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 Sustainability critical for future success of business

In spite of the economic downturn, an overwhelming majority of corporate CEOs – 93 per cent – say that sustainability will be critical to the future success of their companies.

Today’s businesses recognise they have responsibilities towards sustainability and the environment. From carbon management to social issues integrating sustainability into everyday businesses is a pressing issue.

Heini Lang, senior manager footwear materials and innovation, adidas is a speaker at the marcus evans Sustainable Packaging Conference taking place in Berlin on 27-28 January.

A worldwide brand adidas has a responsibility to set the pace of change towards sustainability, says Lang.

Sustainability in packaging has become more and more crucial in the global competitive environment because customers are demanding it, according to Lang. This in turn ensures sustainability moves towards becoming a business ethos.

As a global corporation, Lang says it is not difficult to convince critics that adidas runs an ethical business as the yearly sustainability reports that are published chart the progress the company is making. “We have a responsibility because we’re in the focus. We’re a big brand and you see in many instances the big brands are the ones that are exposed so we have to be there. You have to be a good example and you have to be pushing for it.”

As a leading global frontrunner in the footwear and apparel industry sustainability is going to be embedded in everything adidas does, he says. The supply chain is an important area where sustainability must be fostered.

General sustainability initiatives that the company has put in place include having a target of sustainable materials in every footwear and apparel product by 2012. However this is an ambitious undertaking due to the nature of the business. “It’s not always easy – you need completely new materials, sometimes you need new suppliers. So it’s a big change,” Lang explains.

“For all our own locations we have developed stretching targets for energy and carbon management, as well as targets for ISO 14001 certifications for all brand headquarter locations.”

However carbon footprinting of materials used has yet to be implemented due to the scale of the company, he adds.

Building sustainability into business operations will become more and more prevalent as companies seek to mesh sustainability with core business practices.

The marcus evans Sustainable Packaging Conference will take place in Berlin on 27-28 January.


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