Stan Smith Talks Adidas’ Sustainability Efforts at 2021 FNAA

“There’s a lot of talent in this room tonight. But you know, and I know, that it takes more than talent to do what you’ve accomplished,” tennis legend Stan Smith said as he presented Adidas with the Sustainability Leadership Award at the 35th annual FN Achievement Awards Tuesday night.

“Starting with founder Adi Dassler, Adidas has always emphasized the functionality of sport, and more recently in fashion, in designing shoes,” Smith added. “And over the years, they’ve been committed to sustainability. Adidas has been using my shoe as the lead on this initiative to, among other things, help in reducing plastic waste in the world by using more recycled materials.”

He went on to mention the collaboration Adidas released with Disney featuring some of its “green characters” to emphasize the line’s more sustainable approach. (He happened to be was wearing the Kermit the Frog Stan Smith sneaker.)

Like many fashion and footwear players, Adidas has set a goal for its entire supply chain to be carbon neutral by 2050 in support of the targets outlined in the Paris Agreement that aim to curb rising global temperatures and the resulting climate change.

While 2050 seems far away, Adidas isn’t moving slow to reach its goal. In fact, the company has set a more-aggressive deadline of 2025 to reach carbon neutrality for its own operations, and to reduce the carbon emissions of its products by 15%. By that year, it also aims for nine out of 10 products to be sustainable (right now, six out of 10 are).

Caroline Lew-Wolf, vice president of business development for Adidas North America, accepted the award last night on behalf of the company. She mentioned recent extreme weather cases around the country and emphasized that third world nations are even more impacted.

“We have to do more, think bigger, and think differently. We need to do better,” Lew-Wolf said. “At Adidas, we are committed to ending plastic waste, creating a more sustainable world by creating products with recycled materials, with products that are made to be remade and products that are made of natural materials.”

Lew-Wolf added: “There’s a lot more that we have to do as a company and as an industry. So, let’s all keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible because we know this is bigger than sports. We know this is bigger than sneakers. It’s the right thing to do for our people, our communities and for our planet.”

For 35 years, the annual FN Achievement Awards ­— often called the “Shoe Oscars” — have celebrated the style stars, best brand stories, ardent philanthropists, emerging talents and industry veterans. The 2021 event is supported by presenting sponsor Nordstrom, as well as Authentic Brands Group, FDRA, Informa, On and Wolverine Worldwide.

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