Athletic Wear Brands and Their Products – How Sustainable Are They?

By: Alexandra Kueller

Two weeks ago we introduced SSC’s latest peer benchmarking analysis, and last week we introduced an in-depth look at three of the six dimensions – governance, environment, and workplace This week we will finish our analysis of each dimension with the  focus being on product:

Creating a sustainable product plays a pivotal role in a company’s overall sustainability. During SSC’s benchmarking process, we seek to ensure that a company’s products are designed, manufactured, and used in a safe, healthy, and environmentally responsible way. We give points to companies that have robust customer satisfaction programs in place, adhere to relevant marketing and advertising requirements, and incorporate “design for environment” into their research and development “R&D” processes.

Overview of the Product Dimension 

Points

  • Nike – 12
  • Adidas – 12
  • Puma – 11
  • Lululemon – 5
  • Under Armour – 1

The product dimension is the weakest dimension overall. The only category to be addressed by all four companies was the life cycle management. Product safety was either a big hitter,hardly mentioned, or not mentioned at all. Only two companies, Nike and Adidas, received four points in all categories. They were also the only companies to report on packaging and product quality.

Life Cycle Management

While the life cycle management category includes all five companies, there was a large gap between the top reporters (Nike, Puma, and Lululemon) and the two companies that had minimal information (Adidas and Under Armour). The top companies all had strong policies and programs for life cycle management and reported a few performance metrics as well. Adidas and Under Armour only reported one program and a brief policy, respectively.

Product Quality

Nike and Adidas were the only companies to address address product quality. While the information  in their reports and websites was not thoroughly detailed, both companies mentioned a brief policy and supporting program for product quality, with Nike providing data as well. 

Product Safety

Product Safety was only addressed by three companies: Nike, Adidas, and Puma. Puma did an excellent job in the category by receiving maximum points, while Nike on the other hand had a brief policy mention in their sustainability report. Adidas had a strong product safety policy, with a handful of supporting programs and some brief performance metrics.

Packaging

Once again, Nike and Adidas were the only two companies to address packaging either in their reports or online. Nike and Adidas both mentioned a policy, program, and supporting data, with Nike having the stronger policy and Adidas having stronger performance data published. 

Click here to catch up on the governance dimension, environment dimension, workplace dimension, and community dimension.