Adidas Parley … how to be good for the world, and good for business, at the same time

July 5, 2017

Plastic bottles, bags and trays, cups and straws, fishing nets and buoys … plastic waste has become the scourge of our oceans, polluting the water and killing animals, only to eventually make its way back to us through the food we eat (and the micro plastic in them).

In order to address the problem and build a more sustainable (and mutually beneficial) business plan, Adidas paired up with Parley for the Oceans to repurpose the millions of pounds of plastic currently polluting the world’s oceans. Instead of remaining waste, Adidas has found a smart way to use recycling to their (and the planet’s) benefit.

Adidas recently launched their Parley collection. Parley is Adidas’ partner in the Parley A.I.R Strategy, which transforms ocean plastic waste into running shoes. Each shoe uses an average of 11 plastic bottles per pair, incorporating recycled plastic into the shoe’s laces, heel webbing, heel lining, and sock liner covers.

Whilst we can individually do our small bit for the world, consider the impact a global brand like Adidas could have. We’ve all heard of the horrifying “Great Pacific garbage patch” which is essentially an enormous swath of ocean coated in pelagic plastics, chemical sludge, and and other debris caught there by the North Pacific Gyre’s currents. And most people will find it surprising that a 2015 study estimated that around eight million metric tons of our plastic waste enters the oceans from land every year.

Adidas found a use for that waste that not only takes it out of our oceans (meaning less ending up in sea turtles stomachs and our own), but also provides its usual Adidas-sized revenue boost that helps provide us with a healthy market, too.

The result is the Adidas x Parley shoe

Having launched with a limited release to prove the concept, Adidas has now moved into serious production with the Ultraboost, Ultraboost X, and Ultraboost Uncaged. The new Boost range is a bold, strategic step forward as Adidas seeks to build a business based-around using more sustainable materials across their product range.

Mathias Amm, Product Category Director at Adidas provides an insight into the company’s commitment saying “The new additions to the adidas x Parley collection are another step in our journey to creating one million pairs of Ultraboost from up-cycled marine plastic”.

In it’s recently released Sustainability report, Adidas stated the company is on track to use 100% sustainable cotton by next year. It also said that it saved 70 million plastic shopping bags by switching to paper bags in its stores, and detailed a commitment to make the new Adidas MLS uniforms with Parley recycled plastic.


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