Environment

Adidas Vows to Use Only Recycled Plastic as Market Shifts Toward “Conscious Capitalism”

Last week, German clothing company Adidas announced its commitment to begin making their products with 100% recycled plastic by 2024. 

As reported by the Financial Times and picked up by CNN and other outlets, the company has pledged to fully “eliminate the use of ‘virgin’ plastic” in its products, including polyester which accounts for around 50 percent of the material used to make Adidas’ products, according to the Huffington Post. 

The pledge even includes the plastic used in company offices, warehouses, and retail outlets, and is expected to “save an estimated 40 tons of plastic per year, starting in 2018.” 

“We aim to use 100% recycled polyester in every product and on every application where a solution exists by 2024.” – Maria Culp, Adidas Spokeswoman 

Adidas hopes to sell as many as 5 million pairs of recycled shoes this year, compared to just one million in 2017. 

As CNN notes, use of plastic has increased roughly 20 times globally in the last 50 years “and is expected to double again in the next 20 years,” but although some researchers believe that by 2050 the world’s oceans will be filled with more plastic than fish, only about 14% of plastic is recycled, compared with up to 90% for iron and steel. 

“To truly be sustainable, companies like Adidas need to produce less, more durable and repairable products … To solve our plastic waste problem, we need to stop producing so much plastic from the start, and in order to make fashion more sustainable, rethink a fashion system that hypes new trends every week.” – Kirsten Brodde, Greenpeace project lead of “Detox my Fashion” 

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Adidas showcases their 100% recycled shoes (credit: Sole Collector)

This isn’t the first time Adidas has committed to fighting environmental decay, as they previously replaced the use of plastic bags with Eco-friendly paper substitutes in 2016. 

The recent push for corporations to act more responsibly toward the environment comes as companies like Adidas realize that customers want to support businesses that will leave the planet better off for future generations. 

According to a 2015 study by marketing and analytics company Cone, 91% of consumers expect companies “to address social and environmental issues” as well as to make a profit. 90% said that they would boycott a company after learning that they were engaged in “irresponsible or deceptive business practices”. 

“As the communications landscape continues to become more diverse, companies must take an integrated approach to conveying CSR [corporate social responsibility] efforts.” – Alison DaSilva, Cone EVP 

As it turns out, consumers have a lot of power when it comes to determining how companies behave. Other companies such as Starbucks, American Airlines, and Ikea have also announced similar initiatives this year to keep up with the growing demand for environmentally sustainable business practices. 

This type of business ethic has been dubbed ‘conscious capitalism,’ whereas the market tends to decide which companies are successful – not just based on the price or quality of their products, but by the ethical impacts by which they are knowingly or inadvertently engaged in. 

“Global consumers have high demands for companies to address social and environmental issues, but they now also understand they have an obligation to make change, as well.” – Jennifer Ciuffo Clark, research director at Ebiquity 

As trends indicate a growing push for corporate ethics, the free market proves that regulation is not the only solution to environmental damage. The more that people understand their power as consumers, the quicker we can live in a world that’s not just safe and sustainable – but also free. 


This article (Adidas Vows to Use Only Recycled Plastic as Market Shifts Toward “Conscious Capitalism”) was originally published by Phillip Schneider and may be re-posted with proper attribution, author credit, and this copyright statement.

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