Press Release

Animal Welfare Activists Disrupt Annual General Meeting of adidas in Germany

Shareholders call out corporate executives to explain inhumane, continued use of kangaroo skins in shoe products

Fürth, Germany — Animal welfare activists disrupted the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of adidas in Fürth, Germany, today with shareholders calling on corporate executives, CEO Björn Gulden and CFO Harm Ohlmeyer, to answer why the company persists in sourcing kangaroo skins even though the commercial killing of the marsupials plainly violates adidas policies on humane treatment of animals. 

Members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals carried out a registered protest outside the Stadthalle Fürth event center, while activists of the Europe-based Animal Rebellion disrupted the shareholders meeting inside.

 “The company continues to make poor decisions,” said shareholder Daniel Schier, who specifically attended the AGM to speak to executives. “They say they use kangaroo leather in less than 1% of their shoes and yet they continue to do it when there is clear evidence it is brutally inhumane and not sustainable. From a shareholder perspective, I feel the company is not seeing the forest through the trees. Good comes to companies that care about people and the planet.”

In 2023, the Germany-based Puma, formerly led by adidas CEO, Björn Gulden, announced an end to the use of kangaroo leather, followed by sportswear giants NikeNew Balance, and Diadora. 

In April 2024, UK-based soccer boot maker, Sokito announced the same, noting it had done two years of research on the commercial kill of kangaroos in Australia and found it unsustainable and inhumane. Also in April, Netherlands-based ASN Bank de-listed adidas from its approved companies.

“We have indeed excluded adidas from our investment universe because adidas sources kangaroo leather and continues to do so. This was the main reason,” said Mariëtta Smid, Senior Manager Sustainability at ASN Impact Investors.

The shifts by global corporations are due, in part, by the Kangaroos Are Not Shoes Campaign (KANS), started in 2020 by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for a Humane Economy (CHE) — the first non-profit animal welfare organization that focuses on influencing the conduct of corporations to forge a humane economic order. 

The KANS campaign was started to raise awareness of the inhumane commercial kangaroo industry, much of it driven by international sportswear companies. It is the largest commercial kill of terrestrial wildlife in the world with an estimated 1 million adult kangaroos and 300,000 additional joeys left behind to suffer and die. Those numbers are down by several hundred thousand since the Center for a Humane Economy launched its campaign. 

“I’m happy to see shareholders are questioning the failure of adidas to adhere to its corporate policies on animal welfare,” said Jennifer Skiff, Director of the KANS campaign. “Why is this company undercutting its moral standards on the proper treatment of wildlife when it has a broad set of shoe models that rely on sustainably sourced, non-animal fabrics?”

Among the world’s top sportswear companies, adidas is now the outlier, choosing to fuel the slaughter of Australia’s marsupials through purchasing.

“Kangaroos are being terrorized, maimed, and killed,” said Louise Ward of  International Kangaroo Protection Alliance (IKPA), based in Australia. “adidas knows joeys are bludgeoned or left to die a slow, lonely death crying out for their dead mothers. They know and they don’t care. We’ve reached out to executives countless times. Their sustainability division has been provided reports, videos, and eyewitness testimony. Sadly, they have lost their leadership status and have made a conscious decision to pursue profit above all else.”

Center for a Humane Economy is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) whose mission is to help animals by helping forge a more humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both. The Center believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @TheHumaneCenter

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) whose mission is to help animals by promoting laws and regulations at federal, state and local levels that forbid cruelty to all animals. The group also works to enforce existing anti-cruelty and wildlife protection laws. Animal Wellness Action believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @AWAction_News