Adidas To Grow Plant-Based Leather Range, Commits To Sustainable Materials For 60% Of All Products In 2021

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Adidas has committed to growing its plant-based range and increasing the use of sustainable materials across its entire product portfolio in its latest slew of sustainability goals set for 2021. In addition to making 60% of all its products using recycled sources, the sportswear giant has revealed plant-based leather, recycled cotton and a climate-friendly running shoe is in the pipeline for this year as sustainability continues to take the apparel and footwear industry by storm. 

Announcing its slate of ambitious new sustainability initiatives for 2021, Adidas has pledged that for the first time, more than half of all its products will now be made from sustainable materials. From its football jerseys to its iconic Stan Smith shoes, the brand says that over 60% of the materials will come from recycled polyester, up from its 50% target made in 2020, or sustainably-sourced cotton. The sportswear giant added that the figure will rise to 100% by 2024. 

“We have continued to invest in sustainability initiatives during the coronavirus pandemic and we will significantly expand our range of sustainable products in 2021. To this end, for example, we have worked with our suppliers to create the structures that make it possible to process recycled materials on a large scale. Not only does our commitment make Adidas more sustainable, but it also drives the development of the whole industry,” said Kasper Rorsted, CEO of Adidas.

Source: Bolt Threads

Other major goals that the company has set include leveraging recycled cotton technology and developing plant-based leather with industry partners, including a research collaboration with Finnish startup Infinited Fiber, who has developed a circular solution that turns discarded textiles into high-quality, bio-based regenerated fibres. 

We have continued to invest in sustainability initiatives during the coronavirus pandemic and we will significantly expand our range of sustainable products in 2021.

Kasper Rorsted, CEO, Adidas

While the firm did not disclose any further specific partnerships, California-based biotech Bolt Threads is likely to also be amongst its list, given that it has entered into a consortium to access the startup’s proprietary vegan mushroom leather material dubbed Mylo last year. Joining Adidas in the group of fashion heavyweights backing the novel plant-based leather alternative at the time were Stella McCartney, Kering Group and Lululemon. 

These materials will go towards expanding Adidas’ vegan range, which so far includes animal-free versions of several of its iconic 1980s sneaker designs, a plant-based reincarnation of its SuperStars and its 100% plant-based performance running shoe Forever Floatride GROW launched under its subsidiary brand Reebok

Source: Adidas

We have worked with our suppliers to create the structures that make it possible to process recycled materials on a large scale. Not only does our commitment make Adidas more sustainable, but it also drives the development of the whole industry.

Kasper Rorsted, CEO, Adidas

Adidas’ latest pledges come amidst a tidal wave of sustainability announcements from corporations, from fashion to finance, in a clear sign of the heat that businesses are now under to take greater responsibility in the fight against the climate crisis. The pressure has ramped up since the coronavirus pandemic, which has spotlighted the dangers of continued destruction of the natural world. 

Over the course of what has been a tumultuous 2020, consumers have also proven to be increasingly loyal to purpose-led businesses and are willing to boycott brands that fail to show genuine leadership when it comes to climate action and social justice. 


Lead image courtesy of Adidas.