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Adidas Xuntos

Embrace repair, re-use, reduce carbon emissions, grow sustainability and circularity holistically.

MA 2020/2022
Keywords
Sustainability ,Community, Systems, Sport, Circularity, Ecoliterate Design
Overview

Blah blah blah, the famous words delivered by Greta Thunberg during her keynote speech at COP26:

“Words that sound great but so far have not led to action. Build back better. Blah, blah, blah.”

 

Greta was not wrong, and growing pressure from humans and the environment are all pushing for meaningful change.

 

Data shows that progress has slowed down. While waste generated per inhabitant is rapidly increasing, according to the European Environment Agency, we would require a faster rate of progress to achieve a truly circular economy. Moreover, we are embedded with non-human nature and dependent on these ecological systems, yet our basic understanding is deeply fragmented and erupt.

 

The challenge for Adidas is how to deliver a circular experience by 2025, that is authentic, credible and inclusive in supporting athletes goals and needs. Adidas has acknowledged that they may have to re-imagine their entire product cycle and engage with consumers and athletes to achieve this goal- they are using three pillars credibility, experience and sustainability.

 

Adidas Xuntos is a global platform that enables artisans and small business owners to become certified “Adidas Repair specialists”, both offline and online. It aims to reduce carbon emissions, grow sustainability and circularity holistically. While also helping Adidas create new revenue models that work in tandem with achieving these aims and improving the planet.  Adidas Xuntos embraces eco literate design and will resonate deeply with consumers wanting to support brands that share their values. 

Collaboration

research

The project began with primary and secondary research to understand Adidas, sustainability and most importantly, consumer perceptions on Adidas and sustainability. The research also began to create personas based on purchasing and sustainability habits. While some preferred sustainability, others preferred to keep up with seasonal trends. However, some issues seemed to be universal and impacted purchasing behaviour and brand perception; consumers felt brands lacked awareness, consideration, and intent for the environment. The video shares some of the consumers’ thoughts on how they think brands treat them and engage with the issue of sustainability.


Data showed that the rate of progress had slowed down in the last 5 years and that achieving a more circular economy requires a faster rate of progress (European Environment Agency, 2021). Data also showed that waste generated in EU and non-member countries in 2019 increased by 2.4%, compared to 2018 (Eurostat,2021). Moreover, countries such as the UK are simply offloading their plastic waste abroad to prevent surcharges and taxes (Greenpeace, 2021).

Perceptions oN Adidas

Although Adidas is committed to reducing carbon emission by 30% by 2030 and removing virgin plastic by 2024, a closer look at their engagement with consumers revealed their aims are misunderstood and increasingly considered greenwashing, which has made it hard to motivate consumer behaviour in sustainability. This incited further research to understand sustainability and circularity.


In a nutshell, sustainability involves solving problems impacting four pillars; human, environmental, social, and economic. Circularity involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible, whilst limiting the use of natural resources. However, some of the hurdles companies face are lack of collaboration, not thinking about processes properly and not priming essential habits. It was, therefore, necessary to understand Adidas sustainability, circularity operational strategies and practices in greater detail.

 “The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it.” 


(David Attenborough,2021) 

SYSTEMS, LOGISTICS & HUMAN BEHAVIOUR


The research project went on to look at the Adidas manufacturing process, Own the Game Strategy and other business operations. It discovered that Adidas current sustainability aims were not as efficient or green as intended. Instead, some areas were contradictory to sustainability and circularity. Additionally, they negatively impacted the four pillars and created exclusivity, all of which risk the brand's reputation, achieving sustainability and circularity. Therefore, it was essential to consider new alternatives and strategies that would transform current practices, whilst also creating value-added benefits that are ecological and sustainable.


BEHAVIOURS ARE INTRINSIC


Furthermore, sustainable behaviour needs to be primed; this was discovered when Adidas beta-testers did not return their free circular shoe for points. Moreover, those who returned shoes did not necessarily do it for sustainability reasons but rewards. The project then proposes a shift to support the brand in achieving true sustainability and circularity.

PROPOSITION development


The project sought feedback from various communities to discuss various iterations and arrive at the service proposition. This included circular and repair communities and networks such as Greenpeace. The outcome of which was the Adidas Xuntos.


Adidas Xuntos is a global platform that enables artisans and small business owners to become certified “Adidas Repair specialists”, both offline and online. It aims to reduce carbon emissions, grow sustainability and circularity holistically. While also helping Adidas create new revenue models that work in tandem with achieving these aims and improving the planet. Adidas Xuntos embraces eco literate design and will resonate deeply with consumers wanting to support brands that share their values. 


The service follows several processes to enable the participant to register and be recruited for the training programme. The scheme works closely with local partners to create a scheme relevant to the demographic, user and brand needs—moreover, support throughout the training programme and financial and business guidance. Various touchpoints include a training centre, local shops, community centres and mobile app. Below is an image highlighting the various touchpoints of the online journey.


Adidas Feedback: The findings and project idea received critical and valuable feedback and raised questions that need further investigation and reflection, especially on return on investment (ROI). Key questions included what do brands get in return for their efforts in the scheme, what would this mean for current business practices and processes? Moreover, what new methods, policies and legal frameworks would be required, and at what cost? All valuable feedback for critical, discursive, and intellectual exploration. 


Future Aims and Development: Therefore, Adidas Xuntos served as a provocation at its current phase and is an ongoing project in development. An object for deeper engagement on sustainability and circularity, and how this can benefit people, brands, and the planet. The next phase of the project will involve exploring these critical and essential issues with different stakeholders across all levels of society. Ecological design is a fundamental consideration in this project, with the focus also including how non-humans benefit from Xuntos.

SPECIAL
THANKS

Special thanks to Anna Poeyry and Jeffrey Morris from the Adidas team and Nicolas Rebolledo-Bustamante. For the valuable advice and guidance; and continued support in developing the project. Clive Grinyer for his continuous support and encouragement. Research participants for their valuable insights and all the communities we met in our ongoing collaboration. The Royal College of Art and Tim Brown (IDEO).

Team