Adidas CEO: 70% Of Consumers Prefer To Buy Sustainable Products

(Credit: Adidas)

by | Jun 22, 2021

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(Credit: Adidas)

In its annual general meeting earlier this year, Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted told shareholders based on a recent company survey, “70% of all consumers say that they consider sustainability a significant buying argument,“ and added, “If we succeed in sustainability – or when – we also succeed as a business.”

This is the third article I’ve written over just the last few weeks illuminating the ‘new era of sustainability’ driven by customer values, attitudes and preferences. Previously I discussed the sustainably-minded customer and the need for more transparent ‘green’ messaging form companies.

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests a shift is taking place in the context of sustainability management. Historically, the emphasis in sustainability management has been directed to doing less harm and achieving operational efficiencies. Now the tide is changing. Driven by escalating customer demand, there is a need to direct sustainability efforts toward innovative business models, products and markets that meet the changing needs and expectations of sustainably-minded customers

For its part, Adidas has made strides to create sustainable products, including using ocean plastics in its shoes and vowing to make nine out of every 10 products sustainable by 2025. The company has also partnered with Allbirds to create shoes with a low carbon footprint. Allbirds uses materials such as merino wool, recycled bottles and cardboard and castor bean oil to manufacture its shoes. Later this summer, Adidas will be releasing its classic Stan Smith shoe using a leather derived from mycelium, the fibrous root structure of mushrooms.

But Adidas is not alone in recognizing and meeting this new sustainability landscape. BASF, for instance, has identified that about one-third of its products analyzed make a specific contribution to sustainability. These ‘Accelerator solutions’ – about 14,000 representing €15 billion in sales in 2019 – can be found in many industries, including health, transportation, construction, consumer goods and others. Schneider, as another example, brings clean energy and energy efficiency solutions to consumers and businesses through its Square D and EcoStruxure product suites. Square D provides consumers a variety of smart home technologies, such as whole-home surge protection, electric vehicle (EV) connectivity, a Qwik-Connect solar inverter and backup panels. EcoStruxure enables enhanced safety, reliability, efficiency, sustainability, and connectivity in businesses by using advancements in IoT, mobility, sensing, cloud, analytics, and cybersecurity.

While addressing operational impacts will continue to be an important aspect of sustainability management, it seems increasingly clear that development of customer-led sustainable products, services, and markets is becoming equally important to demonstrating sustainability leadership.

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