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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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Is adidas an ethical and sustainable fashion brand?

adidas is a low-ranking fashion brand in The Good Shopping Guide’s ethical ratings.

adidas is owned by adidas AG and receives a poor Good Shopping Guide score in our Ethical Fashion Retailers Ratings Table. Although adidas has not yet met our Ethical Benchmark, we hope to see the brand make progress in its CSR/ESG policies in the future.

In what areas of ethics and sustainability does adidas perform well? 

adidas performs well in its Environmental Report. In the adidas Annual Report, there are various goals, including committing to the Science Based Targets, the Fashion Pact presented at the 2019 G7 Summit and the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. adidas are also committed to reducing its emissions by 30% by 2030, to prepare for climate neutrality by 2050.

adidas has a thorough Code of Conduct that prohibits underage labour, and long hours, and allows union participation. (See adidas’ Code of Conduct here.) A Code of Conduct allows consumer and ethical consumer groups and organisations to hold brands like adidas to account for its suppliers’ and workers’ rights.

adidas declares that it does not obtain raw materials from any species that is listed as endangered or threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCNRed )’s List. Additionally, regardless of whether the animals were wild or domesticated, its policy forbids using leather made from threatened species. Animal experimentation for new materials or products is not acceptable to adidas. However, numerous animal rights organisations have criticised adidas for selling kangaroo leather.

For this, adidas receive a low rating for Animal Welfare.

In what areas does adidas perform poorly for its ethics and sustainability? 

Despite adidas’s progress in its sustainability efforts, there is still room for improvement. The brand was marked down under our criteria for Human Rights (People).

A coalition of more than 180 human rights organisations is urging retailers and clothing companies to stop supporting the Chinese government’s abuse of human rights by forcing labour from the Uyghur people. adidas AG is one of the companies that coalition members accuse of not doing enough to recognise and end economic ties to Uyghur forced labour.

Over 1 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minority ethnic groups have been rounded up, imprisoned, tortured, sterilised and forcedly indoctrinated as part of an incarceration campaign launched by China’s Communist Party. This has been called a ‘genocide’ by many activist groups.

Cotton picked by coerced Uyghur people makes up a fifth of the world’s cotton, and adidas are among the brands that use this cotton.

The Tailored Wages 2019 report from the Clean Clothes Campaign examines 32 renowned clothing companies regarding their progress in instituting a living wage for the people who make their clothes. adidas AG was given the lowest grade available in the study because it could not provide any proof that any of its garment workers were paid a living wage anywhere in the globe.

For these instances of Human Rights violations, and multiple more incidents, adidas receives a very low rating in our People criteria.

How can adidas brand improve its Ethical Rating?

The Good Shopping Guide score results from multiple ethical criteria in relation to adidas. To reach our minimum Ethical Benchmark and qualify for Ethical Accreditation, adidas has some issues to resolve, including its many violations of workers’ rights, use of kangaroo leather and use of Uyghur labour.

If your fashion brand values ethics and sustainability, why not check out The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Accreditation? Increase customer and investor confidence and stand out from the greenwash.

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Organic


  • Nuclear Power


  • Better Cotton Initiative


  • Fossil Fuels



  • Animal Welfare



  • Armaments


  • Code of Conduct


  • Political Donations


  • Ethical Trading Schemes


  • Human Rights


  • Human Rights+



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Other Criticisms


= GSG Top Rating = GSG Middle Rating = GSG Bottom Rating