Gap Score

2012 was a flat year for adidas in terms of the public perception of its sustainability initiatives, even though its performance on environmental, supply chain, and community efforts improved, and the company garnered the 2012 SAM Sustainability award and recognition in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. That gap indicates an opportunity for stronger sustainability messaging. In step with its tagline, adidas aims to go “all in” on sustainability and expand eco-first thinking throughout the organization. Case in point: its company-wide effort to reduce the emission of hazardous chemicals, boost recycling activities, and expand its proprietary waterless dyeing technique: DryDye, which uses compressed CO2—and 50 percent less chemicals and energy—to manufacture t-shirts, which the brand promoted as a London 2012 Olympic Games sponsor. The sports-focused brand is an avid supporter of young athletes, particularly those in impoverished areas in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup, and it’s working with an NGO to address water issues. As with all global brands in the apparel sector, its supply chain oversight is closely scrutinized, which prompted the company to develop a pilot program enabling any concerns by its workers in Indonesia to be shared by mobile phones.