a response.”