Product creation

Product Safety

Controlling and monitoring restricted substances

Restricted substances are those that cause harm or are suspected to cause harm to human health or the environment. Our approach is that suppliers must avoid the use of possible harmful substances to ensure that our products are environmentally safe.

In 2010, we reviewed and updated our standards and policies on restricted substances - the A-01 Requirements - to make sure that they were following state of the art science, and we were consistently executing them to the highest standard. We also successfully adjusted our policies and internal guidelines in keeping with developing requirements such as the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and the EU system for Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). New information, amendments and guidance material were issued and all adidas Group entities and product divisions began to implement them.

What our materials suppliers must do

Materials supplied to the adidas Group must meet the strictest local standards globally. We ask our suppliers to ensure that:

  • Materials are non-toxic in use and disposal
  • Used materials do not cause toxic emissions during the manufacturing process
  • Products are manufactured under the best possible conditions using the best available technology
  • Materials meet the sourcing standards of retailers, customer expectations and recommendations from consumer organisations.

Not only do we regularly consult with scientists and other experts about new legal requirements, requests from consumer groups or critical materials, but we also frequently tell our material suppliers about new scientific findings and developments. They in return must prove that materials comply with our standards by providing test reports from independent external test institutes on a regular basis. Development and production samples are checked randomly.

The AFIRM Working Group

To further strengthen our programmes and benchmark our achievements, the adidas Group is an active member in the Apparel & Footwear International Restricted Substances (RS) Management Working Group (AFIRM), which we co-founded in 2004, together with six other international brands. It is a multi-company working group which provides a forum to advance the global management of restricted substances in the apparel and footwear industry, to exchange ideas for improving RS management to ultimately increase consumer satisfaction.

The AFIRM Working Group brings together product chemistry, safety, regulatory, and other experts within the apparel and footwear industry. During 2010, the AFIRM Working Group held the fourth of its joint supplier workshops with around 450 participants in Hong Kong. Discussions centred on the further global harmonisation of standards, extended communication with the scientific community, and also further interaction to enhance the performance of the nominated test houses.

Product safety focus

Besides ensuring safe and environmental sound products within our core product ranges, we constantly monitor and educate branded product areas that may have special risk profiles. These areas range from promotional items about bioactive textiles (ones that can interact with living organism) to personal protective equipment, electronic devices and traditional kids and baby clothing.

In 2010, our Global Operation teams, in consultation with the SEA team, updated our Global Apparel Safety Manual for Children's Clothing to keep our products safe for this young and very active consumer group. A similar Footwear Kids Safety Manual was also developed and rolled out.

The adidas Group faces a risk of selling defective products, which may result in injury to consumers and/or image impairment. We mitigate this risk by employing dedicated teams that monitor the quality of our products on all levels of the supply chain through rigorous testing prior to production, close cooperation with suppliers throughout the manufacturing process, random testing after retail delivery, open communication about defective products and quick settlement of product liability claims when necessary. In 2010, we did not recall any products.

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