Adidas is on its way to replace polyester completely, earlier than the sporting brand planned. The commitment, first set in 2017, aimed to replace virgin polyester with recycled wherever possible by the end of 2024.

Since the first adidas high-performance shoe was made with recycled materials in 2015, the brand says it has been working towards reducing its dependency on virgin polyester.

Last year it announced that in 2021, more than 90% of the polyester used in Adidas products was recycled, which – if it had been virgin polyester – would have accounted for 390,000 metric tons of CO2e – the equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions generated to provide power to 50,000 homes in the US.

According to the Preferred Fibre & Materials Market Report published by Textile Exchange, global recycled polyester fibre production volume increased in 2021, but still accounts for just 14.8% of all global polyester production.

To accompany the announcement, Adidas has created a short film about its new ‘PB’, featuring athlete Jazmin Sawyers. The film highlights the sports brand’s pride in making progress, and its determination to push further.

Viviane Gut, senior director of sustainability at Adidas, said: “In 2017 Adidas made a commitment to replace virgin polyester with recycled wherever possible by 2024, and we know that it is important that we continue to share our progress and deliver against that commitment.

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“But while we are proud, this is a step, not a solution. There is still much more that we want, and need, to achieve so we can become a bigger part of the solution than the problem. We are as motivated as ever to keep innovating and collaborating to create new possibilities.”

Adidas explained that the confirmation of its polyester commitment in 2017 was a crucial step in helping to initiate a transformation across Adidas and its entire supply chain. This was made possible through creating technical solutions and imagining new possibilities that previously didn’t exist.

The German sporting brand further emphasised it was looking beyond the achievement of its 2024 goal, and recycled polyester, towards further improvements and innovations.

In March, Adidas collaborated with the Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto again on what it called a ‘groundbreaking’ project which rethinks the lifecycle of footwear.