4 ways sports brands are being more environmentally friendly


With the historic declaration of a national emergency by the UK Parliament on the 1st of May, 2019, and with more than one hundred major global corporations having announced their commitment to emissions reduction targets, including names such as AECOM, Adobe, Carrefour and Cisco, there is no denying that the race is officially underway to act on climate change.

Given their involvement in the public space, it is no surprise that many of the biggest sports brands have risen to the occasion by investing in innovative new ways to become more environmentally friendly. From the materials they use, to the energy it takes to produce their products, we will examine some of the ways these brands have risen to the challenge.

  1. Recycling

Reducing waste consumption and recycling materials is seen as a key strategy for how to minimise the carbon footprint of sports goods. Adidas recently brought out their Ultraboost running shoes in partnership with Parley, made using recycled plastic dredged from the ocean. The 1 million pairs already sold are just the first step in the company’s plan to establish itself as a leader in sustainable sportswear production.

Nike are looking to go one step further by making their products from their own recycled waste, creating a new material (“Nike Grind”) that’s now contained within 71% of their footwear.

2. Energy

The energy used to create products is one of the most difficult elements to manage in an environmentally friendly way. But, in the wake of the Paris Agreement, companies like Nike have followed through on this commitment by setting the rather ambitious target of having all their facilities run by renewable energy by 2025.

3. Organic Materials

As well as recycling, many brands are considering how they can cause less harm to the environment by using more sustainably produced resources, such as cotton. Brands including Timberland, Nike, Adidas and Levi’s have all signed on to the 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge, which, as the name suggests, is the drive to produce all their sports clothing using only organically sourced cotton. As well as ensuring fair trade practices, this also aids water conservation and the removal of vast quantities of pesticides from the ecosystem.

4. Promotion

It would be naïve to overlook the enormous importance the vast marketing infrastructures of companies like Nike and Adidas can have in the promotion and advocation of issues like climate change. While they will doubtlessly be more motivated by the commercial benefits of trumpeting their green initiatives than they will be with the ethical ramifications, it’s hard to deny the beneficial impact this has on the larger effort to improve sustainability.

By promoting each new idea on social media, the conversation on environmental practices grows – allowing more people to join in and discuss ways in which everyone can help tackle climate change.

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