The Adidas Group’s Workplace Standards do not commit to living wages, but only to ‘wages which ‘equal or exceed the minimum wage required by law or the prevailing industry wage, whichever is higher’. However, the standards do go on to say that:
‘Wages are essential for meeting the basic needs of employees and reasonable savings and expenditure. We seek business partners who progressively raise employee living standards through improved wage systems, benefits, welfare programmes and other services, which enhance quality of life’.
In addition, the Adidas Group has shown an awareness that they need to do more work to identify what a fair wage is for their workers in different countries and to implement policies which mean such a wage is actually paid to workers. The Adidas Group’s website describes some of the initiatives the company is working on, including its involvement with the Fair Labor Association (FLA).
The Adidas Group publishes detailed information on its supply chain structure, including a list of both its supplier factories and its licensee factories on its website.
The Adidas Group’s website states:
‘In order to check if suppliers comply with our Workplace Standards, the adidas Group SEA team and commissioned third-party experts visit and audit the factories we work with.’
The Adidas Group’s Response to KnowTheChain Apparel & Footwear benchmark dated 20 June 2016 provides some further information on the company’s auditing methodology:
‘Both scheduled and non-scheduled, i.e. unannounced, visits take place at supplier factories. Unannounced audits are preferred, for example, when we are responding to a complaints or where the planned visit is to investigate a specific issue, such as excessive overtime. At times, night-time monitoring may also take place… Workers are interviewed both on and off-site, and the structure of the interviews will depend on the nature of issues under investigation. All worker interviews are conducted in their mother tongue.’
Detailed information on Adidas Group’s latest audit results can be found on p.60 onwards of the Adidas Group’s Sustainability Progress Report 2015.
The Adidas Group’s document on the company’s ‘Third Party Complaints Process’ states that:
‘Workers with complaints or grievances who work in factories making products for the adidas Group should use the hotline numbers posted in their workplaces. The worker hotlines are operated by staff from our Social & Environmental Affairs (SEA) department, or in some countries, such as China and Bangladesh, by independent third parties and NGOs who speak the local languages of the worker populations.’
P.73-74 of the Adidas Group’s Sustainability Progress Report 2015 describes how a small number of second tier suppliers that are deemed to be ‘high-risk’ are monitored on their environmental performance.
The Adidas Group’s website describes how the company is starting to do work in this area. It states:
‘We have already begun building the first steps in the chain towards closed-loop product by recycling excess pre-market product, handling large volumes of goods for further distribution or recycling that failed to meet our quality standards which we redirect from our distribution centres in Germany. We are now extending this to post-consumer in-store product take-back. As we pilot these consumer-facing take-back programmes, our goal is to bring this approach to markets where established recycling collection facilities do not exist.’
The Adidas Group’s website states:
‘The adidas Group is committed to increasing the sourcing volumes of cotton from the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) over the next years… In 2015, 43% of the cotton we used globally was Better Cotton, exceeding our original target of 40%. This is a huge step towards our goal of using 100% Better Cotton by 2018.’
The Adidas Groups has committed to eliminating the discharge of toxic chemicals in its supply chain by 2020. Its publication, ‘Chemicals Management at the Adidas Group’ describes some of the work the company is doing, including a partnership with bluesign technologies, launched in 2014, which works to eliminate ‘substances posing risks to people and the environment’.