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Adidas commits to reduce carbon, water & waste footprint

Oct '19
Pic: London Waste and Recycling Board
Pic: London Waste and Recycling Board
The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) and QSA Partners have announced another major milestone in their Circular Fashion Fast Forward project, by working with Adidas to create a new Adidas Infinite Play service. The tailored service will allow Adidas and its customers to maximise value of Adidas gear by passing it on instead of sending it to landfill.

Adidas Infinite Play, which is available through the Adidas app, will allow customers to trade worn or unused Adidas gear for an e-gift card and Adidas creators club points. The items traded back will then be resold or recycled. The service – a result of a partnership between Adidas and the innovative social enterprise Stuffstr – makes it quick and easy for customers to trade items in by offering them the options of free collections or free post.

The Stuffstr service is fully integrated into the existing Adidas app. Members of Adidas’ UK Creators Club loyalty programme can pull up their past five years of Adidas purchases, each stamped with an instant sell-back price, generated by Stuffstr. Once a customer has selected at least £20 worth of items to sell back, Stuffstr dispatches a courier to collect the goods for free, while those living outside the area served by couriers will receive a postage-paid, mail-in bag. The customer is sent an Adidas e­gift card for the value of the clothes and shoes they have sold back as soon as Stuffstr receives the items. Items are then either re-sold, mended so they can be re-sold, or recycled into new products.

A take-back and resale service like Adidas Infinite Play is one of several circular business models companies can use to create more value and profit, whilst reducing their environmental impact. Reuse helps to extend the life of products and increasing the active life of all clothing by nine months would reduce the annual carbon, water and waste footprints of UK clothing by 20-30 per cent each.

"As a brand we realise the challenges that the linear model has brought. When we talk about throwing things away, there is no ‘away’ – stuff just ends up somewhere else. Our customers have an increased awareness of the impacts of their consumption and the challenges we face as a planet; and they’re asking how they can make a difference. Teaming up with LWARB and QSA partners, we developed Adidas Infinite Play to give our customers a better choice so that together we can share the responsibility to reduce our carbon, water and waste footprint," said David Quass, director business model innovation & brand partnerships in Adidas’ global brand strategy team.

LWARB and QSA Partners are taking Adidas, Ted Baker, Farfetch and FW on a journey to explore circular economy business models, as part of the C&A Foundation ‘Bridging the Gap’ initiative. Each brand wants to match their ambition for greater sustainability with their customers’ needs and values. At the end of the project, each will have tested the best circular business model for both their business and their customers.

"With 350,000 tonnes or £140 million worth of clothing going into landfill in the UK every year, and £30 billion worth sitting unloved at the back of our wardrobes, developments like this are good for business and critical for the environment. Take-back and resale services like Adidas Infinite Play help businesses to build customer loyalty while also mitigating some of the worst climate change impacts of the textiles industry. LWARB is proud to be working with Adidas and other market players across the industry to illustrate the competitive advantage of circular business models," said James Close, head of LWARB’s Circular London programme.

"We are absolutely delighted to play a part in creating Adidas Infinite Play. It’s a huge statement of intent from Adidas to show the world there are other, better ways of consuming clothes. The future is circular, and this announcement proves that we can build that future at scale with some of the biggest brands in the industry," said Kristina Bull, partner at QSA Partners.

"The focus is on making this as easy as possible for the customer; in fact, we make it almost as easy to resell your items and put them to good use, as it is to throw them in the bin. By offering a bespoke service that will collect goods from your door at the touch of a button and give you an instant reward, we believe we can dramatically reduce the 70 per cent of the UK’s clothing that goes directly to landfill," said John Atcheson, founder and CEO of Stuffstr.

Adidas is a global leader in the sporting goods industry with the core brands Adidas and Reebok.

Stuffstr has been actively involved with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s CE100 Programme since 2015 and has been selected for several accelerator programmes and awards, including – in addition to Adidas’ Platform A accelerator – the 2018 Launch Global Innovators, the Fashion for Good accelerator programme and the 2016 World Economic Forum Circular Economy Awards. Stuffstr most recently became a founding member of the Enabling Network, in partnership with Circle Economy and Fashion for Good. This network is part of the Bridging the Gap initiative, a group of six organisations working to stimulate sector-wide collaboration, facilitate innovative technologies and the design of best practices to enable the implementation of circular business models in the fashion industry’s supply chain.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (PC)

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September 2021

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