Adidas pledges to use only recycled plastic by 2024. The fashion industry as a whole has largely been lagging behind to the demands of customers for sustainable fashion.
Sustainable fashion has been primarily relegated to niche fashion brands – think Everlane, Patagonia, Eileen Fisher – and to narrow product categories within the industry.
It has yet to be widely adopted by the mainstream but this will surely change with Adidas’s new initiative to do away with all virgin polyester (i.e plastic fiber) in its products by 2024.
This has huge implications for Adidas and the rest of the fashion industry.
Explaining that about 50% of the materials used in the over 900 million items they sell are polyester, the head of Adidas’ global brands Eric Liedtke told Financial Times: “Our goal is to get rid of virgin polyester overall by 2024.”
The company’s decision follows their initial success in selling recycled plastic footwear. The brand’s commitment has gone from one million pairs produced in 2017 to 5 million in 2018 and a projected 11 million this year.
“In 2018 alone, we saved more than 40 tons of plastic waste in our offices, retail stores, warehouses and distribution centers worldwide and replaced it with more sustainable solutions,” explained Gil Steyaert, responsible for global operations, in a company statement.
Virgin polyester is a mainstay fabric in the fashion industry and as a result, we are literally swimming in plastic.
The Ocean Conservancy states: “Every year, eight million metric tons of plastic waste enters the oceans where it joins an estimated 150 million metric tons that already circulates there.”
In recent years, the fashion industry has taken steps to embrace sustainability.
Fashion industry leader LVMH has reached a deal with Stella McCartney to bring her brand into its family of Maisons. McCartney is arguably one of the industry’s leading advocates of sustainable fashion and will assume the role of special sustainability advisor within LVMH.
While the fashion industry has become more environmentally friendly lately, Adidas’ 2024 commitment is a challenge to move faster towards a more sustainable future.
Adidas pledges to use only recycled plastic by 2024