adidas Group

Complaint Process


The adidas Group is a multinational corporation headquartered in Germany that designs and manufactures sports shoes, clothing and accessories. The adidas Group has established sustainability policies and practices as well as Workplace Standards that suppliers, agents, licensees and other related service providers are expected to follow. Non-compliance with the Workplace Standards or concerns related to any potential, or actual, breach of an international human rights norm linked to the adidas Group operations products or services can be brought to the attention of the company through the Third Party Complaint Process. 

Who can access it? 

Any individual or organization directly affected by an issue, or an organization with a formal mandate to represent individuals or communities directly affected can make a complaint.

How does it work?

Complaints can be made about:

  • a violation by a supplier, licensee, agent or contractor of an element of the Workplace Standards relevant to that supplier, contractor, or service provider; or
  • any breach of an international human rights norm, whether related to an external service provider, supplier or to adidas Group’s own business operations, where these affect an outside party.

Complaints should be factual and evidence-based. Workers with complaints or grievances who work in factories making products for the adidas Group should use the hotline numbers posted in their workplaces. Other complainants can submit written submissions through e-mail (, fax or mail (see contact details below). Any complainant should be able to produce sufficient information to demonstrate the relevance and seriousness of the complaint, that it is a breach of the adidas Group’s Workplace Standards, or of an international human rights norm, and that there is clear link to the adidas Group. A complaint does not have to be submitted in English, it can be submitted in the individual’s or organization’s own language. Complaints should contain the following basic information:

  • Name of the adidas Group entity or the name of the supplier/contractor or employer.
  • Name and relevant information of work site.
  • Link with the adidas Group product or service.
  • Alleged breach (including the nature of the breach, the element of the Workplace Standards or human rights norm being breached, supporting evidence and the date or period of the alleged breach).
  • Contact details of complainant.
  • Whether the complainant or a party to the complaint must remain anonymous and the reasons for anonymity. If confidentiality is not requested, complaints will be dealt with in an open and transparent manner. However, if the complainant would be at risk of retaliation if their identity were to be disclosed, the Anti-Retaliation Policy prescribes that these will not be made public.    

In addition to these, a complaint might also state the scale of the problem, whether the grievance is pursued by any other means or has been pursued before, what the preferred solution is, any other organizations relevant to the grievance, any local complexities affecting the issue, and any other supporting information.   If a complaint is submitted, it is handled by the adidas Group in the following manner:

  1. Acknowledgement of receipt of the complaint.
  2. Assessment of legitimacy of complaint and, with that, whether the complaint is accepted. To be accepted as a legitimate complaint, the complaint must relate to an activity by the adidas Group or any of its direct stakeholders actively involved in production or supply of products or services to the adidas Group. Also, the complaint must contain sufficient information to enable the adidas Group to assess the substance of the complaint.
  3. If accepted, the substance of the complaint and all relevant documents will be examined by the adidas Group’s Social and Environmental Affairs (SEA) department or by the Group’s Regional Compliance Officers. The findings from this examination, along with the complaint, will be sent to the subject of the complaint, whether an operating business of the adidas Group or one of its suppliers, and requested to respond.
  4. Staff from the SEA department will be mobilized to start an investigation, which may involve interviews and the examination of records. Where appropriate, or when additional expertise is required, the adidas Group may choose to commission an external investigation from an independent third party, use the services of an independent specialist or, appoint an independent ombudsman or mediator to manage the complaint process. The key aim of the investigation is to ensure the process produces information that enables a fully-informed discussion of the complaint, based on the full facts of the case.
  5. At this stage, the complaint may be resolved early through mutual agreement on the remedy, for example through mediation or arbitration. If there is no agreement between the parties within a reasonable time, the adidas Group may decide on the outcome of the complaint on the basis of the information supplied at all stages of the complaint.
  6. In case the adidas Group determines that it has caused or directly contributed to a violation, it will undertake to cease or change the activity that is responsible for the violation in order to prevent or mitigate the chance of the impact occurring or recurring. If an impact is occurring, the adidas Group will engage actively in its remediation. Where the adidas Group is neither causing nor directly contributing to a violation it will encourage the entity that has caused or contributed to the impact to prevent or mitigate its recurrence.


Potential outcomes of this process include cessation of the business activity and/or dissolving the business relationship with the supplier causing the harm. 

Monitoring and enforcement

Depending on the type of remedial action agreed, the parties will seek to reach agreement on how this is to be monitored and checked to ensure that it is implemented within the agreed timescale. The adidas Group’s SEA department will normally monitor the implementation of agreed outcomes, or will appoint a credible third party to do so.

If a person or organization believes that they have been subject of retaliation as a result of registering a complaint with the adidas Group, they can contact the adidas Group and provide the specific details of what has occurred. The adidas Group will investigate the situation and, if there is clear evidence of retaliation, take action to remedy the situation.


If a party is unhappy with the way the complaint is handled, the party should raise the issue with adidas Group’s SEA department. SEA will review the case and communicate the information to the Group’s General Counsel/Chief Compliance Officer for a final decision.

Other forms of redress

Complainants may also have recourse to two other independent complaint processes: the Third Party Complaint Process of the Fair Labor Association (FLA) and the OECD National Contact Point for Germany


Website adidas Group

adidas Group Human Rights Policies and Approach

Operating Procedures 2014: Third Party Complaint Process for Breaches to the adidas Group Workplace Standards or Violations of International Human Rights Norms (English Version)

Procedimientos de Operación 2014: Procedimiento de queja para terceros en caso de incumplimiento de las normas laborales del Grupo adidas o las normas internacionales de derechos humanos (Versión Española)

Contact Details 


adidas Group

Social & Environmental Affairs

Adi-Dassler-Straße 1

91074 Herzogenaurach


Attention: Mr Frank Henke

Global Director, Social & Environmental Affairs

Phone: +49 (0) 9132  84 0

Fax: +49 (0) 9132 84 3242


Africa, Middle East, Asia Pacific

adidas Group

Social & Environmental Affairs

10/F Cityplaza Four, 10th floor

12 Taikoo Wan Road

Taikoo Shing, Island East

Hong Kong

Attention: Mr William Anderson

Vice President, Social & Environmental Affairs

Phone: +852 2302 8654

Fax: +852 2302 8875



adidas Group

Social & Environmental Affairs

5055 North Greeley Avenue

Portland, OR 97217

United States of America

Attention: Mr Gregg Nebel

Vice President, Social & Environmental Affairs

Phone: +1 (781) 401-7533

Fax: +1 781.401.7179


Last edited: 
December, 2014

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