By Anoushka Das
As more and more companies find their purpose and innovate around ways to use business as a force for good, one of the most under-reported success stories has to be that of Adidas and their collaboration with the pioneering non-profit Parley for the Oceans to tackle the problem of marine plastic waste — it is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.
Adidas teamed up with Parley to help spread awareness and transform ocean plastic pollution into high-performance sportswear, spinning the problem into a solution. They supported the launch with the Run for the Oceans project which challenged people around the world to raise money for the project by committing a dollar for every kilometre. Adidas and Parley hosted a series of physical runs in several key cities worldwide including LA, New York, Paris, Berlin, London, Barcelona, Milan, and Shanghai, raising a million dollars for Parley education initiatives.
The brand believes that through sport, there is the power to change lives. With the Run for the Oceans, they are using this power of sport to inspire action. It is about community and participation in sport — but moreover, they have created a platform that gives athletes all over the world the opportunity to get involved with the cause, helping them to fulfil their promise. Adidas has long been a leader in sustainability, but this partnership allows them to tap into new areas and create innovative materials and products for our athletes.
Adidas started their partnership with Parley for the Oceans with one shoe made from marine plastic in 2014 and immediately knew if they can make one shoe they can make 1 million. Beyond apparel like shirts, socks and other performance wear, Adidas produced 1 million pairs of shoes with Parley Ocean Plastic in 2017, then 5 million in 2018, 11 million in 2019, and went on producing around 15 million in 2020. Parley Ocean Plastic is a range of eco-innovative materials created from upcycled plastic waste that is intercepted from remote shorelines, beaches and in coastal communities before it reaches the oceans. Parley for the Oceans works with its partners to collect, sort and transport the recovered raw material (mainly PET bottles) to our supplier who produces the yarn, which is legally trademarked. With the production of one pair of Parley shoes, Adidas has prevented approximately 11 plastic bottles from entering our oceans.
Additionally, Adidas is working with its partners at Parley for the Oceans on increasing the number of plastic collection points to steadily reduce transport distances and the environmental impact of the production process. Also, transport by sea has a lower environmental impact.
“The world’s biggest problems are the world’s biggest business opportunities.” Adidas has pioneered not just new technology, but a new approach to solving environmental problems where the engine of capitalism can help create scalable, sustainable change — and in a way that not just the chief sustainability officer, but also the chief financial officers of the business world can embrace and understand.
The article is written for 180 Degrees Consulting, Delhi Technological University, under the campaign #MarketingForACause. To read more content shared by our other consultants, please check out our LinkedIn page- https://www.linkedin.com/company/180dc-dtu