Almost three years ago, I shared some good news; Adidas had partnered with the collaborative environmental group Parley for the Oceans to design and produce a sneaker whose shoe upper was made entirely of yarns and filaments reclaimed and recycled from ocean waste and illegal deep-sea gillnets. That was a “test run” of sorts, and the overwhelmingly positive results prompted the company to take on an even bigger project. Last week, Adidas announced that between May 2017 and the end of the year, they hit their goal of selling 1 million pairs of the new “Parley” versions of their popular Boost running shoes, which come in three styles, the Ultraboost, the Ultraboost X, and the Ultraboost Uncaged. Each pair uses 11 plastic bottles to create the sock liner covers, heel linings, heel webbing, and laces.
This is where life starts. We owe every second breath to the oceans. Our oceans give us life, what will we give back? Now we need to pick up the pace to make strides for change. It’s time to Run for the Oceans.
The company’s goal is to sell 5 million pairs by the end of 2018, which Eric Liedtke, head of global brands, calls a “drop in the bucket” when you consider the 450 million pairs of shoes they sell each year. However, this is a big step in the right direction, and one can only imagine the ripple effect such an effort by this huge international player will create. Adidas’ goal is to manufacture all of its products from recycled plastics by the year 2024 (which is only 6 years away), and it has already made some significant environmental strides: they have switched from plastic to paper shopping bags in their stores, saving 70 million plastic bags to date, they have completely eliminated the use of microplastics, and they are on track to use 100% sustainable cotton by the end of this year. In the words of Eric Liedtke, “I want to prove to the world that it is good for the bottom line. This is not philanthropy. It’s good business. This is what is critical… People don’t just buy what you make, they buy what you stand for.”