I like planning. I really do. But sometimes you cannot plan it all, and life itself can at some point offer you moments that go well beyond your wildest dreams. I want to share a very special experience with you: What it feels like when the world is watching and our company showcases the future of sustainability and product innovation.
Since joining the adidas Group back in 2012 I have learned that every day might bring new challenges and opportunities. It has been a sequence of incredible experiences, flowing into the moment when the adidas Group announced its partnership with Parley for the Oceans.
And what happened only two months after we announced our partnership with Parley for the Oceans? Well, something pretty much unique. adidas was invited to speak at a “Parley Talks” on the occasion of an climate change event on 29 June 2015 in New York, convened by the United Nations President of the General Assembly.
“We didn’t waste a second and immediately put together a team that could really take this experience to the next level, and turn it into a success.” Silvia Raccagni, Senior Manager Sustainability Communication
We were literally working against the clock. But it didn’t matter. Each of us immediately realised how important this project was, for the brand, for our employees, and for the oceans!
The Parley Talks session, titled “Oceans. Climate. Life.”, saw leading environmentalists, creatives, scientists and entrepreneurs giving a briefing on the state of the oceans and climate change with Parley collaborators presenting their visions. Speakers included Pharrell Williams, Captain Paul Watson, Chris Jordan, David Rothschild, Louie Psihoyos and Sylvia Earle as well as founder Cyrill Gutsch and adidas Group Executive Board Member for Global Brands Eric Liedtke.
“Speaking at the United Nations, in the General Assembly room, is definitely not something that happens every day. In fact, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.” Silvia Raccagni, Senior Manager Sustainability Communication
I forgot to mention that we only had three weeks to prepare the whole thing, which per se was a big challenge! But big challenges in life are never easy. It would not be a challenge otherwise.
Talking points, briefing people, the roll-out for our social channels, the press release. And, also importantly, deciding which shoes to wear at the United Nations! I know, it might seem like a trivial detail, but it matters. So I opted for my Stan Smiths. A classic.
But this is not all. In fact, the gillnets used for the shoe (the green parts) came from Parley partner organisation Sea Shepherd, which retrieved the nets after a 110-day expedition tracking an illegal poaching vessel, which culminated off the coast of West Africa. How cool is this???
Captain Sid Chakravarty, who was on the boat that retrieved these gillnets, also attended the event and we all got super emotional when we showcased how his hard work (retrieving nets is hard work!) turned into a beautiful shoe. It was most probably the peak moment for me.
As Eric said in his speech in the General Assembly hall, “We didn’t partner with Parley to take small incremental steps. We partnered with Parley to make big bold steps that fix big global problems.”
adidas has long been a leader in sustainability, and this partnership allows us to tap into new areas, create innovative materials and products, and make new and completely unexpected experiences.
“I’m incredibly proud to be part of this movement, both as a citizen and as an employee of the adidas Group.” Silvia Raccagni, Senior Manager Sustainability Communication
This project was really unique, and it was great to work with my colleagues around the globe to turn it into a meaningful experience for the brand.
I am incredibly excited about the next steps in this partnership, and it looks like adidas fans are as well! I love the oceans. Bring on tomorrow.