Time to make a change.

That’s what a coalition of 12 Black adidas leaders, including myself, said in June, after social unrest following the murder of George Floyd. After weeks of sharing our pain and frustration with each other in difficult, emotional conversations. After weeks of enduring collective emotional trauma from the suffering of countless Black men and women who have experienced the injustices of racism in the United States. We all felt obligated to act.

Black Lives Matter, period, and we at adidas embarked on an ongoing journey to answer the call for radical transformation that this moment in history demanded.

Headshots of adidas employees in diversity and inclusion committee, UAR, BLM, Black. community, adidas, employees
The 12 adidas employees who sparked United Against Racism.

Building allies for change

We quickly came together to create a plan that represented the collective views of adidas’ Black employees. It wasn’t just a request to create new policies. We wanted to fight racism by creating systemic change for all employees, including our LatinX colleagues.

We presented this plan to our North America senior leadership team and then to our Global Executive Board. They listened. They asked questions. Their allyship grew. We united as one team and vowed to fight against racism together. Within a week, our leaders around the globe agreed to support our plan, increased our investment with additional commitments and offered record turnaround to create targets.

That result is United Against Racism, which is creating meaningful change at adidas and in our communities. We are ensuring an equitable playing field for Black and LatinX candidates to join our company and advance in leadership positions; increasing support for Black and LatinX communities; and holding ourselves accountable to deliver on our commitments. And we’re just getting started. We’ll continue to build on these efforts to drive an even greater impact.

Communication is key

We lost no time putting our plan into action. We shared our commitments with all employees and encouraged them to join our efforts. It’s incredible to see teams and individuals across our company jump in and help us create lasting change for present and future generations. We’ve promised to keep lines of communication open and honest.

Headshots of adidas employees in diversity and inclusion committee, UAR, BLM, Black. community, adidas, employees
adidas employees creating lasting change.

We wanted change and we’re making it by reimagining what is possible, what we can accomplish and how we can achieve it. It has been a staggering amount of work and it hasn’t always been easy, but we’re learning, growing and making progress – together. This is only the beginning.

Stronger together

I want to thank the other 11 members of the coalition, including Lauren Body, Raymond Boyd, Kofi Brown, Tony Crowell, Tony Holmes, Neamen Lewis, Cameron Mason, André Pinard, Aaron Seabron, Rashad Williams and Coiya Wilson.

I also want to thank everyone else involved with our United Against Racism work for their incredible commitment to their community and each other. And thanks to the teams across the brand for becoming champions of the United Against Racism plan. They’ve helped us move our culture forward and positively impact our communities.

Finally, I want to thank the North American senior leadership team and the Executive Board for their support and for rallying with us to make sure we create lasting change.

I am so honored to share this moment in history with everyone at adidas, and I can’t wait for everything that’s still to come.

8 COMMENTS & EXTERNAL REFERRALS

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by Erika 25.02.2021
This. THIS! Companies are only as good as their people and my friends, we at Adidas have great people. Keep being the change and showing the world how businesses can be a force for systemic and societal change globally and locally.
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by Maria Peterson 25.02.2021
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the people highlighted in this article for driving this change.
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by Nicole Van Der Merwe 02.03.2021
One step in the right direction - I cannot stress the importance of ally ship through this process! Well done to the team leading the fort.
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