Adidas sustainable development strategy
What are the key SD challenges in the textile and apparel’s industries?
The textile and the apparel industries face nowadays a lot of evolution due, first to macroeconomic consequences and then because of the growing eco-friendly influence. To understand the key challenges of the sustainable development in the textile and the apparel industries, we, first, need to get the whole picture of the situation.
The global textile industry is getting through a struggling time for the global economy due to crisis. This situation increases the price volatility of raw materials and energy resources. We can also add-up to this trend, the rising labor cost that contributes to amplify the negative effects on the industry. This uncertainty in the marketplace leads to lack of projection for years to come. At a worldwide stage, the textile market knows different situations. Europe is facing a recession while North American market is struggling. This current trends leads to reduced worldwide sale perspective. In Asia, the situation is more complex. China is the major actor in the market. More and more, price rises in China due to a higher domestic demand and higher wages. This economic trend creates opportunities for other Asian countries to become new sourcing targets (Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia). However, new countries doesn’t have necessary quality and quantity requirement, which put companies in a huge dilemma in 2012 and for years to come… Concerning sustainable development in the textile and apparel industries, many challenges are expected. For years and years, consumers have wanted cheap and trendy clothes, no matter where they came, who produced it and the material composition of the purchase. Now, they have changed their mind in many aspects. Consumers expect more and more socially acceptable workplaces to employees in production. They want companies to focus on improving human being, which includes better work conditions and better salary. However, this desire is problematic and contradictory for the industry. Indeed, this change will imply higher price that only a minority of consumers are up to pay. Key actors on this market need also to be responsible and active in the society and towards communities. Apart from this, consumers also require that companies produce in environmentally friendly way, which represent the main key challenge. Consumers care more and more to let enough raw materials for future generations and avoid global over consumption. The Chemistry industry brings solution to replace these raw materials. However, it can’t replace every material: water, which is an essential factor for production of textile, energy (it concerns mainly non-sustainable sources, except solar and other sustainable energies) and raw materials (real organic cultivations are insignificant in the industry). However, instead of raw materials, regenerative raw materials are more and more used. There is line and hemp that are resistant and doesn’t need pesticides. However, it can be only use for particular textiles. Besides, we can find chemical fibers, which represent 60% of the current market. They are better than natural fibers but are dependent on petroleum. This problem is a bit compensated by the fact it can be recyclable in PET bottle for instance. Cotton represents only 38% of the market in volume and wool, 2%. For dyestuffing, Chemistry has also played a huge role. Now the synthetic process replace natural because it turns out to be more ecological and with a better quality. Moreover, we can also save resources like energy and chemicals by using sustainable development energies like solar, wind or hydroelectric energies. We have to consider fossil energy and try to replace them by renewable energies to avoid price pressure and volatility.
Companies want also to develop environment-friendly production...