15 October 2019
The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) and QSA Partners have today announced another major milestone in their Circular Fashion Fast Forward project, as adidas launches its new adidas Infinite Play service.
LWARB and QSA Partners worked with the global sportswear brand to create the tailored service which will allow adidas and its customers to maximise the value of adidas gear by passing it on instead of sending it to landfill.
Adidas Infinite Play, which is available through the adidas app, will allow customers to trade worn or unused adidas gear for an e-gift card and adidas creators club points. The items traded back will then be resold or recycled. The service – a result of a partnership between adidas and the innovative social enterprise Stuffstr – makes it quick and easy for customers to trade items in by offering them the options of free collections or free post.
A take-back and resale service like adidas Infinite Play is one of several circular business models companies can use to create more value and profit, whilst reducing their environmental impact. Reuse helps to extend the life of products and increasing the active life of all clothing by nine months would reduce the annual carbon, water and waste footprints of UK clothing by 20-30% each.
As climate change becomes an increasingly urgent issue for the public, brands and retailers that don’t act quickly to address their carbon footprint risk being left behind. A recent study found that 75% of consumers surveyed thought that sustainability was important or extremely important, and more than a third of consumers report they have already switched from their preferred brand to another because it credibly stands for positive environmental and/or social practices.
David Quass, Director Business Model Innovation & Brand Partnerships in adidas’ Global Brand Strategy team, said:
As a brand we realise the challenges that the linear model has brought. When we talk about throwing things away, there is no ‘away’ – stuff just ends up somewhere else. Our customers have an increased awareness of the impacts of their consumption and the challenges we face as a planet; and they’re asking how they can make a difference. Teaming up with LWARB and QSA partners, we developed adidas Infinite Play to give our customers a better choice so that together we can share the responsibility to reduce our carbon, water and waste footprint.
LWARB and QSA Partners are taking adidas, Ted Baker, Farfetch and FW on a journey to explore circular economy business models, as part of the C&A Foundation ‘Bridging the Gap’ initiative. Each brand wants to match their ambition for greater sustainability with their customers’ needs and values. At the end of the project, each will have tested the best circular business model for both their business and their customers.
James Close, Head of LWARB’s Circular London programme, said:
With 350,000 tonnes or £140m worth of clothing going into landfill in the UK every year, and £30billion worth sitting unloved at the back of our wardrobes, developments like this are good for business and critical for the environment. Take-back and resale services like adidas Infinite Play help businesses to build customer loyalty while also mitigating some of the worst climate change impacts of the textiles industry. LWARB is proud to be working with adidas and other market players across the industry to illustrate the competitive advantage of circular business models.
Kristina Bull, Partner at QSA Partners, said:
We are absolutely delighted to play a part in creating adidas Infinite Play. It’s a huge statement of intent from adidas to show the world there are other, better ways of consuming clothes. The future is circular, and this announcement proves that we can build that future at scale with some of the biggest brands in the industry.
The London Waste and Recycling Board is a partnership of the Mayor of London and the London boroughs to improve waste and resource management. The city’s economic and environmental future depends on a transition to a low-carbon circular economy, and LWARB works to ensure that London’s businesses, local government and communities thrive by helping them make the very best use of resources and materials. relondon.gov.uk
QSA Partners are a team of leading circular economy business consultants who use strong commercial, financial and sustainability expertise, alongside practical and experienced project management to develop and implement successful circular business models. We work hands-on with businesses to help them take innovative business propositions to commercial reality and have more than 50 years combined experience in low carbon economics, resource efficient business, innovation and financial modelling.
For more information, please visit http://www.qsapartners.co.uk
adidas is a global leader in the sporting goods industry with the core brands adidas and Reebok. Headquartered in Herzogenaurach/Germany, the company employs around 57,000 people across the globe and generated sales of just under € 22 billion in 2018.
Please direct inquiries to: Sustainability@adidas-group.com
Stuffstr has been actively involved with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s CE100 Programme since 2015 and has been selected for several accelerator programmes and awards, including – in addition to adidas’ Platform A accelerator – the 2018 LAUNCH Global Innovators, the Fashion for Good accelerator programme and the 2016 World Economic Forum Circular Economy Awards. Stuffstr most recently became a founding member of the Enabling Network, in partnership with Circle Economy and Fashion for Good. This network is part of the Bridging the Gap initiative, a group of six organisations working to stimulate sector-wide collaboration, facilitate innovative technologies and the design of best practices to enable the implementation of circular business models in the fashion industry’s supply chain.
Circular Fashion Fast Forward project
The Circular Fashion Fast Forward project, run by LWARB in partnership with QSA, is part of the Bridging the Gap group, funded by C&A Foundation, to inspire and activate fashion industry players to accelerate the adoption and implementation of circular business models with net positive outcomes. More information available here.
Bridging the Gap
Bridging the Gap (BtG) is a learning group which brings together four independent initiatives united by one shared purpose: advancing circular business models in the fashion industry. Each initiative has a unique area of expertise, but all are working to build a fashion industry where materials are safe, non-virgin, renewable and can be endlessly used and reused. BtG comprises Circle Economy, London Waste and Recycling Board in partnership with QSA Partners, Forum for the Future in collaboration with Fashion for Good, and World Resources Institute in partnership with WRAP. BtG was established as a formal learning group by C&A Foundation, to rise to the challenge of advancing circular business models together.
C & A Foundation
C&A Foundation is a corporate foundation here to transform the fashion industry. They work with change-makers all over the world, offering financial support, expertise and networks to make the industry work better for every person it touches. C&A Foundation is driven by the belief that despite the vast and complex challenges, collaborative action can make fashion a force for good. For more information, please visit www.candafoundation.org
 WRAP (2015). Sustainable Clothing Guide. http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/WRAP%20Sustainable%20Clothing%20Guide.pdf
 Global Fashion Agenda (2019). Pulse of the Fashion Industry, 2019 Update. https://www.globalfashionagenda.com/pulse-2019-update/#