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HERZOGENAURACH – Adidas has confirmed to Apparel Insider bold plans to transition to 100 per cent use of recycled polyester in all its products by 2024. The business, which says its summer 2019 collection will contain around 41 per cent polyester, told us: “[we] will reach our goal by increasing the amount of recycled materials season by season.” The business also said it is on track to meet its target of using 100 per cent sustainable cotton in its collections during the course of this year.

A spokesperson from the business told us: “At adidas, the key priorities of our sustainability strategy are: using more sustainable materials in our production, tackling water scarcity, the empowerment of supply chain workers.

“As part of our first priority (sustainable materials), it’s our ultimate ambition to replace all virgin plastic in our products

“We aim to use 100 per cent recycled polyester in every product and on every application where a solution exists by 2024

“Our product apparel range spring/ summer 2019 already contains around 41 per cent recycled polyester adidas will source 100 per cent of cotton across all product categories in all its brands as ‘sustainable cotton’ by 2018. [This equals] less water usage, less pesticide usage, promoting fair working conditions for the cotton farmers.”

Editor’s comment: we believe this is very significant news from adidas and offers evidence of how rapidly the sustainability landscape is shifting. All of the major sports retail brands have grappled with the issue of recycled polyester for many years. There has been a general desire to increase its use, however, the stumbling block has always been cost, with recycled polyester often commanding a sizeable price premium over its virgin counterpart.

Adidas now seems to have grasped this nettle, its board member Eric Liedtke suggesting to the Financial Times in a separate interview that the business will absorb the cost increase over several years as it steadily transitions to 100 per cent recycled polyester.

Adidas has now taken a clear market leadership role on this issue. The question, now, is will Nike and Puma follow?

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