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adidas Three-Loop Strategy: Recycled | Circular | Regenerative

adidas Three-Loop Strategy focuses the sportswear giants attention on using RECYCLED materials, ensuring they are CIRCULAR, and wherever this is not possible, ensuring the REGENERATIVE materials can be returned to nature with minimal environmental harm.

Global sports brand adidas has launched the new adidas Three-Loop Strategy which looks to both tackle plastic waste and further push forward their efforts for Circular products. The brand is committing to sustainability by launching their Three Loop Strategy, alongside a range of other methods to help look after the environment. 

The strategy will be a part of Adidas’ new circular business model focused on extending the life of a product through either rental, repair, recommerce, or upcycled into new products. Adidas is working on creating innovative sustainable materials and processes to develop the circular future of sports. Through their efforts, the sports brand hopes to make sustainable clothing and footwear a mainstream subject.

What is the adidas Three-Loop Strategy?

While other brands focus on a single circular economy in their production process, the Adidas Three-Loop Strategy is much broader. The Three Loop Strategy focuses on the adidas effort in creating three categories of sustainable products:

1. Recycled Loop

In 2015, Adidas partnered with Parley for Oceans to create the first-ever running shoe made from recycled plastic waste. From that partnership, they introduced Primeblue and Primegreen performance fabrics.

These 100% recycled polyester performance fabrics are unique in being pure on the recycled content. Instead of using virgin polyester or other newly developed material to build the product, Adidas will source raw materials from another available stream that is recycled.

2. Circular Loop

If you end up creating a product using nothing but recycled materials, you’d still end up creating a product that will eventually end up in landfill. This does not end plastic waste.

That’s why Adidas’ second loop is the circular loop, which revolves around producing a product that’s made to be remade. This translate to taking a product, recycling all the elements of that product, then reinstating back into the supply chain.

An example of this is Adidas’ Futurecraft Loop running shoe, which is 100% made from TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane). Adidas’ circular loop allows them to create products out of single materials like TPU, with the eventual aim of developing new recycling capabilities to take all these used TPU products, recycle them, and reuse the material for new products.

adidas Three-Loop Strategy Futurecraft Loop Running Shoe
adidas Futurecraft Loop Running Shoe. Source: adidas

3. Regenerative Loop

Adidas recognises that even by recycling everything and designing products to be remade, it’s likely that some of these will not end up back in the loop. That’s why their ultimate goal is to make sure these materials can eventually be returned to nature with minimal environmental harm. 

Adidas has been partnering with companies like Bolt Threads, to make products out of natural materials that can biodegrade. This includes creating new yarns out of protein that can be engineered for specific purposes.

Last year, the sports brand showcased a biofabric tennis dress at Wimbledon that they’d designed with Stella McCartney. The entire garment was made out of this biofabricated microsilk.

adidas x Stella McCartney Biofabric Tennis Dress
adidas x Stella McCartney Biofabric Tennis Dress. Source: adidas

adidas Three-Loop Strategy Sustainability Goals

Adidas has stated that within the next decade, they are committed to doing more to end plastic waste. They are committed to completely reengineering their entire business, so that they can still grow in terms of profit and financial growth while reducing their impact on the environment:

  • 2020: 50% or more of all the polyester Adidas uses in products will be recycled.
  • 2021: Adidas will work with Adidas’ key US sports partners to transition to more sustainable uniforms.
  • 2024: Aided by the introduction of Primeblue and Primegreen fabrics, Adidas will use only recycled polyester in all their products across the business.
  • 2030: Adidas aims to decrease its carbon footprint by 30% as part of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action.
  • 2050: Achieve climate neutrality. 

For further information on Adidas’ Three Loop Strategy, you can visit the brand’s company blog here.

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